Legion Elects New Director General and Other Leaders

The Legionaries of Christ have elected Father Eduardo Robles Gil, a Mexican priest as their new director general at the general chapter that is taking place in Rome. Other new leaders have also been chosen as follows.

  • General Director: Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil, LC.
  • Vicar General: Fr. Juan José Arrieta, LC. (appointed by the Holy See)
  • General Councilor: Fr. Sylvester Heereman, LC.
  • General Councilor: Fr. Jesús Villagrasa, LC.
  • General Councilor: Fr. Juan Sabadell, LC. (appointed by the Holy See)
  • General Administrator: Fr. José Gerardo Cárdenas, LC.
  • General Procurator: Fr. Clemens Gutberlet, LC.

Nicole Winfield of Associated Press http://bigstory.ap.org/article/legion-elects-superior-vatican-names-top-advisers has commented that the Holy See itself appointed two comparatively reform-minded priests to serve on the order’s governing council, including the new No. 2. The Vatican said had intended to make its own appointments all along to help encourage trust in the new leadership. She added that the newly elected Director General was a long time favorite of the Legion’s disgraced late founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel. Legion priests who have left the order called him a spiritual son of Maciel and say his election shows no break from the order’s troubled past.

The AP article quotes a former LC priest who is now working in the Archdiocese of Brasilia as commenting that the Holy See may be trying to keep peace in the Legion and avoid more from abandoning the Legion.

According to the AP article, the 60 or so Legionaries who attended the general chapter issued a repentant apology, acknowledging the shortcomings of Legion superiors who refused to tell the truth about Maciel, even though they knew he had fathered a child. They also apologized to the original victims of Maciel, who were defamed by the Legion and accused of having lied when in fact they had been sexually abused by the founder, Fr Maciel.

ReGAIN Comment

It is difficult to understand why the Vatican has shown so much concern about people leaving the Legion and the consecrated life in Regnum Christi. Because of the aggressive recruiting tactics used by both groups, many of the LC priests and RC 3gf’s never had an opportunity to carry out an adequate discernment of vocation and once they were inside they were subjected to techniques that are considered to be mind control practices. Why would the Vatican not encourage people who are living out forced vocations to take a sabbatical and discern where God wishes them to serve Him.

Although any apology is welcome, we feel it is an extreme case of too little too late. A general sort of forced apology that comes years after the offences took place and was identified and after years of investigations and appointment of a Vatican Delegate seem lame. It is the sort of apology that the class bully offers after the principal drags him to his victims by the ear. The tone of the Legion apologies at this late stage lacks sincerity. To date, compensation payments to victims have been described as miserly and Legion leaders until now have avoided sharing any of the blame for Legionary woes with their founder.

Regarding their selection of a new Director General, some ReGAIN friends have described the new director General as a Maciel clone. It seems to us as if Nuestro Padre is eerily and creepily reaching out from his grave to maintain control of his creation. In his opening address http://www.romereports.com/pg155731-new-director-of-the-legionaries-we-want-things-to-go-back-to-normal–en
the new Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil stated (prophetically perhaps) that he wants things to go back to normal. That is a scary thought for those of us who have been hoping and praying for authentic reform in the Legion.

It seems that the Legion has not yet discovered that if they wish to rebuild their lost credibility and trust they need to show a desire to break away from their old ways and prayerfully determine some new direction that has some spiritual objective. Father Maciel was an absolute dictator over the Legion and Regnum Christi. Nobody was allowed to criticise him or to even challenge him. He did all the thinking for everyone to the point where his loyal followers lost much of their ability to think independently and logically. Their old self serving structure and methodology suited the founder to get what he wanted and to a lesser extent it serves the ones in control of the Legion to get what they want. If there is to be any move forward, there would need to be a miraculous change in thinking and attitude so that the LC religious order and RC religious movement would reach outward to serve some other people.

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Legionaries of Christ Denounce Founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado 02/06/2014

Legionaries Of Christ Officially Apologize To Victims: Catholic Order Denounces Founder Father Marcial Maciel

Posted: 02/06/2014 10:47 am EST

ROME — A Roman Catholic order whose late founder lived a double life as a pedophile and womanizer officially denounced him on Thursday and apologized to his “many victims.”

The Legionaries of Christ, which former members said was run like a secretive cult, accused the founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, who died in 2008, of “reprehensible and objectively immoral behavior” as head of the order from its founding in 1941 until Pope Benedict XVI removed him in 2006.

Once a favorite of the Vatican because it drew many young Catholics to religious vocations and made sizable financial donations to the church, the order has been in Vatican receivership since 2010 and came close to being disbanded.

The apology, issued by delegates from around the world meeting in Rome to set a new direction for the order, came a day after a United Nations committee singled it out in a scathing report accusing the church of ignoring child abuse by priests.

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Kirsten Sandberg, the chairwoman of the United Nations Committee on the Rights of the Child, in Geneva on Wednesday.U.N. Panel Criticizes the Vatican Over Sexual AbuseFEB. 5, 2014
The statement denounced “the magnitude of the evil and scandal caused” by Father Maciel and said the organization was now ready to turn a page. “We want to express our deep sorrow for the abuse of minor seminarians, the immoral acts with men and women who were adults, the arbitrary use of his authority and of material goods,” the statement said.

For decades, the Vatican dismissed accusations by seminarians that Father Maciel had abused them sexually, some when they were as young as 12. The order’s rules forbade criticizing the founder or questioning his motives. Pope John Paul II strongly backed Father Maciel, even as criticism of him mounted.

The order was long admired by the church for its dynamic growth and fund-raising prowess, and it had many wealthy conservative benefactors who saw it as a bulwark against liberalism in the church.

In 2006, a year after John Paul’s death, a Vatican investigation concluded that the previously denied accusations of molestation were true. Benedict ordered Father Maciel to retire to a life of “prayer and penitence.”

After his death, Vatican investigations found that Father Maciel had also fathered several children with at least two women, visited them regularly and sent them money.

The order’s newly elected general director, the Rev. Eduardo Robles Gil, has a long history with the group himself. According to its website, he helped establish the Legion in Brazil, and in 2011 he was named to a commission created to work with the victims of Father Maciel.

The Rev. John Stegnicki, a former Legion priest now working in the archdiocese of Brasília, was quoted by The Associated Press as saying that the outcome of the election was “disappointing” but predictable, given that the priests voting were by and large Maciel confidants or their protégés.

“Who else could they choose from?” he said. “All of them are entrenched in Legion-think.”

A version of this article appears in print on February 7, 2014, on page A10 of the New York edition with the headline: Catholic Order Denounces Its Founder. Order Reprints| Today’s Paper|Subscribe