Monday, October 7, 2013

Question for the Legion-watchers

The Legion of Christ, about which I have blogged quite a bit in the past, is announcing its next step in the process of renewal:

ROME — The papal delegate overseeing the Legion of Christ has announced that the embattled order's general chapter will begin Jan. 8, 2014, to establish new constitutions and elect its new leaders.

“The general chapter should represent the whole institute and be 'a true sign of its unity in charity,'” Cardinal Velasio De Paolis wrote in an Oct. 4 letter to the Legionaries of Christ.

“The upcoming extraordinary general chapter comes at the end of a long journey of spiritual renewal and will have as its principal purpose the conclusion of the revising of the constitutions,” he said.
Cardinal De Paolis was appointed as governor of the Legion by Benedict XVI in 2010, after an apostolic visitation determined the order needed “profound re-evaluation.”

In 2006, the order's founder, Father Marcial Maciel, had been removed from public ministry and invited to a life of penitence and prayer. It was discovered he had led a secret life of scandal and sexual abuse and that other priests of the Legion were involved as well.


Let's review the timeline:

2006: Maciel removed from ministry and "invited" to a life of penitence and prayer.
2008: Maciel dies.
2009: Explosive revelations involving Maciel's misdeeds, including many credible allegations of sexual abuse and the information that he had fathered children out of wedlock are publicly revealed.
2010: Cardinal Velasio de Paolis appointed as the Pontifical Delegate for the Congregation of the Legion of Christ.  Within a year Cardinal de Paolis has called for the Legion to redefine its mission and governing structure and has also revealed serious issues concerning the Legion's lay apostolate, Regnum Christi.
2014 (proposed): Legion of Christ will hold a general chapter to establish new constitutions and elect new leaders, subject to papal approval.

My question: why has it taken so long to get to this point?  Why has it taken four years from the time Cardinal de Paolis was appointed to the proposed establishment of new constitutions?  Any Legion-watchers out there who can enlighten me about this?

6 comments:

Carrie said...

I am no expert by any means, but I have been keeping up every now and then with news from the Legion. I wonder if some of the delay is just part of the way the Church works with issues like these. I know the Community of St. John has been having some major issues, as well, brought to light a few years ago (and more since then), and things have been moving forward slowly, maybe out of caution? Maybe they do it this way so as not to cause undue violence to the already well-established members of the community, so they can transition to a healthy way of life more easily? I don't know, just my own thoughts on that!

Brian Sullivan said...

I suppose the was a concern not to pull up the wheat with the weeds. How do you handle the good vocations and deeds that were there? I tend to think that the whole order should have been closed, after those who discerned to do so had found another place to serve. With a foundation so corrupt, the building should be razed.

Shadowfax said...

http://www.life-after-rc.com/2013/09/letter-from-fr-byrne.html

Don't hold your breath for any true reform from this outfit. It seems the acting head of Legion, Fr. Heeremen, is busily running around the formation houses ahead of the General Chapter in January to tell everybody exactly what's what. And he is quick to point out that those who dared leave the Legion were "unthinking" and lacking in humility and charity.

When nothing changes, nothing changes.

The idea that any kind of true reform could ever happen without an accounting of the true history of the Legion is laughable.

(I still have my copy of "History of the Legion," "Envoy,", and "Christ is my Life!" sitting on my bookshelf to remind myself of what the Legion is really about and exactly what it was founded upon. Not that I am in danger of forgetting the damage wrought upon my family by our choice to involve ourselves with the Legion years ago.)

Dilbert said...

There is some circular logic happening. The Vatican Commissioner said he was not there with a big stick to impose changes on the Legion and Regnum Christi; he was only there to oversee LC and RC while they changed themselves. He saw his main job as overseeing the revisions to their legal issues such as revising statutes.

He did not seem to feel it necessary to conduct further investigations to see who was complicit with the founder in his crimes. He did not seem to want to interview the victims, critics or ex members. He seemed to feel that those who had left were simply disloyal.

The LC and RC leaders have not admitted to anything being wrong except that they had a bad founder and they can't really do anything about that. Their fruits are good so they must be good.

The members (who are mostly isolated from the outside world) were not allowed to know details about what was in the 5 visitators' reports and so they are not clear about what is wrong with their (cult like) structure and methodology.

I think that the "reform" has made things worse because now the Vatican has given LC and RC far more legitimacy than it deserves.

Dilbert said...

There is some circular logic happening. The Vatican Commissioner said he was not there with a big stick to impose changes on the Legion and Regnum Christi; he was only there to oversee LC and RC while they changed themselves. He saw his main job as overseeing the revisions to their legal issues such as revising statutes.

He did not seem to feel it necessary to conduct further investigations to see who was complicit with the founder in his crimes. He did not seem to want to interview the victims, critics or ex members. He seemed to feel that those who had left were simply disloyal.

The LC and RC leaders have not admitted to anything being wrong except that they had a bad founder and they can't really do anything about that. Their fruits are good so they must be good.

The members (who are mostly isolated from the outside world) were not allowed to know details about what was in the 5 visitators' reports and so they are not clear about what is wrong with their (cult like) structure and methodology.

I think that the "reform" has made things worse because now the Vatican has given LC and RC far more legitimacy than it deserves.

Glenn said...

Without getting into the merits: the process of reforming the constitutions was one of small group meetings of religious in which each number of the huge constitutions were reveiwed and commented on one at time. Then there were votes on what to keep, what to change, what to throw out. This all took many months to complete