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Zenit director resigns after ‘loss of trust’ in Legionary superiors

By on Thursday, 29 September 2011

The founder and editorial director of the Catholic news agency Zenit has resigned, citing problems of trust and transparency with Zenit’s sponsoring organisation, the Legionaries of Christ.

Spanish journalist Jesus Colina, who established Zenit in 1997 and helped build it into a seven-language agency with about 450,000 email subscribers around the world, said he had been asked to resign because he resisted pressure to identify the agency and its work more closely with the Legionaries order.

Mr Colina made the announcement in an email sent to Zenit staff. Officials of the Legionaries of Christ have not yet issued a statement.

Mr Colina said one issue of contention was that Legionary officials were less than candid with Zenit about the facts regarding the scandal surrounding the late Fr Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries, who was discovered to have sexually abused seminarians and fathered children.

Mr Colina said his resignation was requested by Legionary Fr Oscar Nader, the new president of Zenit’s governing council. The reason given, he said, was that “my activity in the world of Catholic communications does not demonstrate the institutional dependence of the agency on the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, an identity that will from now on be underlined”.

He said he accepted the decision “with great sadness and respect”.

“I think this decision is the logical consequence of the loss of mutual trust between me and the superiors of the Legionaries of Christ. The issue of Fr Marcial Maciel and the way in which the congregation informed us, hiding relevant facts, meant that on some occasions we did not completely fulfil our duty to inform people in a way that corresponds to the vision of the Pope and the Holy See,” he said.

Another issue, he said, was a debate over the financial transparency of Zenit. He said that two years ago, Zenit had asked that its finances be clearly separated from the Legionaries order; the concern was that accusations of financial scandal connected with the Fr Maciel case could undermine the trust needed in its annual fundraising efforts.

Although the order promised to establish separate financial accounts, nothing has been done, Mr Colina said. This caused a “crisis of trust” among Zenit’s editorial team and negatively impacted its fundraising campaign over the last year, he said.

Mr Colina said he wished Zenit well in the future. Meanwhile, he said, he would continue to dedicate his time and effort to the multimedia agency H2O News and to Aleteia, an online community that features questions and answers about Catholic teachings.

  • Parasum

    Good for Senor Colina. And how disgraceful of the LC to behave like that. It sounds as though he was sacked for being unwilling to parrot LC propaganda. If that doesn’t show Rome that the LC is still in denial, what will ? How arrogant does the LC have to be, to behave like this ? They are nothing but a cult that is parasitic on the Church.

  • Sray

    My donations will end here.

  • J G

    I have met Mr. Colina and he is a fine man. Shame on the LC’s for this kind of idiocy. Don’t they have enough scandals to deal with already? No more donations to zenit.

  • Poimier

    If you are aware of the shameful record of the “Legionaries” and their monstrous leader, this is anything but a surprise.

    Thes guys are rather powerful, I wonder why |?

    I stopped reading Zenit – after many years – some months ago.

    My health has improved since.

    JM

  • Poimier

    If you are aware of the shameful record of the “Legionaries” and their monstrous leader, this is anything but a surprise.

    Thes guys are rather powerful, I wonder why |?

    I stopped reading Zenit – after many years – some months ago.

    My health has improved since.

    JM

  • Philip Ogilvie

    Having once given a donation to Zenith, I was then saturated with spam requesting more money, something I was only able to stop by insisting very forthrightly that I be removed from all their databases.  Such pushy practices do not sit well with a Catholic charitable organization.  I am now reluctant to resubscribe to Zenith again.

  • StellaMaris

    I think this is very sad and has no place in the Catholic church community at any level. Unfortunately our parish also experienced similar underhand tactics by members of Regnum Christi the Lay arm of the LCs. It is very disturbing to find that Regnum Christi can justify holding truth back from other Catholics in their own parish. As soon as I realized what was happening I warned everyone I knew about their methods and to keep their children away from all Regnum Christi’s youth organizations (which they try to never advertise as part of RC). I pray that the Vatican disband or radically reform these organizations LC and RC because they are causing division and still have such a high level of secrecy that is totally inappropriate for Catholic Christian organizations.

    I admire Mr. Colina for his candor, it is a pattern with LCs and RCs that the founders of ministries are forced out eventually so that the LCs can totally possess all the concepts and intellectual capital to use for their own propaganda.