A month away from the Vatican report on the future of the Legionaries of Christ, its head has written to its members asking for an end to damaging debates over the Congregation's future.
According to the Peru-based ACI Prensa, Fr Alvaro Corcuera has sent a letter to Legionaries to ask for charity and forgiveness to prevail in a vigorous internal debate between the English-speaking and Spanish-speaking members of the Congregation over how it should deal with the legacy of its now notorious founder, Fr Maciel Degollado.
A Legionary source tells the agency that (my translation) "it's about differences which more or less follow cultural and linguistic lines". Some mostly English-speaking Legionaries are calling for an open discussion of Maciel's double life and a "change in the internal culture" of the organization; while the other group, mostly Spanish and Portuguese-speaking, "believes the sins of the Founder should be put behind us" and the Congregation recalled to its "foundational spirit".
In a 24 January letter, the Director General warns his fellow Legionaries that "the exchange of opinons by email between numerous groups of priests" ran the risk of "generating misunderstandings and oppositions."
He calls for a period of reflection in order to respond to "what God is calling us to at this time, especially through the guidelines we are expecting from the Holy See. For the time being let us leave the matter to mature in the hearts of each of us, helping us to purify and build this work to which God has called us".
Among the topics being vigorously discussed in the emails was the resignation of a prominent US Legionary, Fr Richard Gill, who left the Congregation over disagreements with its leaders over how to handle the Maciel legacy.