Vatican assumes control of the Legionaries of Christ

Rome will be taking control of the Legionaries of Christ, at least for the time being:

In a statement on Saturday, the Vatican said that Benedict would appoint a special delegate to govern the Legionaries, an influential worldwide order that has been an important source of new priests in a church that has struggled with a shrinking priesthood in much of the developed world. It was founded in 1941 by a Mexican priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado.

Pope Benedict also said he would appoint a special commission to examine the Legionaries’ constitution and open an investigation into its lay affiliate, Regnum Christi.

The measures mean that the order would be governed directly from the Vatican. But the pope decided against dissolving the order or forcing out much of its leadership — at least for now — steps urged by many critics and victims’ advocates, who believe that the leaders must have known, or should have known, of the abuses.

There will be outrage if the Vatican ends up retaining the order’s current leadership. As it stands, the statement leaves the matter unresolved.

 

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Brian Saint-Paul was the editor and publisher of Crisis Magazine. He has a BA in Philosophy and an MA in Religious Studies from the Catholic University of America, in Washington. D.C. In addition to various positions in journalism and publishing, he has served as the associate director of a health research institute, a missionary, and a private school teacher. He lives with his wife in a historic Baltimore neighborhood, where he obsesses over Late Antiquity.

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