However, as a frequent business visitor to Mexico I can say that the vast majority of the "comments" I read on these blogs are vastly out of touch with public opinion (at least in Mexico City.) I work with business people and academics. On every visit I do my best to get a sense of people's opinions. My contacts range from CEOs to taxi drivers, to RC members and people who scarcely are aware of the Legion. I read the papers and watch TV.
My take is that the Legionary public relations efforts in Mexico have been well managed: full disclosure, immediately, to reputable reporters by spokespersons representing the LC/RC. Indeed, to my knowledge, no news outlet has been excluded. Reporters are given frequent briefings as their request or when there is a new "revelation." I can attest to this. That is, I think, why the Mexican press response, in general has been measured.
On the other hand, public relations has not been well managed (by the Legionaries) in Rome, Spain and the US as far as I can tell. I suspect they either do not have competent advisors or they do not listen to them. Hence a different response.
For instance, I now know the context in which Fr. Alvaro's infamous "e-mail warnings" letter was written - and how his message was grossly misinterpreted on the blogs and their comments. At worst, this was bad public relations management. Therein lies a caveat - one thing is inept public relations, another is wild speculation and judgment of his intent based on incomplete information and distorted speculation.
Based on what I hear in "informed" circles here is the anticipated outcome of the Vatican investigation:
- A special, extraordinary LC General Chapter will be convened.
- Current LC leadership will be replaced
- Governance will be entrusted to a Vatican designated "outsider."
- Constitutions, Rules, finances will be revised and reformed as needed
- Some new "scandals" may come to light (already know for the most part - but we may have official confirmation)
- The LC and RC will adhere to Vatican decisions; the good works will continue
- When the scope of Maciel's transgressions came to light (no one has ever seemed to have the "complete" picture - many knew of individual pieces of the puzzle) current LC leadership approached the Vatican, asking for help. In part, this resulted in the current Visitation. LC and RC have collaborated fully. no one seems to doubt full compliance with Vatican decrees and advice.
- There will be no massive exodus of LC priests.
I would add that the LC and Maciel are not well known in the United States. Hence the reaction there is quite different. In Mexico, the Congregation has had time to be known and trusted by Mexican public opinion. The works of apostolate that they have achieved are astounding in their impact and scope relative to the time frames. Despite the dismay and disgust with the revelations about the founder, I think the Mexican people has long experience distinguishing the message from the messengers. They have been betrayed by clerics, politicians and foreign governments throughout their long history. They know that not even all our Popes were "men of God." They are more inclined to follow the spirit rather than the letter of the law. This is very different to a more "fundamentalist" US approach. Mexicans choose the good and reject the evil because their faith is rooted in a deep spirituality. History has taught them to discern. They have long experience choosing to see God write straight on crooked lines. In the States, we have much to learn from the Mexican people - not the least of which is their long term perspective: this too shall pass.... In other words, the LC and RC will survive this crisis - renewed, chastened and reformed. What they do with their "second chance" is up to them. I, for one, wish them the best. The Church needs them.