Reflections on the Holy See’s Statement vis-a-vis the Legion

As the Holy See released its statement in Rome yesterday vis-a-vis the recent apostolic visitation to the Legion of Christ, a strange meeting took place along the Canada/U.S. border. Two active Orangemen, an active Freemason, an active Knight of Columbus and an Opus Dei cooperator donned disguises, met secretly in a field, and under cover of darkness discussed in whispered tones how best to manipulate falsehood into real temptation, hoping to lure the unsuspecting into a deathly trap.

Sound sinister? Like a new twist in a persecution invented by Maciel’s imagination? Or the plot of cheesy thriller written by someone who read too much Dan Brown and Andrew Greeley? Well, the meeting truly happened. I happened to be one of the participants. Yesterday was the second Saturday of Wild Turkey season on St. Joseph’s Island, and what better day to shoot a St. Joe’s gobbler than the Feast of St. Joseph the Worker! So into the wilderness we trudged in Mossy Oak camouflage, shouldering 12 gauges and turkey decoys.
Of course our little hunting expedition had nothing to do with what was going on in Rome (except, perhaps, that someone who guts wild animals with his hands is probably unsuitable for eating pizza with knife and fork). But this story illustrates an important point in interpreting the Holy See’s statement and the LC/RC saga in general: It’s not just the truth that matters, but the context in which the truth is presented and how the truth is stated.
Having said that, let’s move on to a line-by-line commentary of the Holy See’s statement. The first thing to notice is the date – Feast of St. Joseph the Worker. I find this significant for several reasons. First, when the scandal first broke over a year ago, several orthodox Catholics on both sides of the debate committed to a perpetual novena to St. Joseph over the situation. Likewise, the statement comes at the end of a novena to St. Joseph the Worker for those who have been harmed by LC/RC. So I cannot think of a better sign from Our Lord that His foster father has played a leading role in this spiritual battle.
And what better saint than Joseph, second only to the Blessed Mother in holiness and heavenly honor? He is the protector of the universal Church and of virtue, which Maciel spent his life undermining. He is also protector of orphans, among which – spiritually – we find Maciel’s victims as well as rank-and-file LC/RC. So I have no doubt personally that St. Joseph will play an important role in the reconciliation that must take place between Catholics now that Pope Benedict has spoken.
Additionally, Regnum Christi is often compared as a movement to Opus Dei. As St. Josemaria Escriva use to say, “Don’t imitate me in anything except my love for St. Joseph.” Opus Dei is essentially built around the spirituality and charism of St. Joseph the Worker. So I also see this personally as a nod from St. Josemaria that he is assisting St. Joseph in his heavenly intercession, and those affiliated with Opus Dei are called to show charity toward their RC brethren during the road ahead. But again, this is mere speculation on my part.
On to the text of the letter, pieces of which I will blockquote followed by my personal commentary:

1… The Holy Father was present at one of the sessions, at which the visitors presented a summary of their reports, which had already been sent in.

It appears the Holy Father already had a game plan set out, and that the visitation was his way of assessing the plan’s viability.

The five visitors have told of the sincere welcome which they were given and of the constructive spirit of cooperation shown by the congregation and the individual religious. Even though each of them acted independently, they have come to substantial agreement in their assessment and to a common opinion. They testify to having met a great number of exemplary religious who are honest and talented, many of them young, who seek Christ with genuine zeal and are offering their entire lives to spread the Kingdom of God.

The Holy See believes there is enough good will among the rank-and-file to save the movement, or at least ease their transition back to normalcy.

2. The apostolic visit has been able to ascertain that the behavior of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion, such as to require a process of in-depth revision.

Confirmation that Maciel’s sins were not simply personal, but seriously influenced how LC was structured and how priests and seminarians within LC carried out their daily apostolate. What’s needed is more than cosmetic change or a few renovations. There are serious structural flaws.

The very serious and objectively immoral behavior of Father Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious sentiment.

Maciel was a criminal. His behavior was immoral. And his life is incompatible with the religious vocation. The Holy Father will kabosh any of the Legion’s reported plans to resurrect Maciel’s influence in the future.

