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Cardinal sees ‘new Legion’ of Christ arising ‘from the ashes’

December 17, 2013

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, appointed Pontifical Delegate for the Legionaries of Christ in 2010, told 31 men he ordained to the priesthood that he sees the troubled religious institute arising “from the ashes.”

“There was a moment in the Legion when sin oppressed it, when sin became so visible and clamorous that it reached monstrous proportions and filled the media throughout the world,” he preached. “The Legion’s survival seemed uncertain. The world looked at it with a pitiless gaze that uncovered the indigence and the shame. It was truly a difficult moment. Any shocking story about the Legionaries was taken as indisputable truth. The social media delved into the details, with what almost appeared to be a certain satisfaction.”

“Their faithfulness to the vocation – or at least their call to the Legion itself – was sorely tested,” he continued, referring to the ordinands. “Some felt they should believe all that they heard. Others felt lost and distrustful when they heard the facts: some thought and said that nothing new could ever arise from the ashes. Some – fortunately only a few – have left.”

The cardinal added:

You who have stayed are not personally responsible for the painful facts re-lived over the past three years. By your decision and by your faithfulness, by your suffering and by bearing the shame of other Legionaries’ sins, you have enabled the purification and renewal of the congregation itself, and you have made it more beautiful in its service to Regnum Christi and to the Church. And by your behavior you have reaffirmed that the world is not made new when we limit ourselves, or get lost in scandals or in distrust, or stay on the sidelines to watch with curiosity or express our own dissatisfaction. The world is made new when we take up the burden of sin by the offering of our own lives, and remain faithful to our vocation. These are the Legionaries of Christ that the Church and the Legion need … I trust that a new Legion will come from all this, a Legion reconciled with itself and with others, a Legion able to forgive and to ask forgiveness.


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  • Posted by: - Dec. 18, 2013 9:18 AM ET USA

    This elderly Cardinal has, unfortunately, almost become a defender of the Legion past. His wording suggests that perhaps those shocking stories weren't really true and that the problem was all with the media. This is intellectually dishonest because the horrible tales were true. He says that "sin...filled the media." No, this is about the Founder of this order, and immediate colleagues, which really cannot be reshaped as though he hadn't founded it and structured it with acquiescing assistants

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - Dec. 17, 2013 7:19 PM ET USA

    Since there are such great attempts to keep this order viable,I have a suspicion that they have great money raisers among people who choose to keep the blinders on. I hate to think this would exist in Francis' Papacy,but why else keep an order founded by a pervert,pedophile? Are the Legionnaires more powerful than Pope Francis? Chilling thought.

  • Posted by: MatthewG - Dec. 17, 2013 6:19 PM ET USA

    "Only a few" have left - really? I myself am in the process of leaving, and I keep hearing about other priests and seminarians who make the same decision. There will be no "new Legion" until there is definitive acceptance of the fact that there are serious problems with the "old Legion", not just a few "other Legionaries' sins". Some LC's do get that fact, but others still feel the Legion is essentially sound. Many of those who feel that change is necessary seem to be among those leaving.

  • Posted by: New Sister - Dec. 17, 2013 4:58 PM ET USA

    Holy Church should cut bait and dissolve this order, as well as its lay associate, "Regnum Christi". Let the good in them be reassigned/applied elsewhere in the Body of Christ.

  • Posted by: - Dec. 17, 2013 11:54 AM ET USA

    Unfortunately, "any shocking story about the Legionaries" turned out to be true, and then some. Card. De Paolis's comments belie the reality of the Legion's situation. No one has ever questioned the seminarians virtue; it was the corruption at the top of the order that demoralized many of its priests and lay supporters such as myself. He uses phrases just like Maciel did, pointing at nameless enemies. Not a good sign.

  • Posted by: jg23753479 - Dec. 17, 2013 7:27 AM ET USA

    Along with many observers, I do not believe the Legion can or should survive; its name is tainted beyond recovery; personally, I could not trust anyone associated with that religious institute any longer. It should simply be dissolved and its priests reassigned.