The latest from Jason Berry (with some suggestions from a reader below):
The Legion of Christ drew $2.19 million last year from a $28 million
charitable trust that it controls, thanks to Gabrielle Mee, a wealthy
widow who spent her final years as a consecrated woman in Regnum
Christi, the order's lay wing. An orthodox Catholic, she was unaware
that Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legion, had
out-of-wedlock children or that the Vatican had banished him from
The Timothy J. Mee Charitable Trust -- established by the late
husband of Gabrielle Mee, who died in 2008 -- paid the scandal-battered
Legion $2.19 million in contributions, gifts and grants last year,
according to the trust's 990 form, a public record that private
foundations file with the IRS.
The Timothy Mee trust's $28.27 million net value is slightly less
than half of the $60 million at issue in a lawsuit filed by Gabrielle
Mee's niece against the Legion, Fr. Anthony Bannon and Bank of America,
which manages the Timothy Mee trust with the Legion.
The niece, Mary Lou Dauray, sought to revoke the will and retrieve the assets, on grounds that her late aunt was deceived.
In a Sept. 7 summary judgment, Rhode Island Superior Court Judge
Michael Silverstein ruled that Dauray did not have legal standing to sue
because she had no direct material interest in the outcome. Her stated
intent was to apply any recovered funds to charities consistent with her
aunt's religious beliefs.
But Silverstein's decision showed striking sympathy to Dauray's
argument. The "transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets," the
judge wrote in a lengthy ruling, "from a steadfastly spiritual, elderly
woman to her trusted but clandestinely dubious spiritual leaders raises a
red flag to this Court." Silverstein cited extensive information from
discovery documents unavailable to the public.
Dauray is prohibited from giving interviews under the protective order the Legion requested and the court previously approved.
Tuesday afternoon, NCR joined The Associated Press, The New York Times and TheProvidence Journal in a petition to the court requesting
that the protective order be lifted, which would allow the release of
depositions and documents in the long-running dispute. A final decision
on that could take weeks.
Rome, Italy – Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, C.S.,
Pontifical Delegate for the Legion of Christ and Regnum
Christi, has published a text containing the essential principles
of the Regnum Christi charism. Cardinal De Paolis
sent the document by means of a letter that
he signed on October 19 and addressed to all
Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi.
contains the elements that shape the common charism
of Regnum Christi: it is inspired by the mystery of
Christ who came to establish the Kingdom of
God with his incarnation, passion, death and resurrection.
This vision is condensed in the phrase, Thy Kingdom
Come!Regnum Christi promotes a powerful and
personal experience of the love of Jesus Christ, and seeks
to make him reign in the hearts of
men and of society.
This document will serve
as a sure reference point for the various
callings that form part of Regnum Christi: the Legionaries
of Christ, men and women who consecrate themselves by
practicing the evangelical counsels, and single and married
lay people. This document expresses the identity they
share and enables them to reflect deeply on how they
can follow Jesus Christ more closely, collaborate with
him in their apostolic work, and thus serve
the Church in the New Evangelization.
does not propose to reinvent the charism of
Regnum Christi; rather, it is an effort to explain,
assimilate, reflect on, and if necessary, purify the charism.
Cardinal De Paolis reminds us in
his letter: “[It is] opportune to remember that
the charism is considered an extraordinary gift from
the Holy Spirit to the Church so that it may
be built up in the diverse historical circumstances
in which it lives. A charism is called a grace
gratis data, given by means of the person called the
founder. But a charism is not to be
identified with the person of the founder, especially not
with his or her holiness or sin. A charism
is a gift made to the Church. The
Church, by means of its legitimate authority, recognizes that a
charism belongs to it… The Holy Father, while
he recognizes this charism [of Regnum Christi], also
requests that it be revised because of the historical circumstances
in which it developed. This is our task.
Not to create new things, but to
revisit that which has been received in order
to arrive at a greater comprehension of it, a deeper
reflection upon it and, if necessary, a purification
With this document as a starting point,
members of Regnum Christi throughout the world will
be able to share experiences, reflect, and make
concrete applications for their pastoral work in their
respective dioceses. As well, they will be able to seek
a closer following of Jesus Christ within their
The Boadilla del Monte City Council has canceled the concession to Legionaries of Christ concerning the parcel of land on which the school, Highlands Los Fresnos, is located. The private school is located on a city plot valued at 11 million, in exchange for an annual fee of 162,000 euros paid to the city by the Congregation. Meanwhile, the families pay 1,400 euros for registration and to 456 euros per month.