The great majority of Legionaries were unaware of this life, above all because of the system of relationships built by Father Maciel, who had skillfully managed to build up alibis, to gain the trust, the confidence and the silence of those around him, and to strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

Most LC were unaware of Maciel’s double-life (meaning some were aware). However, their lack of awareness was in part due to Maciel’s corrupt methodology that he built into the movement.

Not infrequently, the lamentable discrediting and dismissal of whoever doubted his behavior was upright, as well as the misguided conviction of those who did not want to harm the good that the Legion was doing, created around him a defense mechanism that made him untouchable for a long time, making it very difficult to know his real life.

Those who suspected the truth were hampered by the methodology of Maciel’s movement.

a) the need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving its true core, that of the “militia Christi” that characterizes the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church and is not the same as prizing efficiency at any cost;

The Legion’s charism, as currently understood by the movement, is too clouded in utilitarianism to be an actual charism. However, there are some elements to this understanding that may be extractable, in which case they can provide the nucleus for a real understanding of charism.

b) the need to review the exercise of authority, which must be joined to the truth, to respect the conscience, and develop itself in the light of the Gospel as authentic ecclesial service;

Authority must be used at the service of conscience and truth, not to hide the truth and violate conscience.

5. The Holy Father wishes to assure all Legionaries and members of the Regnum Christi Movement that they will not be left on their own: The Church is firmly resolved to accompany them and help them on the path of purification that awaits them. It will also mean dealing sincerely with all of those who, within and outside the Legion, were victims of sexual abuse and of the power system devised by the founder: They are in the Holy Father’s thoughts and prayers at this time, along with his gratitude to those of them who, even in the midst of great difficulties, had the courage and constancy to demand the truth.

The Holy See will help LC through this period of purification and reform. However, his primary concern is for Maciel’s victims of sexual abuse, followed by gratitude toward those who withstood persecution from the Legion to help bring to light the truth of Maciel’s double-life and the Legion’s methodology. The road to authentic reform lay through the movement facing the fact their critics were right, and offering their victims sincere restitution.

6. The Holy Father, in thanking the visitors for the sensitive task they have accomplished with skill, generosity, and profound pastoral sensitivity, reserves to himself…

Pope Benedict is thanking the visitators for their help and suggestions, but ultimately what action follows will be the Pope’s decision and responsibility.

…the task of soon instructing how this assistance will be organized, beginning with the appointment of his delegate and a commission to study the Legion’s constitutions.

The Pope will appoint a delegate to oversee the Legion, as well as a commission to oversee the restructuring of the Legion’s constitutions.

The Holy Father will send a visitor to the consecrated members of the Regnum Christi Movement, who have insistently requested this.

Okay, this 3gf thing is a lot more serious than we imagined initially. Otherwise we would have included it in the apostolic visitation of LC, or that of the women religious in the U.S. On a positive note, it’s the women themselves who have requested it, meaning they recognize something is deeply flawed in their structure.

7. Finally, the Pope renews his encouragement to all the Legionaries of Christ, to their families, and to all the laypeople involved in the Regnum Christi Movement, during this difficult time for the congregation and for each of them. He urges them not to lose sight of the fact that their vocation, which originates in Christ’s call and is driven by the ideal of being witnesses of his love to the world, is a genuine gift from God, a treasure for the Church, and the indestructible foundation on which each of them can build their own future and that of the Legion.

Interesting. He does not say that their vocation is to the Legion or Regnum Christi. But rather that their vocation is a foundation upon which the Legion can be rebuilt.


  1. Good post. Slight correction to “As St. Josemaria Escriva use[d] to say, “Don’t imitate me in anything except my love for St. Joseph.” Actually, St Josemaria said he preferred to be imitated only in his love for Our Lady, not St Joseph, whom he did refer to as “my Father and Lord.”

  2. This comment of yours hit me like a ton of bricks because it so succinctly describes what has been going on.
    “Authority must be used at the service of conscience and truth, not to hide the truth and violate conscience.”
    As you know, I left RC a year ago. It was only 2 months ago that I fully processed the truth that I went against my own conscience. This is why just “waiting for the Holy Father” is not going to heal anyone. We must all come to personal conclusions about our behavior and our complicity in continuing the deception. And then cling to God’s mercy. And make Reparation.
    Thank you for everything, Pete!

