Legion of Christ needs to practice conversion

The Legion of Christ still has a long road of reform ahead and it must practice conversion, Pope Francis told a meeting of the religious order of priests meeting in Rome.

Even though it is 10 years since the Vatican ordered the religious order of priests to rid itself of its pedophile founder’s toxic influences, the Legion must seek continuous conversion under the guidance of the Church, Francis said.

The Legion’s founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel, established the secretive, cult-like order in 1941 to hide his double life.

In this way, he was able to sexually abuse dozens of his seminarians. He also fathered at least three children.

Francis’s message encouraged the Legion’s 2020 Ordinary General Chapter in Rome to work “energetically in substance, and softly in the means.”

“A change of mentality requires a lot of time to assimilate in individuals and in an institution, so it’s a continual conversion,” Francis said.

“A return to the past would be dangerous and senseless.”

“So the journey must continue, looking forward, not backward. You can look back only to find trust in the support of God, who has never failed.”

The Legion, which has just completed a nearly six-week-long meeting in Rome to elect new leadership and to discuss handling of abuse, has been the subject of widespread public criticism since it released the order’s sex abuse statistics last December.

These statistics show that since the order was founded, 33 priests of the congregation have committed sexual abuse of minors, victimizing 175 children.

Furthermore, despite a Vatican envoy’s assurances in 2014 that the Legion had been cleansed of Maciel’s influence, new sexual misconduct scandals have called into question whether his mission was really accomplished.

Francis told the Legion’s new superiors a “very vast field” of work was needed to correct the order’s problems and make it healthy.

The pope praised Legion members for their willingness to accept change and urged them to continue the path of renewal.

The order’s new governing council must act as a check on the superiors, Francis said.



Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , ,