Vatican Approves Amended Constitutions for Legionaries of Christ
According to an article in the National Catholic Reporter by Carol Glatz on Nov 3, 2014, http://ncronline.org/news/vatican/vatican-approves-amended-constitutions-legionaries-christ the Vatican Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life has approved the amended constitutions for the Legionaries of Christ.
According to a LC press release,
the constitutions contain the fundamental norms to preserve the charism of the congregation and help it thrive,
Significantly, the Vatican did not approve references to the connection between the Legion and the Regnum Christi movement. The Regnum Christi statutes are still being revised
Part of the overall reform process is spelling out how the branches of Regnum Christi relate to one another and, particularly, how to give the consecrated men and women greater autonomy from the priests of the Legionaries of Christ in their daily lives and apostolic work while still promoting cooperation.
The LC constitutions will now provide some measure of control to improve the (cult-like) structure by decentralizing responsibilities so that each superior is not simply a mouthpiece for the director general. Councils are being established to help ensure that superiors are more accountable to their own communities.
According to the article, the body of norms governing the global movement has been dramatically reduced from 802 articles to 235.
Term limits are set for various offices within the Legion.
Overall, the new constitutions follow canon law and its intent more closely.
The changes in the Legionary constitutions are positive and the rules are finally in compliance with canon law. The Legion has shown a willingness to remain obedient to the Vatican in making such changes to their legal structure and documents. These changes have legitimized the Legion and provided a legal framework for it to continue operating within. Will this translate into a renewed and reformed Legion?
In a few words, we believe the Legion and Regnum Christi obedience to Rome is comparable to the willingness of the school bully to do what the principal demands of him but with no authentic change of heart. The Legion is still a multibillion dollar business enterprise that has a primary purpose to amass a fortune for a few select leaders, using their relationship to the Catholic Church and the Catholic faith as means to satisfy their self-serving objectives.
In spite of the controversial strong support the Vatican has provided to the Legion, the Legion and Regnum Christi seem to be circling around in a death spiral at least in the U.S.A. considering the way things have gone for them in recent years.
In 2011, the Legion closed down the University of Sacramento, which had been their only university on the United States. It had only been open since 2005.
Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in Colfax (in the Sacramento California area) closed in 2011 after opening in 2004. This school prepared boys 12 to 16 for the LC priesthood by isolating them from their outside friends and families, TV and internet and following regimented rules.
In 2011, the Legion handed over control of Gateway Academy in a suburb of St Louis to the lay members of their board of directors.
In 2011, the National Catholic Register was sold to EWTN
Also in 2011, the Legion lost control of Zenit, after Jesus Colina, the founder and director was forced out reportedly because of a gradual mutual loss of trust between him and the Legion. He claimed that the Legion was too evasive, selective and partial, especially when reporting about their founder.
In 2012, the Legion decided to put their Thornwood formation center in Mount Pleasant, New York up for sale.
Recently, in 2014, the Legion announced that they would be closing Mater Ecclesiae College, their formation center for women in formation to become consecrated members of Regnum Christi.
The latest Legionary asset to bite the dust is their White Plains fund raising center, which will be closing down.
So although the Vatican has now given a thumbs up to the Legion legal documents it would seem that support from potential new members, benefactors, agencies and the all-important news media has been crashing. The glory days of the once fastest growing religious order are long gone.