  3. Why did you leave out point 4c? That was the most crucial and confusing part of the communique and I was looking forward to your take on it.

  4. Skulking – thanks for the correction. I have heard both the Blessed Mother and St. Joseph used in this story about St. Josemaria.
    Anonymous – I believe the most crucial part of the communique was point number 5, where the Holy Father assures Legionaries and Regnum Christi members that the Church will help them through this crisis, but that the path to reform lay through honest recognition and restitution to the victims who bravely brought forward the allegations.
    That being said, I agree with you that 4c was the most confusing part of the communique. The reason I did not comment on it is because I’m still praying and discerning its meaning. In very broad generalities, I think the Pope may be saying that young people in the movement have a sincere passion for Christ. Therefore, we must be careful in how we approach this issue with them pastorally, as the scandal of Maciel’s life could very easily destroy the faith of these young people.

  5. Pete, thank you for your insightful commentary.
    I took the “indestructible foundation” phrase as referring to the Church. Here is the paragraph again as sent to the RC members of our section, which – to me anyway – makes this reference more clear:
    “Finally, to all Legionaries of Christ, their families, committed lay people in the Regnum Christi movement, the Holy Father renews his encouragement during this difficult time for the Congregation and each one of them. He urges them not to lose sight that their vocation, which originated from Christ’s call and is animated by the ideal to witness his love to the world, is a true gift from God, a treasure for the Church, the indestructible foundation on which to build their personal future and that of the Legion.”
    I admit there is some ambiguity w/r/t this paragraph. I see a couple of different interpretations. Just wanted to make sure you had the one provided by the Legion itself.

  6. Also, for the Legionaries, wouldn’t the Vocation that’s indestructible also be the priesthood?
    They’re priests forever, in the line of Melchizadek, even if the Legion was just a handfull of dried leaves disguised as gold….

  7. Thanks Pete, loved the intro.. I have two thoughts
    1. The consecrated women, as Giselle has pointed out, are by far the most unprotected of the bunch. I just cannot get my head around how the Church permits this informal process of making promises with no real time limit, with little or no protection for what happens when and how they leave, or what processes were respected for departures. Also they in theory were to be occupying a whole range of apostolic ventures, and in the end they leave them with 90% work with girls clubs, nothing else.
    2. Vocation and charism is the most confusing part of the communique for those wanting it all over in absolute terms.
    Certainly these are the most painful terms to manage for those in and out. Yet, I would propose that the confusion can come from the fact that they are using more a scalpel here rather than an ax, and they are descending ever so gradually to make certain key separations. Go too fast, use a blunt knife, and you could take out a vital organ or two…
    Is not that ideal and calling in Christ the most critical reality to our spiritual and emotional health? Would not damaging it, using “no vocation here- its a waste” unwittingly, as the beating boy, above all in the young, not put many on the occasion personal of ruin? Re-founding the genuine “why” of the initial attraction to commit to Christ in the midst of the circumstance around the LC, back to Christ himself and in the company of the whole Church, is that first step to maturing out of the past and not be twisted in knots by all the lies, all the MM and LC corruption. It is not a sophism, if one is at the same time de-legitimizing the notion of charism in LC, which they are in fact doing.
    The Vatican statement reads to me that no one should lose confidence in the fact that original desire to give oneself to Christ was real (which may or may not have originated in LC/RC circumstances). No one should doubt that this call to belong to Him is a genuine work of the HS, and ABOVE ALL, one need not look to MM or LC/RC for its justification. Hence the emphasis re-grounds all the good of their past back in Christ and his Church, so that each one can just move on, seeing the LC fiasco as a mere stage to get to where Christ wants them to be now (A future that is purified of all the communique notes.) Confide in the Christ who attracted and still attracts you, not in the faulty charism that incorporated you.
    If I got this right, it is absolutely a brilliant path of healing, change, transition to other places that will not end up littering the chain of departures and sincere reformers with a bunch of embittered lost souls… Christ is calling, its real and the Church is with you- do not waste your time thinking that this subjective dimension of your call was ever a lie and NOR does it rise and fall on LC/RC, it’s a defective means, move on.(or you can try and fix it).. Well I think this is what is meant, if so, I love it!

