Friday, July 23, 2010

Vatican details the parameters of the Delegate’s authority in the reformation of the Legionaries of Christ

July 23, 2010. Rome, Italy. The Legionaries of Christ have published an unofficial  translation of the Vatican Decree which gives details about how the Delegate to the Legion, Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, is expected to accomplish the task of examining and reforming the Congregation. The Decree, issued by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, with the Holy Father’s approval was given to the the general council of the Legionaries of Christ on July 21, 2010. The original Italian text can be read here,


I. In his letter of June 16, 2010, Pope Benedict XVI:

- appointed His Excellency Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, CS, Titular Archbishop of Telepte and President of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as his Delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ;

- conferred on him the responsibility of governing this religious institute in his name “for as long as it takes to complete its path of renewal and lead it to the celebration of an extraordinary general chapter, whose main purpose will be to bring to completion the revision of the Constitutions”;

- considered the “need and urgency of a path of in-depth revision of the Institute’s charism” and expressed his “desire closely to accompany, sustain, and guide this process” through his own personal Delegate for that Religious Family, who would both be a concrete sign of his closeness and act in his name;

- left for a specific Decree “some further modalities regarding the fulfillment of this Office”.

II. Now, by this Decree, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, Secretary of State, issues the following specifications and instructions approved by the Supreme Pontiff regarding the modalities in which the Papal Delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ will fulfill his Office:

1. The broad authority granted by the Holy Father to the Papal Delegate, to be exercised in the name of the Supreme Pontiff himself, covers the entire institute. It extends over all the superiors at the various levels (general, provincial, and local), all communities, and the individual religious. This authority regards all the problems proper to the religious Institute and the Delegate may always exercise it when in his judgment it is necessary for the good of the institute itself, even overruling the Constitutions.

2. The superiors of the Institute at every level exercise their authority according to the Constitutions and under the authority of the same Papal Delegate. Therefore, they remain in their positions, ad nutum Sanctae Sedis, unless it becomes necessary to provide otherwise.

3. The Institute’s superiors are to act in communion with the Papal Delegate. He is to be informed of the life of the institute, in particular the most important matters, and in addition, only he can approve the decisions of the general government itself: decisions regarding persons (admission to novitiate, profession, priesthood; appointment and transfer of personnel); apostolic and formation choices (seminaries, academic institutions, schools), and extraordinary administrative matters or the disposal of assets.

4. If necessary, the Delegate himself may act firsthand or indicate the decision to be made in specific instances.

5. Everyone has open access to the Delegate and all can deal personally with him. The Delegate, in turn, has the power to intervene wherever he sees fit, including in the internal government of the Institute, on all levels.

6. As he goes about his task, the Delegate will have four personal advisors to aid him in carrying out his work according to the circumstances and possibilities. These aides may be assigned specific tasks, particularly visits ad referendum. With their help, the Papal Delegate will identify, discuss, and clarify the principal topics as they arise during the process he is called to lead.

7. Whenever it becomes evident that certain topics, regarding either persons or things, need to be studied more deeply, the Papal Delegate may appoint study committees using either personnel internal to the Congregation of the Legionaries or competent external persons.

8. At his own discretion, when it seems opportune or necessary, he may select someone other than his advisors to study a point or make a visit ad referendum.

9. The paramount task of the Papal Delegate is to initiate, accompany, and complete the revision of the Constitutions. This implies a profound knowledge of the Congregation of the Legionaries, their history and development. All members of the Institute must collaborate in the revision of the Constitutions, both as individuals and communities, following a plan to be drawn up and activated from the outset. Therefore, a Commission for the revision of the Constitutions is to be created as soon as possible on the various levels of the Institute, with the participation especially of the members of the Institute itself, who must feel personally responsible for revising and rewriting their own plan of gospel living, always in harmony with the teaching of the Church. The president of the central Commission for the revision of the Constitutions will be the Papal Delegate himself.

10. The Papal Delegate coordinates the Apostolic Visitation to the Regnum Christi Movement, following the indication of the Holy See.

11. Appeals against acts of the superiors of the Institute will be directed to the Papal Delegate himself; regarding acts of the Papal Delegate, it will be possible to appeal to the Holy Father.

From the Vatican, July 9, 2010

Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone
Secretary of State


Anonymous said...

What a tragic mistake to keep the current leadership of the LC! They're "dead in the water"!!!

The Monk said...

Anonymous @ 5:46 PM.

Current leadership may be "dead in the water" as you say - just re-read the notes below from the powers accorded the Delegate. But I don't think a "tragic mistake" has been made.

The Delegate needs to get all the facts, while he probably gets ready to convene a General Chapter to revise Constitutions and appoint new leadership. This will be a slow process - we are talking about the Vatican here, not a conventional multinational corporation. My guess is that he will be guided mostly by pastoral concern and the dictates of evangelical Charity. Because of the amount of people (supporters, benefactors, Legionaries, members of the RC) involved not to mention the financial holding I think he'll tread softly.

I'm sure the process will take up to a year. Of course, no one knows for sure. However, as I said, take another look at the following and it's seems very clear as to who is actually in charge:

One of the 11 points outlined in the decree detailed “the broad authority” the papal delegate was granted over the entire institute, including the order’s superiors on the general, provincial and local levels. The delegate is allowed to “even overrule the constitutions” if deemed necessary for the good of the order. The order’s current leaders are to remain in their positions, “unless it becomes necessary to provide otherwise.”
The Legionaries’ leadership is to cooperate with the delegate and keep him informed of the life of the institute. All decisions concerning governance, the appointment of personnel, admission to the novitiate and the priesthood, formation decisions, important administrative matters, and “the disposal of assets” must be approved by the papal delegate.

What do you think?

Anonymous said...

I think that is a generalization to say that the current leadership, en massee, is "dead in the water". Unfortunately I find alot of that kind of language in discussions about this and find it hard to find objective comments and discussion. I understand that passions get inflamed around this situation, there is nothing wrong with that. But to make sweeping statements about a group of people is not helpful.

That is part of the tragedy of the whole situation. Fr. Maciel's sin has led to this kind of a reaction, which I totally understand, and he will be accountable for that as well. I think the challenge for any us, whether inside and outside of LC/RC, is to maintain charity, love and mercy in our thoughts and words. A difficult chore, to be sure, but one that we are all called to (to "put on the mind of Christ"). This never means that truth is excluded, but our words and hearts should match those of Christ in doing so.

Jack, I find you're blog very balanced and enjoy reading your postings. Thanks for being a good example to me.