Skip to content
Catholic Online Logo

By Sandro Magister

2/11/2011 (4 years ago)

Chiesa (chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it)

Can the Legion of Christ be repaired, rescued and restored?

They concern the still obscure points of the "mystery" of Marcial Maciel. But there are other obstacles to the rescue of the Legion of Christ. The report of one of its former leaders, now a priest of the archdiocese of New York.  

Highlights

By Sandro Magister

Chiesa (chiesa.espresso.repubblica.it)

2/11/2011 (4 years ago)

Published in Europe

Keywords: Legion of Christ, Sandro Magister, Marcial Maciel, fr Richard Gill


ROME, Italy (Chiesa)  - The operation to rescue the Legion of Christ from the abyss into which it was hurled by its founder, Marcial Maciel, has seen two new developments in recent days.

On January 31, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the delegate to whom Benedict XVI has given full authority, brought from four to six the number of members of the congregation's general council.

The councilors who were already in office still include two of the most prominent members of the leadership group set up by Maciel, and very closely connected to him: the director general, Álvaro Corcuera, and the vicar general, Luís Garza Medina, both Mexican.

The two new councilors appointed by the papal delegate are Spanish: Juan José Arrieta Ibarrechebea, pastor of Our Lady of Guadalupe, the Roman parish entrusted to the care of the Legionaries; and Jesús Villagrasa, professor of philosophy at the pontifical university "Regina Apostolorum."

Cardinal De Paolis chose them from among the fifteen most voted for by all the priests and religious under perpetual vows in the congregation, who were asked to indicate their preferences.

Some see this move as a small step forward - with the snail's pace typical of the papal delegate, slow but inexorable - toward replacing the leadership group of the Legion.

The second new development is the institution on the part of Cardinal De Paolis of an "Outreach Commission."

Its task will be to provide access for the victims of acts of abuse on the part of Maciel, and to receive their requests. And then to present a report to the papal delegate, who will decide what to do.

The commission is headed by Monsignor Mario Marchesi, vicar general of the diocese of Cremona and adviser to the papal delegate, and is composed of four members. Two of them belong to the Legion: Florencio Sánchez, chaplain of the Universidad Francisco de Vitoria in Madrid, and Eduardo Robles-Gil, director of "Regnum Christi" in Mexico City. And two have been brought in from outside: Silverio Nieto Nuńez, a priest of the archdiocese of Madrid and director of civil law services for the Spanish episcopal conference, and Jorge Adame Goddard, member of a legal research institute and professor of law at the Universidad Panamericana in Mexico.

The website of the Legionaries of Christ has published the postal and e-mail addresses that can be used by Maciel's victims who want to be heard.

Some see the creation of this commission as another step forward in freeing the Legion from the consequences of its founder's misdeeds.

Naturally, however, the ultimate success of the operation to rescue the Legion of Christ remains highly uncertain, despite the efforts of the Holy See.

For an evaluation of the pros and cons in this first phase, the following is the assessment of a highly noteworthy observer.

He is Richard Gill, for twenty-nine years a priest of the Legionaries of Christ and a longtime director of "Regnum Christi" in the United States, who left the Legion a year ago and is now incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York.

Gill's analysis is of great interest. In particular where he shows that Maciel's legacy continues to weigh negatively on the Legion through the superiors who were connected to him and still lead the congregation.

The full letter from Father Richard Gill is entitled "Can the Legion of Christ be Repaired" and can be read in it's entirety here:  Here is an excerpt:
 
*****
CAN THE LEGION OF CHRIST BE REPAIRED?

by Fr. Richard Gill

Just over a year ago, I decided that in good conscience I could no longer continue as a member of the Legionaries of Christ, and took action to incardinate in the Archdiocese of New York as a diocesan priest. The revelations about the sordid double life of the man who began the Legion of Christ, the late Fr. Marcial Maciel, are widely known. His lifetime of deviant sexual behavior, corruption, abuse and deception of several popes raised serious questions about how any valid charism could be transmitted by such a man. Those questions still remain largely unresolved. Although the Holy See has made an extraordinary effort and large investment of personnel to reform the Legion over the next several years in the hopes of saving it, a group of Vatican investigators referred to him as "a man without religious sentiment" and the Holy Father himself called Maciel a "false prophet". It is no exaggeration to say that Marcial Maciel was by far the most despicable character in the twentieth century Catholic Church, inflicting more damage on her reputation and evangelizing mission than any other single Church leader.

What weighed on me even more than the scandals of Fr. Maciel however, was the manner in which the current superiors of the Legion, once they knew of the scandals, had failed to act, or acted in ways that consistently misled the membership. They sought to maintain an external unity at the expense of trust, honesty, needed reforms, and transparency. In the aftermath of the revelations about Maciel, they led a systematic effort to deny and minimize the facts about Fr. Maciel and thus revealed a profoundly disturbing attitude of paternalism toward their own religious. It was as if the priests and religious had no right to know of serious matters that affected their future, their freedom, and the commitment of their lives to the Congregation. I came to recognize that this pattern of activity was fruit of an internal culture Fr. Maciel had created and which would be extremely difficult to change, even with the assistance of the Holy See.

I write now as an outsider observing what is going on, but obviously I retain a great interest in the Legionaries with whom I served for 29 years. The Legionaries in my generation and afterwards were idealistic young men who saw in the Legion a great force for renewal of the Church and for collaboration with Pope John Paul II in the new springtime of evangelization. What we signed on for, motivated by true zeal and youthful hope has turned out a devastating demonstration of the human side of the Church, leaving many disillusioned beyond measure. I sincerely hope the project of reform will succeed, as I know from experience the Legion is populated by many very talented, intelligent, enterprising and holy priests who have much to offer the Church if properly channeled...

