Monterrey, Mexico – Schools run by the Legionaries of Christ in cities such as Monterrey, Guadalajara and Mexico City are in a state of economic crisis due to a lack of students according to Fernando Gonzalez, a researcher and religious affairs expert.
Adding to the student enrolment crisis, these institutions have been freed from centralized control, leaving it up to each school to try to survive by its own means.
I have heard here and there that in some areas of the country the schools have begun to suffer financially, and they have even begun to talk of establishing a policy in which each legionary school would have to be self-supporting.
The researcher and psychologist reports that previously all the schools operated under a centralized administration, but that now this system has been abandoned in a attempt to allow each educational institution to control its own finances in an effort to survive.
The crisis stems from parents? fears about the wager that legionary schools presented in the past – that if you bring me your children, I will give them a formation which would place them among the country?s economic and political elite. Suspicions quickly began to arise that this was not true, according the the researcher from the National Autonomous University of Mexico (UNAM).
When expectations of having prestigious social connections as a result of being in a legionary school were shattered, says the author of the book
Marcial Maciel and the Legionaries of Christ; Unpublished Documents and Testimonies, the order?s schools began to experience a crisis.
Fernando Gonzalez claims that, despite the credibilty problem the Legionaries of Christ are experiencing as a result of the scandals involving pedophilia and children secretly conceived by the orderâ€™s founder, the late Marcial Maciel, there is still a affluent segment of the population that continues sending its children to these schools
as if nothing had happened.
He adds that the removal from power of the so-called
legionary leadership continues apace after the decision by Pope Benedict XVI last January naming a commissioner to be in charge of the congregation?s finances.
Fernando Gonzalez, who was in Monterrey giving a seminar on research and psychoanalysis in the department of psychology at UANL, adds that the Legionaries of Christ have embarked on a sort of
re-founding which will be reflected in a
reduction of personnel in the top leadership.
He indicates that, after the forceful measures taken by the pope to reorganize the congregation, prominent Mexicans such as Lorenzo Servitje and Ricardo Salinas Pliego have radically changed their attitude in regards to the level of respect they previously lavished on the order?s founder.
The fact that Servitje would acknowledge that one of his daughters drafted a letter offering apologies for her initial stance of unconditional support for Maciel will have repercussions in the business community
because it deals with one of Mexican Catholicism?s most emblematic figures from the private sector, says the academic.
This stance, he adds, indicates a search for a
politically correct position after the decisions taken by Pope Benedict XVI to reinstate discipline in the order, and to remove from power the top leadership inherited from Marcial Maciel.
To see the article in Spanish