Zenit founder & editorial director resigns.
Jesus Colina, founder and editorial director of a news agency sponsored by the Legion of Christ, has been asked to step down. According to a letter Colina sent to Zenit employees, the Legion of Christ asked him to step down after he resisted efforts to more closely identify Zenit with the Legion. Colina also wrote that the Legion hid “relevant facts” from him about the scandalous behavior of Fr. Marcial Maciel. John Thavis of Catholic News Service has the story:
The founder and editorial director of the Catholic news agency Zenit has resigned, citing problems of trust and transparency with Zenit’s sponsoring organization, 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 pressures to identify the agency and its work more closely with the Legionaries order.
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 Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legionaries, who was discovered to have sexually abused seminarians and fathered children.
Colina said his resignation was requested by Legionary Father Oscar Nader, the new president of Zenit’s governing council. The reason given, Colina 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.”
Another issue, Colina 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 Father Maciel case could undermine the trust needed in its annual fundraising efforts.
It’s not as though the news about Maciel is just breaking, so what took Colina so long remains unclear. What is new, however, is that the Legion is planning to be more upfront about its sponsorship of Zenit. The casual reader learning about Maciel from Zenit would hardly know the agency is sponsored by the order he founded. Step one in this new era of transparency might be adding more than two references to the Legion of Christ in Zenit’s FAQ.