If anyone wondered why there was no more apparent muscle behind the reform of the Legion, the answer was on full display at the Ordination Mass in Rome for 31 Legionaries. Evidently Cardinal dePaolis, who was appointed to oversee the transition, has no more situational awareness than those who were actually held thrall over the course of many decades by a master charlatan. For his homily, he preached thusly:
You have persevered in your congregation and today you will receive the priesthood in it; trials have buffeted the Legion, and you have experienced them all. If you’re here today, it’s because you have overcome them; and if you have overcome them, it’s only because your hearts have preserved the certainty of a love, the love of Christ.
There was a moment in the Legion when sin oppressed it, when sin became so visible and clamorous that it reached monstrous proportions and filled the media throughout the world. The Legion’s survival seemed uncertain. The world looked at it with a pitiless gaze that uncovered the indigence and the shame. It was truly a difficult moment. Any shocking story about the Legionaries was taken as indisputable truth. The social media delved into the details, with what almost appeared to be a certain satisfaction. For the Legionaries it was certainly an unpleasant and difficult time.
Their faithfulness to the vocation – or at least their call to the Legion itself – was sorely tested. Some felt they should believe all that they heard. Others felt lost and distrustful when they heard the facts: some thought and said that nothing new could ever arise from the ashes. Some – fortunately only a few – have left the priesthood. Others, more numerous than the first but also relatively few, have left the Legion to join different dioceses, and the bishops have generally welcomed them willingly. They said they left the Legion because they were betrayed by the founder and by the superiors who covered up for him, or did not reveal the truth to them in a satisfactory manner. They believed that leaving was the right decision. [It is not our place to judge them! Only the Lord can judge! see combox below ]Others have remained, because they believe that they chose Christ, who did not betray them and can never betray them. They have entrusted themselves to the God of goodness and of mercy, who is able to renew man’s heart and bring forth children of Abraham even from the very stones. They have stayed. They are numerous. They are the great majority, and you are among them. All your brothers here are also among them, and they gather around you to celebrate today, together with your relatives and friends.
You who have stayed are not personally responsible for the painful facts re-lived over the past 3 years. By your decision and by your faithfulness, by your suffering and by bearing the shame of other Legionaries’ sins, you have enabled the purification and renewal of the congregation itself, and you have made it more beautiful in its service to Regnum Christi and to the Church. And by your behavior you have reaffirmed that the world is not made new when we limit ourselves, or get lost in scandals or in distrust, or stay on the sidelines to watch with curiosity or express our own dissatisfaction. The world is made new when we take up the burden of sin by the offering of our own lives, and remain faithful to our vocation. These are the Legionaries of Christ that the Church and the Legion need.
The path over the last 3 years has been a path of penance and of purification, and all this is aimed at renewal. You have been able to listen to the many accusations that have come from all sides. You have examined them. You have seen whether they were true or not. And you have admitted the truth, and tried to correct what was wrong. You have suffered, and you have realized the suffering that other Legionaries – beginning with the founder – have caused in the lives of others. And the suffering of others has helped you to understand and carry your own suffering. You have experienced the peace that suffering brings, and the reconciliation that comes from forgiveness, which we all need so much. I trust that a new Legion will come from all this, a Legion reconciled with itself and with others, a Legion able to forgive and to ask forgiveness. The new constitutions are not simply the result of a juridical process; they are the fruit of a long examination of conscience by the entire congregation.
These facts have surely left a positive mark on your own priesthood. Jesus Christ, the eternal high priest, has come to show us the merciful face of the Father, to forgive us and to make us adopted children of God. May this be the face of your priesthood too. Redemption is linked to the forgiveness that hangs from the wood of the Cross, and from there it shines upon the world and becomes the hope of salvation.
Voila! How simple was that. Just remember that we on the outside, collaborating with the media, digging up the evidence, and stirring up the scandal were the cause of so much "buffeting," "shame," and "suffering." But they will not judge us, or any of those who left. They will simply rejoice that they have overcome all that was thrown at them.
According to this view, the men addressed in the homily are the main victims. They were not responsible for what occurred or for the men and women who were harmed. The suffering they've endured will make them better priests and the Movement is more beautiful even than before. They have learned reconciliation and forgiveness (remarkably, without ever talking to people on the outside who were abused and betrayed).
The examination of conscience to date has created new and healthy Constitutions. No questions about who collaborated in the monumental scam. No curiosity about what constitutes a cult. No dwelling on the reports of the visitators. No reflection about how (or why) a man "devoid of religious sensisbilities" would create a religious congregation. No investigation into where the rest of the victims might be (more than 20, fewer than 100) and who victimised them. Onward Christian soldiers.
Combine the Cardinal's words with this interesting survey:
Given the comments of the Spokesman for the Legion concerning the varied representation of those who will participate in the General Chapter, a group of legionaries conducted a survey by way of Outlook to find out their general opinion about those who will attend the Chapter.
Of the possible 900 or so who would qualify to be surveyed, 750 were chosen (excluding superiors, members of the General Direction, members of the territorial direction,etc.). We received 317 responses, which allow us to qualify the representation of the Chapter in the following manner:Old guard: 50% old guardMember of the system: 53.2% member of the systemThose with positions from the time of Maciel: 37.1%Persons under the influence of superiors: 16.1%Relatively young but "pro status quo”:Those who could be a factor of change: 12.9%Those who would be against renewal: 30.6%Those who could possibly put forth new ideas: 6.7%
The world is made new when we take up the burden of sin by the offering of our own lives, and remain faithful to our vocation. These are the Legionaries of Christ that the Church and the Legion need.