Fr Thomas Berg has an excellent piece at the First Things blog that includes the following:
After twenty-three years as a Legionary, I discerned that it was best for me to abandon the congregation in 2009. Since the naming of De Paolis, I have watched and waited for needed reform. Now, two years later, I have decided to lift my silence to express my deep disappointment as well as my profound concern for the fine young men and dedicated priests who still compose the Legion.
In point of fact, the Legionaries are not some centuries-old and long-cherished religious family, deserving of every ounce of the Church’s energies to salvage it. The Legion’s seventy-one years of existence are immersed in controversy. Serious questions have been raised about the various “approvals” of the Legion in the 1940’s on account of Maciel’s duplicity. The Legion also escaped extinction under dubious circumstances after a Vatican investigation of Maciel in the 1950’s. I have held for quite some time that it would have been best for the Legionaries and the Church had Benedict opted to suppress the congregation. That he did not do.
He attributes two errors in judgment to the Papal delegate:
- leaving the current superiors in place; and
- refusing to investigate who collaborated with MM's lies.
In the wake of this ineffectual leadership, there is little hope for authentic reform or accountability:
Current members more open to radical renewal believe that the most likely result of such a process will be little more than superficial and cosmetic changes to norms and discipline—a far cry from the sweeping changes to the internal culture of the congregation so urgently needed.
To be sure, the Catholic faithful have a right to a detailed account of just how the case of Marcial Maciel and the Legion could have ever happened in the first place. The facts—no matter what they may reveal in terms of negligence, omission, and even complicity from within the ranks of the Roman Curia itself—would be far less scandalous than the present refusals to know and embrace the truth.
Not only is there "institutional resistence" to digging out the truth, but there is a willful obsfucation from the LC leadership, misleading the membership about the nature of the problem:
This is bolstered by the institutional conviction that the naming of a Papal Delegate constituted a de facto pontifical "approval" of the Legion's continuation as a congregation and affirmation of the existence of a valid charism and mission. Those contentions remain un-argued assertions which beg theological substantiation.
He outlines the fundamental problem with honesty about MM, and gives excellent suggestions concerning the discernment process for the existing members:
Which of us would have joined the Legionaries or made our temporal or final profession of vows, much less gone on to ordination, had we known of Maciel’s depravities? In my own case, the only prudent course of action in 2009 was immediately to seek sound spiritual direction from an experienced director outside of the Legion. Every Legionary at the time should have received assistance in doing the same. Every Legionary who remains today, if he has not already worked through that process, should be given the means to do so. Yet, the many current Legionary superiors would appear oblivious to such common—pastoral—sense. Family members of Legionary seminarians would do well, therefore, to persevere in convincing their loved ones to request a period of time to return home, and in a non-Legionary environment, aided by a sound spiritual director from outside the congregation, carefully to discern God’s will for their lives.
He ends with the exact sentiments of multitudinous commenters of this blog, which should be the last word about the "fruit" of the Legion:
The Church does not need the institution of the Legion of Christ. What is good in the Legion is the ensemble of elements of spirituality, piety, and traditions of religious life that are not unique to the Legion, but which rather emanate from the Church’s own spiritual patrimony. What the Church does very much need, however, are the good and zealous men who currently remain in the Legion.
Please read it all, and pray that his words have a wide hearing. [H/t to -9 years, thank you!]