John Allen's latest here.
Legionaries taking part in the chapter meeting who spoke to NCR in January insist there's widespread agreement on several fronts ... Yet they say it's also clear there's a range of opinion inside the order over just how far reform ought to go.
Some Legionaries, these sources say, believe that much about their older ways of doing business retain value, citing what they see as the "spiritual fruits" the Legion has produced over the years. One ex-Legionary told NCR on Monday that this wing worries about "throwing the baby out with the bath water" if change goes too far.
At the opposite end of the spectrum, there are other Legionaries anxious to see reform reach more deeply and move more quickly. Some priests in that camp have already left, and privately, Legionaries concede that others may yet do so.
One focal point for this tension, Legionaries say, is the Maciel legacy. Fr. John Connor, a Legionary priest based in New York, told NCR that the current general chapter meeting is committed to upholding a 3-year-old policy that Maciel will no longer be referred to as "Our Father," that pictures of him will be removed from Legionary facilities, and that his writings won't be used in formation programs. "We all understand that he can't be a model of Christian life, religious life or Legionary life," he said.
Yet Fr. John Bartunek, a Cleveland native now based in Rome, said there's disagreement over other matters, such as the extent to which Maciel's spiritual writings retain value. "A lot of the fathers fed their hunger for spiritual reading with the writings of the founder," Bartunek said. "Today, a lot of these guys are doing great work and are spiritually mature priests, and they ask, 'How can we say it's all trash?' "
"We're not going to resolve [that tension] quickly," he predicted. "We're going to have to live with it for a while."