POPE FRANCIS SEEMS SET TO APPROVE LEGION OF CHRIST REFORMS
[Pope Francis delivers his speech in St. Peter's square at the Vatican during his weekly general audience yesterday, June 26, 2013.(AP Photo/Alessandra Tarantino)]
VATICAN CITY, July 1, 2013 (PHILSTAR) (Associated Press) Pope Francis is signaling he will sign off on the reform process of the Legion of Christ religious order, which was disgraced by revelations its founder was a pedophile.
In a letter made public yesterday, Francis confirmed the order would convene a general assembly in early 2014 to elect new leadership and approve a revised set of constitutions.
He said these would be "fundamental steps in the path towards authentic and profound renewal."
Then-Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined its founder led a double life: The late Rev. Marcial Maciel sexually molested seminarians and fathered three children.
Benedict ordered a wholesale reform of the order after finding serious problems with its culture. Many priests disillusioned with the reform have left.
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
General Director Alvaro Corcuera
Fr. Álvaro Corcuera LC., the General Director of the Legion of Christ The Legion of Christ (LC) is a Roman Catholic congregation of pontifical right, made up of priests and seminarians studying for the priesthood. It is the priestly and religious branch of the apostolic lay movement, Regnum Christi. In between the Legion and laity, Regnum Christi has a branch of consecrated men and consecrated women.
The organization was founded in Mexico in 1941, by Marcial Maciel, who directed the congregation as its General Director until January 2005. Macial, 84 at the time and marred by serious allegations of sexual abuse, was then succeeded by Álvaro Corcuera, LC, as General Director of the Legion.
The Legion attained its maximum influence during the papacy of John Paul II.
The Legion of Christ has founded religious communities in 22 countries, and had 3 bishops, 953 priests and 1,877 seminarians (including minor seminarians) as of December 31, 2012.
In the U.S. it operates 9 schools (and assists at several others) and two of a small number of seminaries for teenage boys currently operating in the US.
In addition to the Legionaries, Regnum Christi had approximately 70,000 members in 2009, and the youth branch ECyD has tens of thousands. Both members of the lay movement and legionaries dedicate themselves to various apostolates such as education and spiritual direction in order to form the new man in Christ.
In 2006, Legion founder Maciel was investigated by the Holy See and suspended from his ministry, initially over breaches of celibacy, and following public revelations later confirmed as sustained, over sexual abuse. Maciel died in Jacksonville, Florida, on January 30, 2008, aged 87, and was buried in his hometown of Cotija de la Paz, Michoacán, Mexico.
After Maciel's death, and following more revelations, Pope Benedict XVI ordered an apostolic visitation in 2009. At the conclusion of the visitation, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis was delegated to examine the Legionaries’ constitutions and conduct a visitation of its lay affiliate Regnum Christi. On October 19, 2012, De Paolis published a cover letter for a summary of the Regnum Christi's charism which he had approved as a working document.
Members of the Legion take vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty.
For a long time they additionally took a private vow of charity, promising never to criticize their superiors.
This private vow was originally opposed by the Vatican when it chartered the Legion decades ago, but that opposition disappeared after a 1983 Vatican decision under Pope John Paul II.
The vow was repealed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007, following the revelations of extensive sexual abuse by the founder which the vow had long helped hide. Their private vow of humility remains intact.
The Legion's spirituality can be described as four loves: love for Christ, love for Mary, love for souls, and love for the Church and Pope.
Love for Christ is, for Legionaries, a personal experience. Through the Gospel, the cross, and the Eucharist, Legionaries come to know Christ intimately, and love him in a passionate way by embracing him as their model of holiness.
Love for Mary flows from imitating Christ; the Blessed Virgin is loved as both Mother of the Church and of the individual Legionary's vocation.
Legionaries consecrate their spiritual and apostolic lives to her care, and seek to take on her virtues of faith, hope, charity, obedience, humility, and cooperation with Christ's plan of redemption.
Love for Souls is expressed in an ardent desire to spread Christ's kingdom in this world. Legionaries try to use every moment of their time to help the greatest number of souls know and love Christ. They want to be able to say when they get to Heaven that they never wasted one minute or one soul.
Finally, there is Legionaries' love for Church and Pope. The Church is loved because it is the Body of Christ, and the beginning of his Kingdom on earth. Legionaries see the Church both as she currently stands and as Christ wants her to be.
Thus Legionaries honor her by faith, submit to her in obedience, win souls for her through evangelization, and put her above all other earthly things in their lives. This love of the Church leads many in the Legion to speak of being always in step with the Church, neither ahead nor behind: a commitment to Catholic Orthodoxy.
It also explains the Legionaries' special affection for the Pope, who is supported in his charism of primacy and magisterium.
All bishops in communion with the Roman Pontiff, as the Apostles' successors and teachers of the Catholic Faith, are likewise honored.
Spirit of Apostolic Action
The Legion has stated that their actions are designed for the establishing of the Kingdom of Christ.
According to the North American Action Plan, the Legion's apostolic action is summarized as "we form those apostles who can exercise greater Christian leadership and influence others."
The North American Action action also states that the Legion does this with the local Church and for the sake of both the local and universal Church.
Their methodology is given as: "We form these apostles by bringing God’s love to them, inspiring them to fall in love with Jesus Christ especially through prayer and the sacramental life, helping them come to know better the truths of the Catholic Faith and inviting them to participate actively in the evangelization of culture and society."
Chief News Editor: Sol Jose Vanzi
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