In May 2010, the council decided to terminate the grant because the Congregation has built only two of the five modules which were planned. This is because both parties expected urban development that has not occurred.
The Town Planner, Miguel Angel Ruiz, explained that the Congregation "has repeatedly failed the terms of the contract" by not putting up the buildings to which they agreed. Furthermore, he pointed out that the school has "about 400 students from kindergarten and primary. "
The proposal will be raised at the regular plenary session of October and, if all goes as expected, according to the mayor, within "two or three months" the city will offer the award again. "The goal is for a new company to manage the educational complex.
"The local government, after repeated violations by theLegionaries of Christ Congregation, will propose the resolution of the concession. They will process the file appropriate for the land to return to City Hall," "he explained.
Ruiz recalled that since April of this year, there were a record number of sanctions, laying fines of 57,000 euros on the company for the "delay in the construction of the school."
Meanwhile, the Congregation, through a statement, says it fulfilled its "obligations" to the city. They add that "the only discrepancy" occurs in construction time, as the demand would not be enough to fill the new modules.
That's how, they explain, the bidding posted by the City Council to
create the Highlands Los Fresnos School was intended to "satisfy the
great demand for education in the city," was also motivated by the
creation of new housing. Nevertheless, that demand for housing that
would bring kids to the school, they affirm, "has not happened."
Fr. M.S., spokesman for the HLF school, explains that "at no time was the
actual demand for student capacity not taken care of, and therefore,
there was no harm at all to the public interest."
VATICAN CITY—The superior general of the troubled Legion of Christ religious order has stepped aside unexpectedly, saying he simply doesn't have the energy to oversee the radical reform of the congregation ordered by the Vatican.
The Rev. Alvaro Corcuera said in a letter obtained Thursday that his 38-year-old vicar general, the Rev. Sylvester Heereman, would govern the order until a planned general assembly in 2013 or 2014 to elect a new superior. Corcuera will retain his title, but no longer run the Legion.
The Legion has been in turmoil ever since it acknowledged in 2009 that its founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually abused his seminarians and fathered three children. The Vatican took it over in 2010 after a yearlong investigation determined that the Legion's very culture had been infected by Maciel's influence and needed to be "purified."
Corcuera worked closely with Maciel after being named superior in 2005 but has insisted he didn't know of Maciel's crimes. Nevertheless, Legion critics have long demanded his removal, saying the entire Legion leadership should have stepped aside as soon as the revelations of Maciel's double life came out, and that no real reform can take place as long as Maciel's hand-picked subordinates remain in positions of power.
Earlier this year, Corcuera admitted that he knew in 2005 that the Legion's most prominent priest, the Rev. Thomas Williams, had fathered a child, yet he kept the news secret and Advertisement allowed Williams to keep teaching and preaching about morality.
Williams admitted his paternity publicly in May after inquiries by The Associated Press and is no longer teaching.
In his letter to the Legion membership, Corcuera said that even though he isn't suffering from any specific illness, he doesn't have the "health and energy necessary to responsibly deal with the requirements of governing" the Legion and its lay movement Regnum Christi as it undergoes the Vatican-mandated reform process.
The pope's delegate overseeing the reform of the Legion, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, said in an accompanying letter that he accepted Corcuera's decision with regret, although he said it was he who had suggested that Corcuera take a sabbatical for the sake of his health.
"It's a painful decision that has brought suffering to everyone, but is believed necessary for the good of the Legion and Father Alvaro himself," De Paolis wrote.
De Paolis has said he needed the Legion's leadership to stay in place during the reform process, saying his aim wasn't to decapitate the Legion's governing structure but rather change the culture and mindset of its entire membership.
The scandal surrounding the Legion is particularly grave given that Maciel was held up as a model for the faithful by Pope John Paul II, who was impressed by the orthodox order's ability to attract money and young men to the priesthood.
Maciel's double life, and the continuing problems of the cult-like order, have cast a shadow over John Paul's legacy. The Vatican knew of Maciel's crimes as early as the mid-1950s, yet he continued to enjoy the highest Vatican praise and access until he was finally sanctioned by Rome in 2006. Maciel stepped down as superior in 2005, when Corcuera took over.
The German-born Heereman represents something of the new generation of the Legion, ordained in 2006—after Maciel stepped down—although he is still a product of the Maciel-era priest training program, which he entered in 1994. He was head of the Legion in Germany and then all of Western Europe before being named vicar general in February.
Those who want to learn about integrity, honesty, and ethical practices in the workplace from the Legion should head to Cancun in January, where Fr Luis Garza and Fr Alejandro Ortega (among others) will share their ideas on this important topic.