  8. Regarding that zeal, I’d agree it is an easily overlooked sticking point… Zeal for Christ, good. Certain (hopefully nonessential) elements of zeal that play right into Legionesque evil, bad. The whole reason I’ve been following this story is that I had a nagging doubt something was wrong with my manner of zeal (I’ve never been involved with the Legion, but a friend was interested in it, he and I shared this zeal and the Legion appears also to run on it — so, it’s like combining an out-of-body experience with self-reflection, if that makes any sense). I think I’ve ultimately figured out what was twisted in it and can begin purifying my zeal for Christ. Whether the Vatican can issue a statement with 100% accuracy on any matter, and whether this matter will be the flawed piece in a generally good statement? I’ve seen too many plausible arguments both ways to believe anything but time can tell.

  9. There needs to be more transparency in the Church and healing. As is the case of members of LC/RC, I know that rank and file OD members are well meaning, and I wish them well. Pete, you were so forceful in your words against the Legion over the last many months (justly so, in my opinion). But can you please now answer the following questions regarding “Opus Dei” that you seem to promote so one much?
    1) A lead canon lawyer working for Mexican victims of Fr Maciel, was an ex OD priest, Fr. Antonio Roqueñi (as per Berry). Considering how influential OD was at the Vatican at the time, why was Fr. Roqueñi stone walled at the Vatican?
    2) Navarro Valls, the OD Vatican spokes person under JP2, would not respond to queries by Berry at the time. Why?
    3) Another prominent OD Curia member, Cardinal Herranz, is on record to being against reporting of abuse to civilian authorities. Why? Was it to protect “good fruits” (e.g.: money and influence) that people like Maciel brought? Cardinal Somalo, who has OD family ties and is a strong supporter, is now implicated by Berry in receiving kickbacks. Isn’t this correct?
    4) What role canon lawyers like Herranz played in devising statues of these so called “movements”, including LC/RC and Opus Dei? These structures (e.g some call them spiritual Ponzi schemes) are designed to circumvent Canon law. Their “cleverness” would make the best Wall Street designers of credit default swaps blush with envy. Just look how prelature is defined, and what canons protect “Numeraries” (the answer: not much).
    5) Cardinal Hoyo, also a Curia major supported of OD during JP2, was applauded during his recent speech at the arch conservative Catholic university in Murcia, that has OD ties, for having congratulated a French bishop for not reporting an abusing priest in 2001. Do you also agree with Hoyo’s position?
    6) Don’t you agree that the word “Charity” in OD, as in LC 4th vow, was redefined as to mean almost exclusively not to criticize superiors? Just look at “the Way”, chapter 19, maxims 440-469. Also, please explain “Holy Coercion”?
    7) Doesn’t it look like OD and LC use the same double speak? One is only saved if one attempts to “seek sanctity in daily life”, by doing mundane “small things”, not even towards other humans, as long as one supports the movement. No more need to see the true suffering or joy in those that surround us, that Christ calls us to do every day. Also “Work of God” or “Opus Dei” is a universal Church term that we are all called to follow: it meant for centuries the prayer life of the Church. So explain how now there are 2 differerent “Opera Dei” in the Church, the Opus Dei of old or “Liturgy of the Hours”, and some new, very specific, quasi Gnostic/pantheistic, and from my perspective, self-serving spirituality? This kind of high-jacking of terms seems a way to use, and abuse our Faith, at the service of novel spiritualities, and not the other way around, as it should be. No?
    8) Why in the last week, we had OD priests (Fr John McCloskey and Fr. John Wauck) make general retrograde comments in the media, a la Fr Williams, or Fr Morris, in the name of the Catholic Church, without identifying that they are with OD?
    9) You are from Canada, simple due diligence would show that great abuse of OD members occurred not that long ago in some of your houses, something you are quiet about or consistently deny. Why not get to the truth? Is this why you are asking ex LC/RC members to “move forward”?
    10) Last summer, you questioned JP2’s canonization process. If JP2 is so flawed, including in his judgment of character, shouldn’t the speeded-up and irregular “canonization” of Escriva be also be put into question? From what I can see, there is no real evidence of true miracles to Escriva’s credit (the “healings” described can be explained medically, there are no biopsies to confirm diagnosis; in contrast to other Saints that had truly unexplained medical cures).
    I am not saying OD should disappear (although a change in names would be good). But the role of OD, and other similar groups (like LC), in the corruption at the Holy See over the last 2-3 decades, needs to be accurately examined. This will require an independent, Holy See approved, serious (e.g: transparent) commission. Not finger pointing a la Cardinal Schonborn. The role of Canon Law, it’s under use or abuse, and involvement of lay in the canon law process is also something that needs to be open for scrutiny. Lots of prayers for the Pope and the Church.
    An example of “Charity” as defined by Escriva: “457 Who are you to pass judgment on the decision of a superior? Don’t you see that he is better fitted to judge than you? He has more experience; he has more capable, impartial and trustworthy advisers; and, above all, he has more grace, a special grace, the grace of state — God’s light and his powerful aid.”
    ..and this is a “lay” movement??

