Father Berg Speaks Out Deeply Disappointed With Reform of Legion

There is an article On First Things Blog, written by Father Thomas Berg entitled The Legion’s Scandal of Stalled Reform
Click Here for First Things Article by Father Berg


Father Berg decided to leave the Legion after 23 years. He has been following the reform process for two years and finally decided to express my deep disappointment as well as my profound concern for the fine young men and dedicated priests who still compose the Legion


Father Berg states that he felt it would have been better for the Church and the Legion if the order had been suppressed.


Regarding the stalled reform process, he offers his opinion that Cardinal DePaolis, who does not speak Spanish (Legion’s official language), has made two decisions that may prove disastrous for the Legion.


  1. Maciel’s long term and close collaborators remain in leadership positions.


  1. . Cardinal DePaolis has chosen to forgo a thorough and independent investigation into whether any present or former members knowingly abetted Maciel.


Unsurprisingly to ReGAIN readers, Fr. Berg refers to the institutional resistance/ and lack of transparency from the Legion superiors, who says are promoting the concept that the naming of a Papal Delegate constituted a de facto pontifical approval of the Legion’s continuation as a congregation and affirmation of the existence of a valid charism and mission.


Fr. Berg adds that those who are hopeful of reform are not expecting more than some superficial and cosmetic changes instead of the sweeping changes that are urgently required. He concludes that the Church does not need the institution of the Legion but does need their good and zealous men


He concludes with a recommendation that every Legionary priest should be given the means and a real opportunity to genuinely re-discern his vocation. He encourages family members to persevere in convincing their loved ones to request some time completely away from the Legion environment and to seek sound spiritual direction from an experienced outside spiritual director.


ReGAIN Comment


Father Berg has brilliantly managed to voice in a concise and powerful message the concerns that most of us have regarding the urgent need for genuine reform and some of the main reasons for the failure to date. He shows concern for those in the Legion whose lives have been most affected and he offers some practical solutions. Fr. Berg, we salute you and hope that someone on high is listening to your message.


So many people who had hoped for real reform had high expectations when the Vatican published the 2010 communique and later sent their chosen delegate and provided him with sweeping powers to attempt the impossible. We wondered which of the leaders would be given their marching orders and where they would find the kind of spiritual leaders needed to breathe a spark of life into the rotten stinking corpse of an organization designed to bring power money and glory to a depraved leader.


Reviewing the progress of the reform to date by summarizing some ReGAIN and other articles over the last two years:


The delegate came and he didn’t speak Spanish. That would make it difficult. His expertise was in finances and canon law. That experience would be helpful in following the money trail. His scope seemed to be limited to rewriting the constitutions. There would be no investigation into who collaborated with the founder. Ouch. Some remained optimistic that this could work.


The promotion of the new commissioner to cardinal gave him more power but it also gave the Legion some legitimate claim that they had strong Vatican support. Shortly after he arrived the new commissioner wrote what seemed like a love letter to the Legion. That seemed strange at the time but some saw the wisdom in him taking the honey works better than vinegar approach.


The aggressive recruiting and fund raising continued. So did the ordinations in the Legion and the consecrations in Regnum Christi. The old guard leaders all remained although some of them wore different hats in different locations. The commissioner seemed to be more and more comfortable in his new posting.


More and more people who had wanted reform decided to leave, including some very prominent members. Quite a number of these made their reasons for leaving publicly known.


A very feeble and awkward attempt was made to express corporate remorse for those who had been victimized by the Legion founder. The crocodile tears did not make a positive impression.


The impossible search for the missing charism continued. There had to be one somewhere. The leaders wrote letters to the faithful members encouraging them to continue sharing your love for God (which really meant don’t stop recruiting). Some continued to watch to see if the Holy Spirit would empower some dark horse to rise from the ranks and like Moses, provide some strong spiritual leadership. Nobody inspired anybody as the corpse of the Legion remained there looking even more dead. The games went on as usual. The deceit and the secrecy continued unchanged.


A group of consecrated women gave up and left to form their own movement. The response from the leaders and the commissioner were pathetic. It seemed that those who remained were the loyal ones and those who left were unfaithful.


The old guard leaders continued their same old ways. The Vatican commissioner commented that it was not his job to clean house, he was there to oversee the rewriting of the constitutions.


Some of us felt that the commissioner was showing great wisdom by giving the Legion enough rope to hang itself. Father Berg refers to the lack of wisdom in that approach in his article, saying the Legion escaped extinction under dubious circumstances after a Vatican investigation of Maciel in the 1950’s


The embarrassment caused to the Church continues to pile up as new revelations show that the Legion leaders concealed information they had known for years.


Father Berg makes such wonderful sense. Every one of the Legionary priests (and we would include all of the 3gf’s) deserve a genuine opportunity to take some time out completely away from anything to do with the Legion or Regnum Christi and discern what God is calling them to do. Those who do not have wealthy families to lean on should be provided with financial assistance and support for a reasonable time. As a minimum the Legion and Regnum Christi should be made to cease and desist from offering their tainted form of spiritual direction, not just because it is not confidential but because it has a hidden agenda to manipulate the spiritual directees.


The Church should follow the lead of the young women who were former Regnum Christi precandidacy high school students on their 49weeks blog Click Here


These young women are offering support for those Legionary priests and consecrated Regnum Christi members who want to leave but have difficulty supporting themselves or finding work or understanding their situation or who just need some prayer support.


Why is the Church not offering these things? Why isn’t the Church acknowledging the urgent need for discernment that Father Berg identifies? Why is the Church further embarrassing itself by providing a reform in such an incompetent manner? Is there anyone else up there?


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