Death Of Legion Recruiter

Sunday, November 05, 2006

Official Spanish language article





Though practically unknown in the USA, Rev. Fr. Carlos Mora from Zamora, Mexico recruited more youngsters for the Legion of Christ than anyone else in the world, surpassing in numbers such legendary recruiters as Fr. James Coindreau (Ireland and Mexico) and Fr. Anthony Bannon USA, (recruited by Fr. Coindreau). For over thirty years he recruited boys from all over Mexico for the Legion?s Apostolic School in Tlalpan, Mexico City. One of Fr. Mora?s call to fame was that he was among the very first boys recruited by founder Fr. Marcial Maciel. And one of the few who made it to and beyond priestly ordination.

Official Legion sources announced today that Padre Mora (July 28, 1929 November 4, 2006) had passed to his eternal reward. Father?s DOB reveals that he was nine years and four months younger than Legion Founder, Marcial Maciel. As such, Fr. Carlos was one of the very first Legionaries, a true co-founder. We learn from the Legion note that then Bro. Carlos Mora entered the Legion novitiate on March 25, 1946, which tells us that he was 15 at that time. If we subtract the four years of Apostolic School that preceded that, this puts us very close to the January 3rd, 1941 foundation of the Legion of Christ; he would have been 11 years of age when he was recruited by then twenty-year-old seminarian without a seminary, Marcial Maciel. Fr. Mora was 18 when he took his temporary vows as a religious and 19 when he took his perpetual vows on September 15, 1948. His religious profession came close on the heels of the canonical erection of the Legion of Christ in Cuernavaca, Morelos, Mexico. As far was we can gather, Fr. Mora never looked back. He studied in Rome in the 1950s, and experienced the Legion?s growing pains of the Great Blessing that struck the founder from 1956-1958.


He was ordained a priest on January 5, 1959 at the Novitiate of the Legion of Christ in Salamanca, Spain. The location may have had to do with Fr. Maciel?s exile from Rome during that period. Newly ordained he was assigned to the Legion?s new apostolate, the Instituto Cumbres, elementary school in Mexico City. Here he began his successful career as a vocational recruiter. The official Legion article literally states: He had a special gift for Spiritual Direction and many young men discovered their priestly vocation thanks to his guidance. From the 60?s through the 1980?s Fr. Mora was the recruiter and his fame spread all through the ranks of the Legion. He was very popular in the cities, towns and villages of his native Michoacan and in neighboring Jalisco State in Mexico, and his good nature and humor helped him gain acceptance among priests and religious. It could be said that he had the knack of being able to painlessly take away boys from their families to serve God in the Legion of Christ.

In the 80s the Legion fanned out from Mexico City into the provinces and Fr. Mora spearheaded that movement in Jalisco State and in that part of Mexico called el Bajo, a traditionally Catholic region whose brave men fought for Mexican Independence in 1810 and kept the faith since then. They generously continued to offer their children and money to the Legion?s cause and supported its apostolic works. Fr. Mora was appointed religious superior to the first Legionary house founded in Guadalajara in 1986. The Legion note goes on to say that from that period on Fr. Mora promoted the Regnum Christi movement in that area.


Legionaries have always been taught by Fr. Maciel to keep working until the last moment, hasta morir en la raya , until dying in the line of duty . For Fr. Mora these were not empty words. He worked tirelessly and unselfishly, without special accommodations or considerations for four decades. His health began to break down over the past decade incurring a notable loss of hearing and sight. He was diagnosed with lung cancer and had a procedure in the USA in early 2005, convalescing at the Legion center in Thornwood, NY. Members of the Regnum Christi Movement report that on his return from the USA it seemed that his tumor had been replaced with boundless energy. ReGAIN infers from this discrete commentary that Fr. Mora may have been taken care of during his last years by the Regnum Christi consecrated women who have a large house in Guadalajara, Mexico. In September Fr. Mora had to enter hospital again and was released in October of this year, finally being called to His Father?s House just after 6 pm on Saturday, November 4, 2006.

May Fr. Carlos Mora, LC., Rest in Peace.

It’s Sunset Boulevard for the Cardinal Secretary of State

ROMA, March 2, 2006 For the Vatican curia, the upcoming consistory from March 23-25 will be very Lenten, and really hardly festive at all.

Only three of the curia heads waiting for the cardinal’s purple will receive it. Of those left standing at the gate, the most famous, archbishop Michael Fitzgerald, not only was not promoted as a cardinal, but was demoted as a nuncio in Egypt.

