I think the Vatican understands that the Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi have done, and continue to do, a great deal of good. The Congregation, despite the disgraced founder, has been a conduit of saving grace for many thousands of adherents not precisely because of the work of Maciel but rather despite his reprehensible human flaws. They have achieved phenomenal success in varied apostolic endeavors during a relatively short period of time. The good they have done is from God and not from the founder.
Legionaries since very early on, guided by the entrepreneurial genius of Maciel the founder, learned to work with the best the Catholic Church had to offer – idealistic young men who wanted to be priests, generous young women willing to serve the Church, orthodox Catholic couples seeking a superior Christian education for their children. All of them dissatisfied, to some degree, by the lack of opportunity, organization, talent, and enthusiasm they found in their local parishes and schools.
Maciel the founder believed that Legionaries had much to learn from Communist recruitment techniques and motivational practices. He urged them to work harder and longer than the enemies of the Church. His message focused more on how to get things done. Slowly and imperceptibly methodology became more important than spirituality. For members, the how and why were one and the same.
The founder did a masterful job of keeping his vices secret and his double life diligently hidden from scrutiny. He encouraged his Legionaries and their recruits to preach and practice a totally orthodox spirituality founded on a personal relationship with Jesus Christ and loyalty to the Holy See. Thankfully, neither the Legion nor the Regnum Christi Movement replicated the duplicity or the personal vices of the founder of which, for the most part, they were unaware.
However, Maciel’s thinking and double life has sullied the methodology he bequeathed and has deformed the formation of the consciences of the members. The soon-to-be-appointed (Fall, 2010) Vatican delegate who will oversee the re-foundation of the Legion will be faced with the task of helping Legionaries and their adherents untangle Maciel’s twisted thinking from all that is orthodox in their formation. Thankfully, the Legionaries seem to be on-board with this task, promising obedient compliance with the Vatican clean up.