From the indefatigable Nicole Winfield:
Two years in, the logistical process of rewriting the constitutions is going ahead. And just this week - on the same day the Williams revelations made headlines - De Paolis announced that he had named new leaders for the Legion's female branch to help shepherd it through a process of reform as well.
But in yet another indication that the process is anything but linear, none of the members selected by De Paolis are considered reformers, with most, if not all, of them strongly linked to the old guard leadership and with little experience in the field.
Former members of the so-called consecrated branch of the Legion say De Paolis' choices don't reflect the results of the voting undertaken by current members to choose their own leaders. They predicted a new exodus of members frustrated that their efforts to reform had again been rebuffed.
"I believe this will generate numerous and significant desertions," said Nelly Ramirez, a former consecrated woman who left in 2009 and has written a book about her experiences.
The takeaway is:
- The Legion modus operandi cannot stand up to scrutiny (and I'm including the Cardinal's actions in that MO, since he has clearly adopted their methodology);
- With the previous veil of secrecy, a breach of trust like this would have passed without notice;
- Even if previously the women had suspected that their wishes were entirely ignored, they would have taken it in stride, swallowing their indignation with a heavy dose of humility, assuming that Jesus was testing them through their divinely appointed superiors;
- There must be a reason why the Cardinal ignored the election and chose malleable leaders, which makes his leadership completely unworkable;
- Without leaders that the women can trust, their future is dimmer than ever -- but may lead to action that will separate even more of them from an environment hostile to basic human dignities;
- Finally, this reminds us of the overarching misogyny that has marked this Congregation, using the women for the private ends of the group by means of unapproved statutes and manipulative norms. Perhaps this will remind the Church of the dangers of maintaining quasi-religious communities that cannot be adequately protected by canon law -- God willing, we'll see significant and lasting changes for the good of all.