Vatican to Name New Adviser to Oversee Legion

Nicole Winfield at Associated Press advises that the Vatican will be appointing a new adviser to help oversee the Legionaries of Christ.

Nicole Winfield says that Pope Francis has kept the Legion at arm’s length since he inherited the reform project. She quoted Legion general director, Father Eduardo Robles Gil as saying that the Vatican’s congregation for religious orders is expected to announce details about the external assistant during a meeting with the leadership on July 3.

Zenit has published a Vatican statement issued by Fr. Federico Lombardi, S.J., director of the Holy See Press Office. Part of the statement reads: The Legionaries, as anticipated, with the celebration of the General Chapter the Institute has returned to the competence of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Societies of Apostolic Life. This progression has ended the work of the Apostolic delegate.

The statement goes on to say that the prefect and the secretary of the dicastery will meet on 3 July at the Legionaries’ central seat to comment personally on various corrections that need to be made to the text of the Constitutions presented to the dicastery, and to communicate the name of the Pontifical assistant.

The role of the Vatican appointed assistant will be assumed by a consecrated person, as anticipated, who knows the Legionaries and will be able to be of help to the general Council on legal and other themes, according to need.

The AP article said that Legionary spokesman, Father Benjamin Clariond, said it wasn’t clear what the adviser’s mandate would be, but noted that the order still faces some daunting challenges, including figuring out a legal structure for its lay group, Regnum Christi.

ReGAIN Comment

Although many of us are painfully aware of the need for reform in the Legion and Regnum Christi, following the three year love-in with the Apostolic Delegate, there is little reason to expect that the Vatican is having second thoughts about the Legion based on a new assistant being appointed. Apparently the appointment of such a person was agreed to before the general chapter even began.

The one note of encouragement in the AP article is the reminder that Pope Francis has so far demonstrated a coolness towards the Legion. There is a possibility that the role of the assistant could be to keep a watchful eye on the Legion leaders and to report back. Otherwise, the Vatican statement suggests that there are only some minor changes required to the constitutions that were submitted following the general chapter. After these documents are finally approved, Pope Francis, who has shown a desire to clean up some of the corruption in the Vatican will assume a level of personal responsibility for whatever new messes come his way from the Legion after business gets back to normal.

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