The National Catholic Review

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.

 

Comments

SUSAN DOWDEN MRS | 2/25/2010 - 10:18am
Soy,
I think you missed the sarcasm in my post.  I absolutely agree that there needs to be accountability for all the lies, abuse and depravity (sexual, financial, psychological and otherwise) and ESPECIALLY for the abuse perpetrated on the faith of all of the LC and RC members and the Church itself.  My point is that, in my view, the Church hierarchy bears some of the blame here for ignoring what seems to have been glaring evidence about Maciel's sexual transgressions and the formation methods employed by the organizations.
 
SUSAN DOWDEN MRS | 2/5/2010 - 5:07pm
''The dissolution of both movements, whatever the human costs''-really??  What would that accomplish?  Both orders have many sincere, holy and innocent members, priests and laity alike.  They had no knowledge of Maciel's depravities.  They were not privy to the financial improprieties.  They were not responsible for the formation policies.  The leadership of LC and RC certainly needs to be held accountable for whatever wrongdoing they have participated in, but the Church itself bears much, if not most, of the responsibility here.  Why was there no oversight of the policies of the orders?  There were many complaints over the years, not just about Maciel and the sexual abuse, but also about the formation policies.  Was the Magisterium brainwashed too?  Shouldn't they have known better?  If we want to be really cynical, let's think about the current visitation.  For years, the Church supported LC and RC (and I assume vice versa) and allowed them to do whatever, which resulted in the accumulation of a huge amount of wealth and property. But now, ''shocked'' by the truth, the Church appoints a commission to determine whether the orders' problems are irreparable and decide if they can even continue.  Where will all that wealth and property go?  Back to the Church.  Where will all those good and holy and sincere people(not to mention their superior fundraising ability) go?  Back into the arms of the Church.  Sounds like a win-win for those who, in actuality, are the ones responsible for this mess.  Of course, vows or not, we are all obligated to practice ''charity'', so I will try not to be that cynical.  I will not even think about what a shameful point in Church history this really is.  Perhaps it's just better to look the other way.
Ale Gutierrez | 2/9/2010 - 1:51pm
Susan,
Your closing “perhaps is better to look the other way” is the type of opinion and belief that brought us here. Corcuera’s excuse “it may be linguistic are cultural” is filled with bull. There is nothing cultural about trying to hide people’s mistakes, about trying to enhance one’s status in life (in this case the whole order’s status in the world) based on sins and lies. This is human nature. They should dissolve the order and give those “good” and “innocent” priests and religious members, an opportunity to join another order. An order based in faith and faithful ideas, an order characterized with overt good deeds and not founded in lies and abuse all several kinds (including those against the mere ideals of the Catholic religion and its teachings). It is people like you and Corcuera that protect liars, cheaters, abusers, depraved members that are killing the Catholic Church and the reason why so many are leaving this institution.
Miguel de Servet | 2/5/2010 - 1:13pm
Jack,
you may try to spin and embellish in ''cultural'' terms, as much as you like, the sordid story not only of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, but of his creations, the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement.
There is not, on the part of the present leadership of both movements, even the bare minimum, a frank admission that the ''Most Honorable Founder'' was, in all evidence a sexual predator with the aggravating circumstances of foul cynicism and elitism.
The substance of the Sexual abuse scandal in the Legion of Christ does not seem in doubt, but Maciel and the Legion continued to deny the accusations until his death in 2008. (see Maciel Investigation Still Underway, Legion of Christ Misinforms Media, Muddying Vatican Waters, @ regainnetwork.org).
So the final word on the truth of the facts must be pronounced by the highest instance of the Church, the Vatican, and fully accepted by the present leadership of the movements. No healthy ''moving on'' is possible, otherwise.
I fully agree with those who ask either for an open exposure of ALL faults (not only Maciel's) and a radical ''change in the internal culture'', or, purely and simply, for the dissolution of both movements, whatever the human costs.
Jack Keogh | 2/4/2010 - 6:19pm
My reaction to Fr. Corcuera's letter is positive. It's the first time I have heard a legionary mention ''cultural differences.'' Culture, as Edward Hall has written, is most invisible to those who live it.'' Reactions to the Maciel scandal are clearly affected by the cultural lens of the viewers. I blogged about this at http://www.monkwhostolethecow.com/2010/01/influence-of-culture-on-legionary_29.html
It's interesting to compare Toyota's reaction to the acceleration ''scandal:'' and the Legion's to the Maciel debacle.
I've known Alvaro since he was 10, although it's been years since we have spoken. Legionaries don't communicate much with their departed brethern. He is a wonderful, holy priest. I sure would not want to be in his shoes! Better to pray for him than to vituperate him.
Carolyn Disco | 1/30/2010 - 11:27pm

Why is Corcuera in power at all? Why is the order not long dissolved?
Still no direct, clear acknowledgement from the Legion of Maciel's sexual abuse of seminarians, much less an apology to them.
Go to vowsofsilencefilm.com to learn about corruption at the highest level.