Cardinal DePaolis Raises Confusion Whether Reform Has Started Yet

…We have only completed the process of preparation.

According to an Associated Press ar5ticle in the Miami Herald Cardinal DePaolis stated that: the new leaders must infuse the religious order with a new spirit to finish a process of reform he said had only just begun.

Wait a minute! – Haven’t the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi just undergone a three-year period of reform?

The answer to that question may not be as obvious as one would think. Many of us watching from the outside believed that at least in theory an actual reform was taking place. Perhaps this explains why so many people have been expressing disappointment with the lack of significant changes. Have we expected too much?

Looking back over the last three years, Legionary leaders (except for the departing ones) have been careful to avoid using the word reform and have instead used words such as purification and renewal, while Cardinal DePaolis, whose main expertise is in financial matters and canon law has focused mainly on rewriting the constitutions and preparing for the general chapter, when new leaders will be elected. We expect that the Cardinal has also spent time delving into the financial side of the Legion, who reportedly have assets exceeding $30 billion. Early in the process, Cardinal DePaolis was quoted as saying to the Legionaries, Yes, the congregation needs to purify and renew itself; this can and must be done through the conversion and renewal of the members individually.

In the summer of 2013, according to the official Vatican News Agency Pope Francis was quoted as saying: These will be fundamental steps in the path towards the authentic and profound renewal of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and, indirectly, as well for the activity of the whole Regnum Christi Movement. The Pope’s wording (authentic and profound) hint that he expect s more than a few superficial rule changes and a glimmer of hope that he at least will use his influence to speed things up.

It would seem that Pope Francis has been starting to exert pressure on the Legion to go beyond the superficial. The Pope has publicly denounced the harm caused by clerical scandals. He referred to the corruption of the priests. In the background to this is pressure from the United Nations, which has blasted the Vatican for failing to protect children from paedophile priests.

Now that his term is coming to an end, cardinal DePaolis has by his recent statement finally come out and at least strongly hinted that there is more to expect after he leaves. We wonder that if it were illegal for the Legion to reform and Cardinal DePaolis was being tried for attempting to carry out a reform of the Legion, would there be enough evidence to convict him? According to the Miami Herald Associated Press article, Legion spokespeople claim great strides have been made — decision-making is more decentralized, priests have better training and emails are no longer screened. The fact that they would even mention such minor changes indicates that they have no idea the true spiritual state of their order and of the need for authentic reform.

We expect that Legion leaders squirm when the topic of reform comes up. Considering their founder’s evil life and lack of any example and the cult like methodology and structure, things never were spiritually healthy throughout the whole history of the Legion. So there is nothing good to go back to and nothing spiritually to build on. In fact, if it were possible to implement an authentic reform the Legion would have to move as far away as possible from their entire structure, methodology, their founder, his example and from their entire history. They cannot return to the original charism because they haven’t been able to identify what it is. It would be like trying to rebuild an old car that has every one of its parts broken and everything has to be replaced.

One issue that is probably not being discussed by the Legion leaders is the fact that once the constitutions and statutes have been carefully rewritten, these will be of no value if they do actually follow the example of their Legionary founder in his ways of applying the rules to suit his own purposes. Because the founder had different versions of constitutions and statutes for different eyes and because he was able to use his rules as part of a behavior control (thought reform) program it will take a while before future members will be able to trust that their interests are being served by what is contained in the system of authority they must swear themselves to be obedient to. This will especially be true if the old guard leaders maintain their tight control of the Legion. A number of those involved in the general chapter have not broken from Father Maciel’s hold on them.

So our hope for real change now hinges on the Vatican Delegate’s reference to future reform and the Pope’s stated desire to have an authentic and profound renewal of the Legion and Regnum Christi. What a miracle that would be.

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