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New Vatican delegate expected to continue reform of Legionaries

Catholic World News - June 24, 2014

The Vatican will appoint a new delegate next week to oversee continued reform of the Legion of Christ, the Associated Press reports.

Father Eduardo Robles Gil, who was elected in January as the new director-general of the troubled religious order, has informed members that the identity of the new Vatican delegate, as well as the scope of his authority, would be revealed in a meeting with the Congregation for Religious on July 3. He said that the Legion would remain “autonomous,” but would have “special assistance” from the Vatican, and that the presence of a papal delegate would offer “certain guarantees for those who don’t trust us.”

In 2009, Pope Benedict XVI appointed Cardinal Velasio de Paolis as his delegate to supervise a thorough reform of the Legion of Christ, after the group’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel, died in disgrace. Cardinal de Paolis concluded his work in January, organizing a chapter general at which the order elected Father Robles Gil as its new leader, and approved a document that said the Legion had “a solid charismatic foundation, endorsed by the Church.”

However, critics of the Legion have continued to express skepticism about the reform. The Associated Press report notes that Pope Francis has avoided meeting with the Legionaries, and did not send a congratulatory message to Father Robles Gil after his election.

The Vatican has not yet approved a revised constitution for the Legion, which was also approved at their January chapter general. A report on the progress toward Vatican approval is expected in July, along with the appointment of a new Vatican delegate for the order.

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Show 3 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Jun. 26, 2014 9:06 PM ET USA

    How a papal delegate would offer "certain guarantees for those who don't trust us" will soothe anyone's fears,escapes me. This is a group that should be disbanded.

  • Posted by: FrMatthewG - Jun. 25, 2014 11:45 AM ET USA

    Actually, it's not strange at all that it's taking years. It's not just a matter of changing a rules; it's a change of institutional culture and the very sense of identity of the congregation and its members. Not easy, even for those of us who have chosen to leave and start new lives. The Legion was highly effective at indoctrinating it's members. A lot of what we assimilated has to change, and sometimes there is both conscious and unconscious resistance. The Legion(aries) need psychotherapy.

  • Posted by: Savonarola - Jun. 24, 2014 8:12 PM ET USA

    Strange indeed, and rather telling, that this "reform" is taking years.

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