CatholicCulture.org – <a href= http://www.catholicculture.org/news/headlines/index.cfm?storyid=10663>Click Here)</a> has reported about a special Vatican meeting held on June 13 to discuss problems of religious life. The meeting was convened by Pope Benedict XVI.
According to a leading Vatican journalist, Andrea Tornielli, the leaders of the Roman Curia discussed topics including the following:<ol>
The importance of maintaining separation between men’s and women’s religious communities
the limits of lay leadership (especially over priests)
the pitfalls of excessive devotion to the founder of a religious congregation or to an apostolic movement</ol>
According to Andrea Tornielli, the dicastery leaders reportedly emphasized that the commitment to a religious congregation or movement should never work against the unity of the universal Church, the authority of the teaching magisterium, or the conscience of the individual member.
CatholicCulture.org comments that the discussion <q>appears to reflect the painful lessons learned from the crisis within the Legion of Christ. In addition to encouraging adulation of their founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel, the Legionaries also followed a rigid system of discipline that included a rigorous ban on any criticism of a superior</q>.
The timing of this meeting is significant as Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez has just completed his visitation to Regnum Christi and his report is expected to be delivered by the end of June.
For those whose lives have been negatively affected by the Legion or by Regnum Christi, the reform to date has been like watching paint dry. Except for the May 1, 2010 communique issued by the Vatican this is the first public indication that the Vatican <q>gets it</q>? (that the Legion is a cult) and hopefully wants to do something about it.
Excessive devotion to a charismatic founder does not belong in any truly Christian religious order or movement, especially in the Roman Catholic Church, which claims to be the one true Church, in spite of its failings.
Many informed church authorities and members of the hierarchy felt that the Legion and Regnum Christi should have been shut down. The Legion remains banned in several dioceses in the United States. The Church decided to salvage Father Maciel’s creations but so far have left the methodology he developed (which was designed to satisfy his own questionable desires) and the leadership that he put in place more or less intact as new ordinations and consecrations and recruiting continue unabated.
We sincerely hope that this special meeting called by Pope Benedict XVI indicates that there is some light at the end of the tunnel and that it is a positive sign of some real reforms that will take place.