  10. I agree with Anonymous 3:21pm, having left the LC before ordination after 12 years (of my own volition and agreement of my superiors, and for the simple reason I realized I was not called the priesthood).
    The key is the difference between the vocation – calling and the “charism” of the LC in which many ended up in the LC trying to answer it. In my own case, it meant 12 years of honestly trying to follow in what was really not a priestly vocation, and much less the LC. Nevertheless, I still have the core vocation of the loving Christ, witnessing to him, and trying to show others his love.
    Thus, I think the confusion stems from a slightly inaccurate translation of the Italian (which I assume to be the original):
    c) la necessità di preservare l’entusiasmo della fede dei giovani, lo zelo missionario, il dinamismo apostolico, per mezzo di un’adeguata formazione. Infatti, la delusione circa il fondatore potrebbe mettere in questione la vocazione e quel nucleo di carisma che appartiene ai Legionari di Cristo ed è loro proprio.
    c) the need to preserve young people’s enthusiasm of faith, the missionary zeal, the apostolic dynamism, through appropriate formation. Indeed, disappointment about the founder could call into question the core of this vocation and charism that belongs and is specific to the Legionaries of Christ.
    The English says “call into question the core of this vocation and charism…”, whereas the Italian literally says “call into question the vocation and that nucleus (rendered “core” in English) of a charism…”.
    There are two differences here. First: the word “core” in English modifies vocation and charism. In Italian, however, “quel nucleus” only modifies the core of what would be the true charism of the LC, which, as stated in 4 a) needs to be refined.
    Second, in Italian the “la vocazione”, as I understand it, refers to the personal vocation of the young people mentioned in the previous sentence, for example, as when one says in English, “The vocation of each seminarian to the priesthood” or “the vocation of each young Catholic is…” The English, however, has linked vocation and charism by saying “this vocation and charism”, which in my mind, is not justified by the text, especially seeing that in Italian “nucleo (core) has its own modifier “quel”, which, being in masculine third person singular, clearly does not include “vocazione”.
    Consequently, the English mistakenly links “this vocation and charism”, when at minimum it should say “their vocation (i.e. young people’s) and the nucleous of that (whatever it may be) charism specific to the LC.

  11. Thanks Pete – your coverage of this over the last year was a huge help for me to assist the scales from falling from my eyes.
    Any new RCs looking at this should go back in time on this blog and you will learn alot about the pains of the methodology that Maciel created and that hurt many people.

  12. Is there any canonic difference between a delegate and a commissary? I have been told by a Legionary that a delegate is only a permanent link between Alvaro Corcuera and Vatican. This would mean that we cannot expect further changes in Legion’s hierarchy. Is this correct?