Step by step, with a few well-aimed decisions, Benedict XVI has already expunged two of the bastions in the curia that were opposed to him: the Congregation for the Liturgy, with the appointment as secretary of an archbishop of Sri Lanka in his trust, Albert M. Ranjith Patabendige Don, and the Pontifical Council for Interreligious Dialogue, with Fitzgerald’s dismissal as president.

And now everyone in the curia is waiting ‘or fearing’ for the next blow to fall against the secretariat of state, with the retirement on account of age of its senior office holder, Cardinal Angelo Sodano.

* * *

Sodano, 78 years old, from Isola da Asti in Piedmont, seems to have no intention of leaving. On the contrary; in recent weeks he has sought instead to put out of commission another cardinal whom he has always considered his archrival, the pope’s vicar and the president of the Italian bishops’ conference, CEI, Camillo Ruini.

The trouble is that Ruini is incomparably more highly favored by Benedict XVI than Sodano is. And as a result the latter’s maneuver has turned back against himself. In the current secretary of state, Pope Joseph Ratzinger now sees more of an obstacle than a help.

There is a backdrop to Sodano’s maneuver: the audience Benedict XVI held with Ruini on January 2 of this year.

At that audience, Ruini handed over to the pope the letter of resignation that every bishop is required to write when he turns 75 years old, a resignation that the pope can choose to accept or not accept. Ruini turned 75 on February 19, and the following March 6 his third five-year term as president of the Italian bishops’ conference will also come to an end. But Benedict wants him to remain in office, both as vicar and as president. The pope sees that he is already too isolated, both in the curia and outside of it, to separate himself from a cardinal like Ruini, who agrees to an extraordinary extent with his vision and his program.

But nothing of this twofold confirmation was said publicly. The practice in regard to the office of vicar is for the office holder to remain at his post until the pope tells him he has accepted his resignation. As for the presidency of the CEI, there is time until March 6. And even here the decision belongs to the pope as the bishop of Rome and primate of Italy, unlike other nations in which the president of the conference is elected by the bishops.

In 1991, 1996, and 2001, John Paul II, each time before he made Ruini head of the CEI, asked for the advice of the presidents of the sixteen regions into which the Italian episcopacy is subdivided.

But this time ‘and this was at the end of January’ rather than the pope, the secretariat of state extended the consultation to all of the 226 bishops in office. To each one, the nuncio in Italy Paolo Romeo sent a letter under the seal of pontifical secrecy, asking the recipient to ‘indicate coram Domino’ and with gracious solicitude the prelate that you would like to suggest.

But there’s more in the letter. It begins by stating in no uncertain terms that ‘next March 6 the mandate of the Most Eminent Cardinal Camillo Ruini as president of the CEI will come to a conclusion’? And it continues by asserting that ‘the Holy Father thinks that a change in the office of the presidency is in order.’

The letter bears the date of January 26, and the only one to whom it was not sent was Ruini. But he was immediately made aware of it. And Benedict XVI was also informed, and discovered that it said the opposite of what he was planning to do.

On February 6, the nuncio who signed the letter, Romeo, was called by Benedict XVI for an audience. The pope asked him how and why this initiative came about. Romeo left the audience in shambles, but Sodano was the one who was really trembling.

On February 9, Benedict XVI received Ruini together with his right hand man, the secretary general of the CEI, bishop Giuseppe Betori. They both received the pope’s reassurances. News of the letter had not yet leaked to the outside.

But a few days later, the news agencies and newspapers were writing about it, attributing the idea for the letter to the pope and to his desire to decide ‘more collegially’ on a replacement for Ruini. And in fact, on the morning of February 14, as soon as he saw the complete text of the letter published in two newspapers, a very irritated Benedict XVI picked up the telephone and ordered that his confirmation of Ruini as president of the CEI be made public immediately. The pope’s order was so peremptory that the Vatican press office released the news before any of the other communications of the day.

By confirming Ruini, the pope invalidated the letter of Romeo, a.k.a Sodano, which had pegged Ruini as a has-been.

* * *

There’s something else that makes Sodano’s remaining in office questionable. Among the new cardinals chosen by the pope, there are personalities who constitute a living contradiction of the ecclesiastical geopolitics dear to the secretary of state.

For example, Sodano has always pursued a very submissive policy with China, in agreement with the most pro-Chinese of the cardinals in the curia, Roger Etchegaray of France, the author of a book on this subject that is almost utterly silent on the oppression of which Christians are the victims in that country.