---

Chiesa is a wonderful source on all things Catholic in Europe. It is skillfully edited by Sandro Magister. SANDRO MAGISTER was born on the feast of the Guardian Angels in 1943, in the town of Busto Arsizio in the archdiocese of Milan. The following day he was baptized into the Catholic Church. His wifes name is Anna, and he has two daughters, Sara and Marta. He lives in Rome.



Comments


More Europe

Romans not enthusiastic over Pope Francis' declaration of a Jubilee Year in Rome Watch

Image of

By Talia Ramos (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A Jubilee Year was officially declared by Pope Francis in Rome, as it expected for millions of pilgrims to gather around the city to observe the celebration. However, Romans are less enthusiastic and more worried, as Rome is in crisis following the discovery of ... continue reading


French locals not happy about King Salman of Saudi Arabia's three-week Riviera vacation Watch

Image of King Salman visits the Riviera Beach in France together with 1,000 of his entourage.

By Linky C. (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The King of Saudi Arabia, King Salman was scheduled to arrive in France Friday for a holiday trip at the Riviera Beach. The King was expected to arrive together with 1,000 of his entourage. MUNTINLUPA CITY, PHILIPPINES (Catholic Online) - King Salman's visit was ... continue reading


Islamic State may use store-bought drones to launch terror attacks at British sporting events Watch

Image of ISIS could easily get its hands on cheap drones, with more than 127,000 being bought and sold on online auction site eBay in the last year alone.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Drones, unmanned aerial devices that can now be commercially purchased by civilians, may be used by Islamist State for terrorist attacks at British sporting events. The sick terror group would use the devices to drop explosives on to playing fields, and use the ... continue reading


New financial rules reveal Vatican had a billion euros off the books Watch

Image of The statements were prepared by the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, the Vatican's budget management office.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

The Holy See reports €1 billion in net assets never before reported, and in a consolidated form. This was part of the revelations that came under new reporting procedures more in line with international accounting standards. LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - ... continue reading


Romans lose hope for city, fear mayor is too weak to conquer political scandals Watch

Image of

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Arrests of powerful political figures in Rome continuously add up. After discoveries of corruption and mafia linkages, Romans feel more burdened over their falling apart home. Although the current mayor proved to be free from any criminal accusations linked to ... continue reading


Horrific female genital mutilation becomes shocking factor in many areas of England Watch

Image of Despite there being a lot of cases against FGM in England, there have been no prosecutions.

By Nikky Andres (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Due to mass immigration, female genital mutilation (FGM) has made its way to the United Kingdom. Female genital mutilation is the practice of cutting off a girl's clitoris and labia before stitching up the vulva. According to recent reports, this damaging practice is ... continue reading


Quran manuscript, at 1,500 years old, may be the oldest one discovered to date Watch

Image of The leaves of parchment date back to A.D. 568 and A.D. 645.

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

After initiating radiocarbon dating, measuring the age of the parchments organic materials, researchers are confident they have found the oldest surviving copies of the Quran. University of Birmingham scholars in the United Kingdom say the parchment was produced within ... continue reading


Prince George turns two! Take a look at some of our favorite moments from the royal toddler's life Watch

Image of Prince George in December 2014.

By Hannah Marfil (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

Prince George, the firstborn of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge, turned two recently and reportedly celebrated with a private tea party at his home in Norfolk. The young, cheeky prince has been in the media spotlight ever since the announcement of Kate's pregnancy. ... continue reading


Shocking footage of horrifying MH17 airplane crash captures HUMAN BODIES falling from the sky (VIDEO) Watch

Image of

By Atarah Haely (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

An amateur video, shot with a mobile phone, was released over the Internet revealing horrifying and disturbing moments from the MH17 crash in a Ukrainian field. The video was shot by a traumatized couple who witnessed the victims fall from the sky. The shakey footage ... continue reading


Islamic State suspected of using Bosnia-Herzegovina village to train terrorists Watch

Image of Militant Islam was little known to Bosnia's mostly secular Muslim population until the 1990s Balkans wars, when Arab mercenaries turned up to help the outgunned Bosnian Muslims fend off Serb attacks

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)

A quaint village in mainland Europe is feared to have become entrenched by the dreaded terrorist group Islamic State. Osve, in Bosnia-Hercegovina, is believed to being used to train jihadist terrorists. Everyone there is "ready to respond to the summons to jihad (holy ... continue reading


All Europe News

Newsletters

Newsletter Sign Up icon

Stay up to date with the latest news, information, and special offers

Daily Readings

Reading 1, Exodus 40:16-21, 34-38
16 Moses did this; he did exactly as Yahweh had ... Read More

Psalm, Psalms 84:3, 4, 5-6, 8, 11
3 Even the sparrow has found a home, the swallow a ... Read More

Gospel, Matthew 13:47-53
47 'Again, the kingdom of Heaven is like a dragnet ... Read More

Saint of the Day

Saint of the Day for July 30th, 2015 Image

St. Peter Chrysologus
July 30: St. Peter Chrysologus, Bishop and Doctor of the Church ... Read More

Inform, Inspire & Ignite Logo

Find Catholic Online on Facebook and get updates right in your live feed.

Become a fan of Catholic Online on Facebook


Follow Catholic Online on Twitter and get News and Product updates.

Follow us on Twitter