Saturday, 1 October 2011

The Legion of Christ - Who are they?

Who are the Legions of Christ. Well according to Wikipedia they are as follows:

..a Roman Catholic congregation of pontifical right, made up of priests and seminarians studying for the priesthood. It was founded in Mexico in 1941, by Fr. Marcial Maciel, who directed the congregation as its General Superior until January 2005. The Legion of Christ has priests working in over 22 countries, and had 889 priests and 2,373 seminarians as of December 31, 2010. In the U.S. it operates 9 schools (and asists at several others), a start-up university in Sacramento and two of a small number of seminaries for teenage boys currently operating in the US.

Its lay movement Regnum Christi has approximately 70,000 members.In Mexico, the Legionaries administer the Anahuac University Network.It operates centers of education (minor seminaries, seminaries, schools and/or universities) in Mexico, Venezuela, Colombia, Chile, Brazil, Israel, Korea, Poland, Ireland, Spain, Italy, France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Canada, the United States, and the Philippines.

The most important fields of their apostolic work are education, youth and family ministry, evangelization (especially in the mission territory of the Mexican State of Quintana Roo in the Yucat√°n Peninsula), and social work. The Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi seek to collaborate with the local churches by lending help and support to the bishops and parish priests as they carry out their diocesan pastoral programs.

Members of the Legion take vows of obedience, chastity, and poverty. They originally 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 final decision by the Vatican. This vow was repealed by Pope Benedict XVI in 2007. 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." 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.

According to the Wall Street Journal, "The Legion of Christ...became a global phenomenon in Catholicism over the past few decades by joining a devotion to orthodoxy and secrecy with an equal fidelity to the Legion's charismatic founder, Father Marcial Maciel, who helped his community's cause by liberally dispensing funds to hierarchs in Rome. Other bishops complained of the Legion's cult-like aspects, but it was only in 2006, when the truth of Maciel's extensive record of sexual abuse and financial shenanigans was finally acknowledged, that the Vatican forced the elderly priest from ministry and launched an investigation."

The Vatican denounced the Legions head and released a statement:

"very serious and objectively immoral acts" of Fr. Marcial Maciel, which were "confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies" represent "true crimes and manifest a life without scruples or authentic religious sentiment," the Vatican said. The Vatican said the Legion created a "mechanism of defense" around Maciel to shield him from accusations and suppress damaging witnesses from reporting abuse. "It made him untouchable," The statement decried "the lamentable disgracing and expulsion of those who doubted" Maciel's virtue.

The Vatican statement did not address whether the Legion's current leadership will face any sanctions. Actions taken by the current Legion leadership will be scrutinized; but no specific sanctions were mentioned, amid suspicion that at least some of the current leaders must have been aware of Maciel's sins. The Vatican acknowledged the "hardships" faced by Maciel's accusers through the years when they were ostracized or ridiculed, and commended their "courage and perseverance to demand the truth."

As a result of the visitation, Benedict XVI named Archbishop (now Cardinal) Velasio De Paolis as the Papal Delegate to oversee the Legion and its governance on July 9, 2010.


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