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Legion of Christ responds to Vatican statement; awaits next moves [updated]

Catholic World News - May 03, 2010

The Legionaries of Christ have issued a brief statement in response to Pope Benedict’s decision to appoint an apostolic delegate to supervise the community.

“The Legion of Christ today, May 1, received the statement of the Holy See regarding the apostolic visitation,” the statement notes. “The Legionaries thank the Holy Father and embrace his provisions with faith and obedience. We appreciate the hard work and dedication of the apostolic visitators. And we are grateful for the prayers of so many people of good will who have supported us at this time.”

Earlier on May 1, the Holy See Press Office had said that “the serious and objectively immoral behavior of [Legion founder] Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling.”

The May 1 announcement that Pope Benedict would appoint a delegate to supervise the order left interested parties wondering what other changes might be in store. Vatican-watcher Sandro Magister wrote that it would be "completely unrealistic" to think that the current leadership of the Legionaries would remain in place.

The New York Times, in an analysis of the Vatican's intervention, said that "the the case was marked by the same delays and bureaucratic caution that have emerged in the handling of other sexual abuse matters crossing Benedict’s desk"-- although the Times story itself recounted several steps in the Pope's dogged pursuit of the investigation into Father Maciel.

Writing in L'Espresso, Magister reached a conclusion opposite that of the Times: "In the case of the Legionaries, it is the media that have to play catch-up with the decisions of the Vatican authorities, and of the pope in the first place."

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