Sodano once said that, in order to establish diplomatic relations with China, he was ready to move the Vatican nunciature from Taipei to Beijing ‘not tomorrow, but this very evening’. This statement provoked great irritation among the persecuted Chinese Catholics, and in particular with the combative bishop of Hong Kong, Joseph Zen Ze-kiun, according to whom religious liberty should come before any sort of diplomatic accommodation.
It is bishop Zen who is the most closely watched of the new cardinals chosen by Benedict XVI. He will be the one to suggest the how and the when for a new policy on China for the Church.

Apart from Zen, pope Ratzinger wanted to create two other cardinals in Asia, a continent that Sodano has overlooked but which the present pope sees as crucial.

One of these is the archbishop of Seoul, and the apostolic administrator of Pyongyang, Nicholas Cheong Jin-suk, who is impatient to enter as a missionary into North Korea and is a staunch defender of life and of the family in a country that is a theatre of reckless experimentation in biotechnology.

Another is the archbishop of Manila, Gaudencio B. Rosales. The Philippines is the most Catholic country in Asia, with millions of emigrants all over the world, many of whom are persecuted on account of their faith in the Muslim countries where they work.

Benedict XVI has also brought about a correction of the previous Vatican line in regard to Islam. In removing Archbishop Fitzgerald from the curia, the pope has said the last word on the symposia that he loved to organize with Muslim leaders like sheikh Yussef-Al-Qaradwi or the heads of Al-Azhar, who signed ceremonious appeals for peace with the Vatican and then, the next day, inflamed the crowds by exalting holy war and the suicide terrorists.

The change of course desired by Benedict XVI also draws the Church closer to Israel. Sodano was a great admirer of Yasser Arafat, and is a supporter of the Latin patriarch of Jerusalem, Michel Sabbah, who is ardently pro-Palestinian. But Pope Ratzinger immediately flanked Sabbah with a more moderate auxiliary who will succeed him in two years, Fouad Twal of Jordan, previously the archbishop of Tunis. And is planning to appoint as the bishop of the Hebrew Christians who live in the state of Israel the present custodian of the Holy Land, Franciscan Father Pierbattista Pizzaballa, who is viewed very favorably by the Israeli authorities.

Who will be the next secretary of state and when he will be nominated is a secret that Benedict XVI is guarding carefully. But it is certain that Sodano is on his way out.

With him gone, also gone will be a barrier to a decision on the fate of the powerful founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel, with whom Sodano is very close. The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith has completed a thoroughly detailed preliminary investigation of the accusations against Maciel’s sexual abuse of his seminarians and violation of the sacrament of confession.

Last Good Friday, shortly before he was elected pope, Ratzinger indicated this sort of filth as one of the evils that must be eliminated from the Church.

The complete text of the letter sent to the Italian bishops without the pope’s knowledge:

Most Reverend Excellency,

As you know, next March 6 the mandate of the Most Eminent Cardinal Camillo Ruini as president of the CEI will come to a conclusion.

The Holy Father, who has always appreciated very much the service rendered by the Most Eminent Cardinal to the Italian Church, thinks nonetheless that, in part because of his upcoming seventy-fifth birthday, a change in the office of the presidency is in order.

To this end it is my duty and privilege to address Your Excellency, asking you to indicate to me, coram Domino and with courteous solicitude, the Prelate that you intend to suggest for the aforementioned office.

This consultation, in consideration of its importance and delicacy, is subject to the pontifical seal of secrecy, which requires the utmost caution with all persons.

Finally, I would ask you to return this letter together with your response, without keeping copies of anything.

Until then, I warmly thank you for the help that you, through the agency of this Apostolic Nunciature, shall desire to give the Successor of Peter in such an important and delicate matter.

Paolo Romeo, Apostolic Nuncio
Rome, January 26, 2006

The Vatican press release from February 14, 2006, invalidating the letter:
The Holy Father has confirmed Cardinal Camillo Ruini, his vicar general for the diocese of Rome, as president of the Italian Episcopal Conference, donec aliter provideatur.

The Latin formula donec aliter provideatur means until further notice.
In other words: Ruini has been confirmed for an undetermined length of time.

Memo from Anthony Bannon to RC Members

This memo was dated 12/04/04
Thy Kingdom Come!

Dear members of Regnum Christi,

I am very pleased to announce some very joyful news. Due to the continued growth of the Legion and its apostolates through the Regnum Christi Movement, our Founder and General Director, Fr Maciel, has decided the time has come to make a division of the territory and assign new territorial directors.

The Northeastern Territory will comprise Ontario, Quebec, and the Maritimes in Canada; and New England, New York and south to the centers and cities that depend on Washington, DC in the US. The director for this territory will be Fr Joseph Burtka, LC. Fr Joseph hails from Michigan, was a member of ECYD and Regnum Christi before joining the Legion and has been working in Germany for the past seven years.

