Legion of Christ Opens Critical Meeting
Is The Reform Over?
As Cardinal DePaolis’ term comes to an end, selected members of the Legion gather in Rome for their general chapter to elect new leaders and to finalize the re-writing of their new constitutions. Referring to the Legion founder, Father Marcial Maciel as a pedophile and a fraud, Nicole Winfield has issued her latest article Click Here for the Associated Press and has included a number of comments and questions indicating doubt in many peoples’ minds whether the reform has achieved its prime goal of
purifying the Legion from the influence of Maciel
Early in the article, Nicole Winfield points out that
the rehabilitation process ignored its core dysfunction: – financial duplicity, lack of an authentic religious identity and continued cover-up of the people who facilitated the founder’s crimes.
To date, at least to the outside world, the
Reform seems to have primarily focused on rewriting constitutions. Over the years, the Legion has had a bad reputation for misapplying funds donated for a specific cause, using them for other purpose, one example being the amounts spent by the founder in his
secret life. This is considered a serious matter within the Church because a loss of credibility to its benefactors could result in tremendous financial losses. Cardinal DePaolis main areas of expertise were considered to be dealing with financial and legal matters. The Legion would have us believe that the founder acted alone in any and all of the financial duplicity. Nicole Winfield reminds us of the conning of Mrs Mee out of $60 million, which was partly engineered by someone who is taking an active part in the general chapter meetings.
Lack of Authentic Religious Identity
The 2010 Vatican communiqué identified the
need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving its true core, that of the “militia Christi”, which characterises the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church and which is not the same as efficiency at any cost. The Legion continues to struggle to convince itself and others that the Holy Spirit miraculously worked through a flawed founder and they have trying to cobble together a charism by committee. Whenever they attempt to do this, it ends up being expressed in such general terms that the same wording could apply to any Catholic group and demonstrates that the Legion does not provide any unique form of service for the Church.
Nicole Winfield refers to U.S. canonist, Edward Peter’s remark:
The Catholic Church has zero tradition of institutes of perfection being founded directly or even indirectly by predatory charlatans.
Continued Cover-up of Those Who Facilitated the Founder’s Crimes.
We have noticed that whenever the Legion leaders make any reference to their founder’s crimes, it is in the context of the pain that the Legion members feel and never the pain of the victims. For private reasons, the Church and their apostolic delegate have chosen to bury the past and to allow all of those who were complicit with Fr Marcial Maciel to continue to hold key positions within the Legion and to refrain from further investigation that might shed light on missing details. Surely the Catholic Church does not intend for its members to follow their example regarding the lack of justice in this case. The obvious conclusion drawn by many is that the Church is willing to cover up for those who covered up for the Legion founder because they wish to cover up for some of their own leaders. Nicole Winfield mentions in her article that
any more Vatican intervention would further tarnish the legacy of Pope John Paul II. Perhaps it is time to place justice and truth above any individual, no matter how saintly the person in question.
Revised Constitutions and Statutes
Unless the attitudes and actions of the powers that be within the Legion change dramatically, all the time spent making revisions to the statutes and constitutions has been wasted. We are dealing with a chameleon Founder and institution whose very nature consists of
deceitful appearances designed to trap unwitting victims. Therefore special methods are needed to grasp the reality underneath. Within Maciel and his work and some of his associates, there has always been a dichotomy between words and actions. So, for example, a change in written constitutions, scripta, will not correct the organization’s corrupt way of operating. Worse still, the Legion is considered by many in the
cult watchfield to possesses sect-like characteristics. Professional help from wise spiritual directors, pastoral counselors and even from “mind-control” experts is/was needed in order to analyze, evaluate, make recommendations and implement effective change.
How Low Is The Church Wiling To Set the Bar?
All eyes will be on the current pope as the Legion reform comes to its questionable conclusion. After Pope Benedict XVI’s appointee, Cardinal DePaolis steps out of the picture, Pope Francis will assume responsibility for what happens after that. The Pontiff has hinted that he will become more involved when he recently referred to the general chapter and new constitutions as being
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.
Nicole Winfield indicates that Pope Francis does not have a set time frame to adhere to when he decides what (if anything) to do with the Legion and Regnum Christi but that the Legion officials expect a decision from him within a few months.
Holy Father, your predecessors have been dropping ball on this matter since the 1950’s. Please be circumspect and carefully review all available information before closing the door on further action. Many people’s lives will be affected by whatever follow-up you choose to set in place. If the Church continues to embrace a self-serving group that was established by a
pedophile charlatan devoid of scruples or religious sentiment, what message does this give to the world about Vatican standards?