  13. Re: the need to preserve young people’s enthusiasm of faith, the missionary zeal, the apostolic dynamism
    This segment is a problematic element of this communique for me. My concern is that the AVs have seen this enthusiasm and zeal as a good thing, not knowing what they are being enthusiastic and zealous about.
    If a group of young people get together at, say Holy Week, and gather in a big square, shouting “Scientology ROCKS!! Scientology forever!!” we would be understandably horrified. Yes, it is great to see young people gather in a positive manner. But it better be in the name of the something good, and true.
    RC gathers youth together, but it is a zealous and enthusiastic gathering of youth, tantamount to shouting “RC ROCKS!! RC forever!!” What is the point of that? They pay lip service to Christ, but their LOVE of the movement clouds their love of Christ.
    Unfortunately, imo, the AVs have taken at face value the claims of RCs that these gatherings of youth are ALL in the name of Christ. I disagree. It is in the name of the movement, and the terminology they use is “Kingdom”. Christ’s Kingdom may mean one thing to Abp Chaput, but to RCs, they are always talking about the Kingdom of LC/RC.
    So if Chaput hears “Christ’s kingdom” he thinks “a good thing”.
    To us, who were in RC, we know, “Kingdom”means “the movement”.
    To gather this all together, my point is that these youth who zealously gather together do so for the purpose of drawing people to join RC, so they can grow RC, and then when they grow RC, they’ll have more people to go out and find more people to grow RC.
    RC is not the Church. RC is not the Kingdom of Christ. It exists to grow itself and it wraps itself in, and gains credibility from the Church – Adoration, Confession. They promote so much Adoration and Confession, two GREAT things, I’m NOT knocking it, but they use these 2 things to gain credibility, and draw ZEALOUS and ENTHUSIASTIC youth to the growth of – yes, you guessed it – the MOVEMENT!
    My fear is that the RCs have told the AVs how great they are, and the AVs have bought it.

  14. Pete: thank you for your work. Could you review exactly what a charism is? My understanding is that a charism must come through a person: it is a gift God gives to a specific person through whom we can discover a way to belong to and live the Church. Put another way, if life in the Church is like speaking a language, a charism is like an accent you take on in learning to speak that language. If MM’s life was “devoid of scruples and of genuine religious sentiment” does this mean that he in fact had no charism? And if so, through whom–what person–has the charism of LC/RC been given? I’m confused about what it means, after all that has been discovered and said, to continue to say that LC/RC is a charism.

  15. “But the role of OD, and other similar groups (like LC), in the corruption at the Holy See over the last 2-3 decades, needs to be accurately examined. This will require an independent, Holy See approved, serious (e.g: transparent) commission. Not finger pointing a la Cardinal Schonborn. The role of Canon Law, it’s under use or abuse, and involvement of lay in the canon law process is also something that needs to be open for scrutiny.” (ATK, above)
    I would be particularly interested in Canon Law norms around confidentiality and spiritual direction. For example, what canonical protections are there for a person who is required (in his or her desire to fulfill the norms and customs of a group to which he or she belongs) to regularly confide in lay person, in the event that confidentiality is breached? Is a breach of confidentiality in this circumstance an ex-communicable offence, like that of breaking the seal of the confessional? Or how does Canon law deal with the idea of spiritual direction being defined as coming from a prelature and not from one person, as such?

  16. ATK’s comment above is packed with what I believe are either false or irrelevant innuendo about Opus Dei and its role in the supposed “corruption of the Holy See.”. This is the game that conspiratorial nut cases routinely play, in which the Holy See is under the control of some all-powerful group within the Church. Opus Dei’s arrival on the scene has relieved the pressure on the Society of Jesus, who formerly assumed that role.
    Cardinal So-and-so is “known to be close” to the Bogeyman Society. He spoke at one of their events! Cardinal So-and-so allegedly did something wrong. Ergo the Bogeyman Society has much to answer for.

  17. “I would be particularly interested in Canon Law norms around confidentiality and spiritual direction.”
    I do not know canon law but I think one should expect complete confidentiality in letter and spirit from a priest in spiritual direction. If a priest gives anecdotes and information without mentioning names when the identity can easily be deduced, I think it is unethical especially if this happens habitually in a Movement or if done for certain purposes. Are there standards for this?

  18. “I do not know canon law but I think one should expect complete confidentiality in letter and spirit from a priest in spiritual direction. ”
    But what of spiritual direction that is defined as coming from the prelature as a whole (such as in Opus Dei), involving regular confidential chats with a lay person? What are the canonical norms for this?

  19. Simon, the questions posed are real ones. Can you please try to answer them point by point, instead of saying negative generalities? Also Pete, the Canon law questions posed above are good ones, any answers?

