By From Chiesa
He left the Legion a year ago and is now incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York.
Fr. Richard Gill a Legionary Priest For 29 Years Asks: Ten Questions;
Fr. Gill points out how Maciel’s legacy continues to weigh negatively on the Legion through the superiors who were connected to him and who still lead the congregation. The Chiesa article including Father Gill’s analysis may be seen
Richard Gill shares his main reasons for leaving the Legion, following the sordid double life of the founder and his personal conclusion that such a person who he describes as
the most despicable character in the Twentieth Century could transmit any valid charism.
But he says that the way the current Legion superiors (all of whom remain in place) failed to act or acted in ways to deliberately mislead the membership bothered him more than the actual scandals related to the founder. He observed a
systematic effort to deny and minimize the facts.
He states that last year, the Legionary superiors attempted to rush through a revised version of the constitution but this was quickly turned down by Cardinal DePaolis.
He then lists 10 questions of the stumbling blocks that make the reform exercise a monumental and perhaps impossible task.
Some of the key issues identified in the questions provided include:
- How can the Church accept the Legion as a work of God, considering the many defects?
- There has always been great ambiguity and confusion regarding the charism and this has not yet been generally admitted by the Legion.
- The Church and Legion superiors enabled Father Maciel in many ways over decades and allowed him to continue his abuse and immoral lifestyle. There is a need to delve into the history of the founder and to bring the true history into the light.
- The version of Regnum Christi statutes approved in 2004 by Cardinal Rode was considerably different from that which promulgated among the members.
- So far, individuals who took part in deceit relating to the founder’s secret life have not been held accountable. Further investigation and justice is required to avoid similar things happening in future.
- There has been no change in leadership and this has led to questions relating to trust within and outside the Legion.
- The long standing problems that limit real dialogue remain. Voices of dissenters were dealt with effectively over the years and this still happens. Modern technology has been recently implemented (including very aggressive industrial spyware) to improve monitoring of email correspondence.
- Ex members with valuable insights have so far been left out of the reform process.
- Richard Gill mentions the
Latino mentality(which he says if more tolerant of misconduct and corruption and dishonesty) that pervades the Legion, continues to create stress particularly in Spain and America.
In his conclusion Father Richard Gill questions how a religious order can be reformed when the founder has been recently labeled as a
false prophet by Pope Benedict XVI. Other Catholic religious orders that have reformed have based their reform on returning to the charism and example of the original founder. In this case that is not an option.
The excellent questions posed by Father Gill demonstrate the importance of having ex members involved in the reform process. Could he have written such an analysis at any time when he was a Legionary priest? Would he have been able to have access to information to allow him to formulate such opinions? Living in an atmosphere of blind obedience where nobody was allowed to criticize a superior in an open manner what would have happened to him if he had issued these statements? It is necessary to be outside to be able to see the Legion as a hall of mirrors.
The points he makes about the futility of any attempt to return to the founding charism and principles (and saintly example) of their founder, the cultural tensions and the problems of the collective attitude of the current superiors (who wanted to rush through a quickie update of statutes to get this little diversion over and done with) are going to be huge obstacles for the Apostolic Delegate to deal with.
For ReGAIN and friends who have been analyzing these sorts of issues for many years, we know that the excellent points and issues raised are only the tip of the iceberg. There has been overwhelming spiritual, emotional, sexual, physical, financial and mental damage done to many, many victims, inside and outsider, including volunteers, benefactors and unfortunately to the Roman Catholic Church itself.
Richard Gill touches on the Legion’s contribution to disharmony within the Church hierarchy at the highest levels, with two cardinals simultaneously expressing completely opposite views about the founder. He asked:
what does it say about the internal culture of the Vatican that while Maciel was being praised at his 60th anniversary in 2004 by Cardinal Sodano, he was being investigated by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?
Insights into this disharmony may be found at Click Here ReGAIN reported on Jason Berry’s article in December about how the founder was able to buy influence in the Vatican at senior levels.
ReGAIN applauds Richard Gill for speaking out some things that need to be said and for asking that the facts be brought out into the light and dealt with in a way to avoid future false prophets from being welcomed and encouraged within the Catholic Church.