Legion Feeling The Pinch
According to an article in the Vatican Insider by Andres Beltramo Alvarez, the Legion is falling on hard times. The article <a href=http://vaticaninsider.lastampa.it/en/homepage/the-vatican/detail/articolo/legionari-di-cristo-vaticano-legion-of-christ-vatican-legionario-de-cristo-vaticano-6329/> Click Here</a> reports that in recent months, the Legionaries of Christ have been forced to close down minor seminaries, merge religious communities, transfer schools and close a university as the number of priests and new vocations declines.
These results are not surprising to those who have been following the situation, considering the negative attention that has focused on the Legion and Regnum Christi since the bombshell in 2009 regarding their disgraced founder?s legacy of shame. It stands to reason that people would be less willing to donate money or to join a Catholic religious congregation after their founder has been referred to as a criminal and a false prophet by elite members of the hierarchy.
The report states that according to official reports, the Legion has lost 5 % of their priests and that the total number of members in their congregation has dropped from 3,389 in 2009 to 3,265 as of the end of December 2010. Ex Legionary friends of ReGAIN believe that the numbers (which come from the Legion) are bloated. The total of 3,265 includes 889 priests. If you do the math this would at first glance suggest that there are well over 2,000 seminarians in formation to become RC priests. This <q>official</q> number is somewhat misleading, considering that only about 50 % of these are men; the rest are children.
If you compare the Legion to a mighty battleship it has been taking a lot of <q>torpedo hits</q> during this last year. The Legion battleship may not be sunk yet but it is taking on a lot of water as the leaders frantically try bailing. The new <q>skipper</q> from Rome is allowing the old captain and crew to do the repairs rather than trying to use authoritarian control to try to overpower the existing authoritarian control. So far, the good ship Legion has opted to maintain a steady course that leads towards a mine field.
Damage Estimates include:<ol>
loss of Legion run Woodmont Academy
loss of Gateway Academy
schools in several large centers in Mexico are struggling financially
closure of the University of Sacramento
departure of an increasing number of key people, including members of the influential Spanish Oriol family
a decision to accept no more novitiates at the Legion seminary in Dublin
loss of control of the National Catholic Register to EWTN</ol>
In addition to the closing or downsizing of Legion run facilities, the Legion is navigating through some other stormy seas that include:<ol>
concern expressed by Joao Braz, the new Prefect for Consecrated Life regarding the authoritarianism within the Legion
increasing Vatican concern regarding the excessive devotion of Catholic religious orders and movements towards charismatic founders
recent negative publicity about financial irregularities within the Catholic Church and in particular within the Legion
evidence of an increasing number of <q>dissidents </q>inside the Legion, who are becoming more daring to criticize their leadership as they continue a frustrating wait for real reforms
A general trend towards fewer vocations to the priesthood and consecrated life
Worldwide financial unrest, leading to some drying up of financial donations</ol>
The bottom line of all these and other factors is uncertainty for the future. There seem to be a lot of storm clouds on the horizon during the next leg of the journey.