  20. Had the privilege to visit the shrine of our Lady of Gaudalupe last week !
    She , who is our Mother can also be called Mother of exorcism , to deal with the hatreds and evil that come into many hearts these days , spreading over like vast dirty spills !
    Let us ask her and help her, to strike at such evils in the heads, hearts and passionate appetites of many , to trample on all these areas , the head, the heart , the abdomen fill us all instead with the saltiness of purity ,the light and mercy of true love to flow through her hands and heart!
    Waiting for spiritual direction from priests alone may not be speedy enough for many for our times !
    A gentle stepping motion, a grateful Hallel , with every step , on the evil that prevailed or still does in all those parts ..and the whole body is in prayer – such as while sitting in a long plane ride or even with every step ..tap ..tap..tap ..hallelujaa..halleleu .
    to our Father set us and our loved ones free ..from all passions and impurities bring in the power of The Spirit let us soar like the doves …
    may be even to bring the power of The Spirit , over that slick spill too ..
    Wondering if they could move large cargo ships in there , pump all that in, to be moved into the caverns, to be purified later and that all spirtual means – Holy Mass and Adoration on ships around , blessed salt are all used !
    Was there terrorism involved !
    Well, the slick media had to divert the tarring game plan against the Holy Father and The Church for now !
    Like those oil choked birds that want to be set free, may many who are caught up in sexual vices too be set free ..tap ..tap tap…hallelujau ..halleleu

  21. anonymous,
    I’m not the canonist but I’m sure Pete will chime in. My understanding is that most people get the spiritual direction they need from a priest during confession (where the seal of the confessional is in force). Sometimes, people want more spiritual direction so they request it from a priest (usually/often? a priest they’ve had good sd from in confession, I think). I don’t know if the priest would have to give testimony in court, something he’d heard in sd, but the topics usually flow from confession so much of the direction would be more or less covered by the seal of the confessional.
    You can confide in a layperson all you want, but you’re running the risk that she’d blab. The Catholic Church won’t stop you from confiding in any number of blabbermouths, but I don’t know why anyone would agree to be forced to confide in a lay blabbermouth you don’t know very well, just to remain a member of a certain club*.
    Due to the risk of abuse, it’s generally not a good idea for a minor to receive sd anywhere except from a priest during confession; in fact, Archbishop O’Brien has banned the LC/RC from giving sd to minors.
    *Any “club” one might join is NOT necessary for salvation: not Regnum, not LoM, not OD, not KofC, not CCW, not Divine Mercy.

  22. And another thing!-
    The scenario where a layperson presents herself to a minor as a confidante, without being solicited by the child or her parents, raises all sorts of red flags, VIRTUS-wise; it is most certainly red flag behavior with respect to the child safety policies now in place in US dioceses. Even if the confidences are never betrayed, even if the layperson gives sound counsel, the child has become accustomed to a dangerous situation and is more likely to go along with this behavior the next time.
    In Regnum Christi, there are many many reports of confidences betrayed to the spiritual director’s superiors; it seems to be an M.O. And there are many many reports of children being encouraged to keep secrets from their parents, to the extent that parents and children are disturbed enough to report it. (If you think this isn’t important, then you don’t understand Catholic teaching on a parent’s primary role in a child’s formation.)

  23. “the need to redefine the charism of the Legionaries of Christ…”
    Is the Pope stating that they have a charism?
    Cardinal Rode said….“Religious life, being a gift of the Holy Spirit for each religious and the Church, depends especially on fidelity to its origins, fidelity to the founder and to the particular charism. Fidelity to this charism is essential, because God blesses faithfulness, while he ‘resists the proud.’ The complete rupture of some with the past, therefore, goes against the nature of a religious congregation and in essence, leads to the rejection of God,” he said.
    I guess he is working this backwards. If the charism does not originate from God, then it can be redefined at any point?

  24. I think ATK askes some very pertinent questions.
    I am not in favor of anyones quicky cannonization – JP2 or “Saint” de Balaguer.
    I am very glad for the work that Pete, Giselle, Landon and others have done to help individuals and the church recover from reg/leg. Thank you all.

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