- On January 20, 2020 the media here in the United States published a story about former Mexican priest and Legionary of Christ Fernando Martínez Suárez.
- Fernando Martínez Suárez was never assigned to ministry in the North American Territory.
- The Legionaries of Christ, in the Territory of Mexico, released a statement stating “we are ashamed of the abuses committed by Fernando Martinez Suárez, the Congregation’s negligence in handling past accusations, and the failure to give adequate attention to victims. We again ask the victims and their families for forgiveness.
- We thank the Holy See for its swift and clear decision regarding Fernando Martínez Suárez who was notified of his loss of clerical state on January 13, 2020.
- The territorial director of Mexico has decided to establish an interdisciplinary commission, including members from outside the Congregation, with the mandate to provide attention and support to the victims of Fernando Martínez Suárez and to propose the necessary means for making reparation for the damage they have suffered.
- In the context of the Fernando Martínez Suárez case, a Legionary of Christ priest, Fr. Eloy Bedia, LC, from the Territory of Mexico recently renounced his participation in the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, explaining his reasons in a personal letter that he addressed to the Legionaries in his territory.
- The Congregation will cooperate with an investigation, in coordination with the competent dicastery of the Holy See, in order to identify the persons responsible for negligence or coverup in this case. From this moment onward the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and the individual members of the Territory of Mexico that have been publicly mentioned in this context pledge their full cooperation with this investigation, and likewise with civil authorities that choose to investigate accusations regarding this case.
- The Territory of Mexico stated “As a religious congregation we consider communication and collaboration with the authorities and the commissions of the Mexican Episcopal Conference to be essential, according to the duties and responsibilities that correspond to each, for the good of communion and mission in the Church in Mexico. We are seeking to intensify habitual dialogue and exchange.”
- The Territory of Mexico also stated in their communication today “We reaffirm our commitment to apply standards for safe environments, that since 2015 have guided our pastoral ministry and our efforts to prevent the abuse of minors and respond to accusations.
We encourage anyone who has been abused by a member of the Legionaries of Christ to contact the appropriate authorities, regardless of when the alleged abuse occurred, and to contact the Legionaries of Christ’s pastoral care advocate for the United States, Abby Saunders. If anyone has a question about safe environment policies or a complaint regarding misconduct or sexual abuse of a minor or vulnerable adult by a Legionary, contact Abby Saunders at firstname.lastname@example.org or by phone at 443-788-9730. The Congregation has also established a channel for listening to concerns and responding to accusations at 0abuse.org.