The second territory will comprise the rest of Canada and the US, and the other countries that have been part of our territory. It will be headed by Fr Scott Reilly and will have its base in Atlanta. Fr Scott is from Illinois, he is an alumnus of Immaculate Conception Apostolic School in New Hampshire, and over the years has worked in a variety of apostolates, most recently in Atlanta.

I will be Fr Burtka’s assistant for religious life and seminary formation in the northeast, and will also be available to both of the new directors for anything they need. Fr Emilio Diaz-Torre will continue to assist both directors as regards Movement formation and the apostolates. Local coordinators of apostolate, section directors, directors of national apostolates, etc., will all remain in place. However, I am sure that there will be noticeable new energy and a much greater closeness of the directors to the apostolates due to the change.

The date for the change to go into effect will be December 8th, feast of the Immaculate Conception.

Please join me in thanking God for his great graces and asking him to bless our Movement with unity, humility, perseverance, vigor and fidelity to our charism, which we have received from Him through our Founder, Nuestro Padre, as we work to serve the Church.

Yours sincerely in Christ,
Fr Anthony Bannon, LC

Letter from Pope John Paul II to Marcial Maciel on Anniversary of Ordination

To the Reverend Father Marcial Maciel Degollado
Superior General of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ

1. I am pleased to unite myself spiritually to the joy and to the thanksgiving that from you, Reverend Father, and from the hearts of all the members of this religious family rise up to God, source of all good, on the occasion of the 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination that was conferred upon you November 26, 1944, in the Basilica of Our Lady of Guadalupe, Mexico City. On that day was completed the journey of formation for the priesthood, initiated by you at 16 with the dream of giving rise to priests totally dedicated to the proclamation of the Gospel and the moral and social uplifting of the poorest and most marginalized brothers. This project of love of Christ, fidelity to the Church, and service to man was able to be realized with the birth in Mexico City on January 3, 1941, of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, whose Constitutions were, later, approved definitively by me in the year 1983.

2. Your 60 years of priestly life, Reverend Father, have been characterized by significant spiritual and missionary fecundity with different apostolic works and activities such as the Regnum Christi Movement, the network of schools called ‘Mano Amiga’ [Helping Hand], the numerous educational and charitable institutions — present today in 16 countries of the five continents — whose objective is to promote the values of the family and the human person, [and] university centers of study and formation. And, what to say, moreover, of the apostolate of the priests Legionaries of Christ as well as the commitment of the whole congregation in favor of the integral formation of future diocesan priests, particularly through the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Athenaeum, and the two Mater Ecclesiae international seminaries of Rome and Sao Paulo in Brazil?

I cannot, of course, forget the service that you have rendered in these years to the Holy See, which has made use — on several occasions and in different ways — of your generous and competent collaboration, whether on the occasion of some of my apostolic trips, or in the activity of organizations of the Roman Curia.

3. The profound inspiration which has guided your educational, cultural and pastoral action — an inspiration that you have transmitted as a precious treasure to the religious family you founded — has been the constant concern for an integral promotion of the person, and especially as regards the human formation that, as I had the opportunity to write in the postsynodal apostolic exhortation “Pastores Dabo Vobis,” “when it is carried out in the context of an anthropology which is open to the full truth regarding the human person, leads to and finds its completion in spiritual formation” (No. 45).

Reverend Father, the joyful recollection of your 60th anniversary of priestly ordination falls during the Year of the Eucharist. This providential coincidence constitutes an invitation to meditate upon the centrality of the Eucharist in the life of the Christian community and especially in the formation of future priests and in their subsequent dedication to ordained ministry. This is what I underlined in the previously cited document, recalling “the essential importance of the Eucharist for the priest’s life and ministry and, as a result, in the spiritual formation of candidates for the priesthood” (No. 48).

4. For all these reasons I am happy to join in with the canticle of praise and of thanksgiving to the Lord that rises up from many hearts for the “great things” (cf. Luke 1:49) that the grace of God has accomplished in these 60 years of your intense, generous and fruitful priestly ministry.

As I invoke a renewed outpouring of the gifts of the Holy Spirit so that your priesthood may continue to bear abundant good fruits, I entrust you, dear Father Maciel, to the heavenly protection of the Virgin Mary, Mother of priests, and I send you affectionately a special apostolic blessing, which I willingly extend to all the Legionaries of Christ, to the members of the Regnum Christi Movement, and to all who participate in the jubilee celebration.

From the Vatican, November 24, 2004
Joannes Paulus II

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