[Let's proceed with the charism conversation here for now, after noting what was << said >> on the topic.]
The General Chapter has begun and the Papal Delegate has seemingly contradicted the Legion's approach to their reform:
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis presided over a Mass opening a month-long meeting of Legion delegates to elect a new leadership and finalize new constitutions that must be submitted to Pope Francis for approval. The meeting is the culmination of a three-year Vatican experiment to try to turn the congregation around after a Holy See investigation uncovered serious problems in the cult-like movement.
Benedict took the Legion over in 2010 and appointed De Paolis to oversee a whole-scale reform, leading up to the assembly that began Wednesday. While the Legion insists great strides have been made — decision-making is more decentralized, priests have better training and emails are no longer screened — De Paolis said the reform has only just begun.
"It has been repeatedly stressed that the revision of the constitutions cannot simply be considered a technical effort, but should be accompanied by a process of examination of life, of review and of spiritual renewal for the institute," he told the gathering of a few hundred priests in the chapel of the Legion's seminary on the outskirts of Rome. "Thus far, we have only completed the process of preparation."
That assessment may troublesome Legion priests, for whom the General Chapter, as the assembly is called, was to have represented the end of a painful and humiliating ordeal. The Legion's current superior, the Rev. Sylvester Heereman, recently acknowledged that many of his priests are tired of the process and just want it to end and be told what to do.
But after three years, questions still remain as to how the Legion can even exist when its founder was a fraud and its core mission — that spiritual inspiration that makes religious orders unique — remains unclear.
In his homily Thursday, De Paolis acknowledged that this core identity has yet to be nailed down and that the delegates attending the meeting and their new superiors must find a "new spirit, a new heart" to figure it out and move forward in service to the church.
Legion officials have said they hoped the meeting would result in a return to autonomous government, without any more special Vatican oversight. Francis hasn't signaled what he might do, other than to say De Paolis' mandate won't be renewed.