I especially liked this part of Father Gill's letter:
The news of the various scandals regarding Fr. Maciel was truly shocking and horrendous for us and the whole the Church. In dealing with them I have tried my best to be honest and candid whenever I have spoken to you all about them and never knowingly misled anyone. I have believed that a rigorously honest approach to this terrible series of events was the only way to proceed. Furthermore, I felt that if done so, and counting on the help of the Holy See, it could even lead to true healing and renewal for the Legion and the Movement, even in spite of the truly serious questions it raises about the charism of the congregation.
I’m leaving more because the manner in which the Legion has handled the revelations since the Vatican took action against Fr. Maciel in 2006 has left me often frustrated and totally distracted. I’ve tried my best to communicate with the superiors over this past year, and they have been gracious and generous taking the time to listen. I believe I have had the opportunity to get my point of view across to them.
I have participated extensively in the Apostolic Visitation and gave my best input to Abp. Chaput on multiple occasions. He has been gracious, fair and objective. I feel I have done all I can in that regard.
My conclusion is that the reforms needed in the Legion (which the scandals have made clear) simply won’t happen in the foreseeable future with the current leadership’s approach to the matter.
It's an amazing thing for a man who has been a Legion of Christ priest for so many years to write, and I think Father Gill shows courage in writing it. I'm sure God will be with him.
That said, it is depressing to realize that it has been almost a year since the first allegations that Fr. Maciel had fathered at least one child and had used Legion money and resources to cover up a sinful and duplicitous lifestyle were breaking. What has changed since then, aside from the names of those who have left the Legion, or Regnum Christi, or any of the numerous apostolates/businesses the Legion owns or operates? Very little, that I can see. The Legion still recruits young men to be priests; the Legion still encourages young woman to become consecrated lay members (not religious, as they have no canonical status as such from what I understand); the Legion seems to think that business as usual ought to and will continue now and forever. Certainly they didn't appear to hesitate to buy a college when they were in the middle of an apostolic visitation. They still own many media outlets, including the popular Faith and Family magazine/blog and the National Catholic Register, among others.
What is worse than the "business as usual" attitude is another one I've encountered, often from Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi members who post online. There are some variations of it, but in general it goes like this:
- Father Maciel was a flawed vessel. Like all of us, he was subject to temptation, and he sinned. So did many saints. (Some go further, and say that Fr. Maciel may yet be canonized, despite all, because if he sincerely repented and lived out the end of his life in a state of holy penance...etc. But this opinion is rarely voiced when outsiders might hear it, except by the rash but zealous member.)
- Despite Fr. Maciel's flawed vessel status, the Holy Spirit chose him and worked within him to create this great new work of holiness, the Movement (e.g., Legion of Christ). The work remains one of great holiness, and the Movement must still be fostered, encouraged, and spread exactly as if Fr. Maciel were beatified, instead of proving to be a flawed vessel.
- The proof that the Legion is a work of great holiness is its charism. That charism is described variously as Love, Charity, bringing Christ's Love/Charity to the world, etc. (However, since all Christians may properly be said to have the vocation to present Christ's charity to the world, the Legion still doesn't seem to articulate well exactly what the charism is--that is, how are they to bring Christ's love to the world. The Sisters for Life do this in pro-life ministry, for example, and the Benedictine Monks at Clear Creek Monastery in Oklahoma do this by embracing the monastic life.)
- Those who leave the Legion, attack it, criticize it, or otherwise denigrate it have shown themselves unworthy of Fr. Maciel (though a flawed vessel) and his great gift to the Church and the world. They need many prayers, as the state of their souls must be dark indeed to cause them to set themselves up against God's great work of holiness in the world, the Movement.
- The greatest victims of Fr. Maciel's imprudent and sinful (objectively) actions are those in the Legion who must now bear up under the weight of unjust suspicion and renewed attacks by the Devil against the great work of holiness that is the Legion, and who must also explain over and over that Fr. Maciel was a flawed vessel, but the Legion is not flawed in any way, as how could it be? since it is such a great work of holiness, etc. ad infinitum.