Saturday, May 1, 2010

Refounding the Legion--the Vatican takes control

The Vatican statement on the Legion is out, and this is going to be huge. From the Catholic News Service:

VATICAN CITY — In initial steps toward reforming the Legionaries of Christ, Pope Benedict will name a personal delegate with authority over the order and a commission to study its constitutions, the Vatican said today.

In a lengthy statement, the Vatican indicated that the Legionaries would need to undergo very deep changes, including a redefinition of the order’s religious charism and a revision of the way authority is exercised among its members.

While the pope will have the final word on whatever changes are eventually imposed, one Vatican source said after seeing today’s statement: “It looks like they are calling for a refoundation of the order.” [Emphasis added--E.M.]

A translation of the entire statement by Vatican Radio is here. Excerpts:

The Apostolic Visitation was able to ascertain that the behaviour of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado has caused serious consequences in the life and structure of the Legion, so much so, to require a journey of profound re-evaluation.
The serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling. The large majority of Legionaries were unaware of that life, particularly because of the system of relations created by Fr. Maciel, who had skilfully managed to build up an alibi, to gain the trust, confidence and surrounding silence and strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.
Not infrequently the lamentable disgracing and expulsion of those who doubted his upright conduct, and the misconception of not wanting to harm the good that the Legion was doing, had created around him a defence mechanism which made him untouchable for a long time , thus rendering knowledge of his real life difficult. [...]

From the results of the Apostolic Visitation it has emerged clearly, among other elements:
a) the need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving the core truth, that of "Militia Christi", which characterizes the apostolic and missionary action of the Church and which is not identifiable with efficacy at any cost;
b) the need to review the exercise of authority, which must be conjoined to the truth, in respect of conscience and to develop in light of the Gospel as an authentic ecclesial service;
c) the need to preserve young people's enthusiasm of faith, the missionary zeal, the apostolic dynamism, through appropriate formation. Indeed, disappointment about the founder could call into question the core of this vocation and charism that belongs and is specific to the Legionaries of Christ. [All emphases added--E.M.]
Below, I will begin listing links to other stories and commentaries about this astounding development in the Legion story. This section will be updated throughout the weekend.

Catholic World News article

A quite good Associated Press article, which manages to hint at how difficult it will be for the order to remove all traces of Maciel from it

Wall Street Journal article

Whispers in the Loggia (which also includes the translation of the statement)

CNA article

Pete Vere This is his in-depth reaction.

Life-after-RC's reaction (which I think is charitable and wise)

Deirdre Mundy makes an excellent point.

From the blog Advent Hope

dotCommonweal

Father Z

Rod Dreher

1 comment:

Susan said...

From E.M. 27 April:
But I recognize that the Holy Father may choose to act in a different manner, out of concern for those people, priests and lay, who are still so bound up in the Legion. I think the end result--the eventual disappearance of the Legion--will be the same whatever intermediate actions may be taken; I just realize that the Holy Father's pastoral care for the people still very much caught up in the Legion may make the total suppression of the Legion at this time not the best option (however much I might personally think it a good idea).

You have the gift of prophesy, my dear!

Praise be to Jesus Christ!