Friday, July 15, 2011

Father Luis Garza, LC, to head the new "Legion Territory of North America"

July 15, 2011. In response to a proposal by the directors of the Atlanta and New York territories, the Legion has created the new Territory of North America. Father Luis Garza, vicar general of the Legion from 1992 to the present, has been named territorial director, effective August 1.

It seems to me that this is a classic Vatican-style political move. Garza resigns as Vicar General of the Legion in order to take control of the new “Legion Territory of North America” which has conveniently been created by consolidating the operations formerly headquartered in New York and Atlanta. That way, he is removed from his key position in Rome, to accept a new, "important" assignment without “losing face.” Meanwhile, the former territorial directors, Fr Julio Martí and Fr John Connor, are moved aside.

Fr. Connor, especially, stuck me as one of the few senior Legionaries who demonstrated a practical, almost humble, approach to the Maciel scandal. At a fundraising event for the Legion at the Waldorf Astoria several months ago, he was the only one of many LC speakers, who openly acknowledged the 800 pound gorilla in the room - the awful scandal caused by Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries. It remains to be seen if this move is also designed to manage internal dissent in the United States. 

While Fr. Garza has formidable skills, management experience and powerful connections to contribute to his new job, I suspect that this is really a transitional move designed to begin the process of dismantling current senior LC leadership. Fr. Garza can claim not to have been demoted. He will initiate serious damage control in the all important territory of the United States. His prestige, especially back in his native Monterrey, will not be perceived to be diminished. 

Fairly predictable Vatican politics. It just took longer to happen than I expected. Look our for similar moves in the near future.


Anonymous said...

Monk, I think you are right about Fr John Connor. How do you think American LCs will respond to this move? I was under the impression that American LCs were pinning some of their hope for reform on his leadership in the region.

Anonymous said...

I thought you might like to know about an interesting post this week on These Stone Walls regarding the Legionaires' founder. Here is the link:

poman said...

An interesting interview with Fr. Garza in the Register. He did offer his resignation several times, so one cannot accuse him of not doing so. He also doesn't sound like he is trying to get away from saying he wasn't demoted. While he doesn't come right out and say "demoted", he certainly seems open to the move away from his current position.

While the Vatican's moves may be frustrating from a human point of view, I still trust that God has his hand in the process and things are unfolding for the best.

Anonymous said...

Jack, what are your thoughts about the "disappearance" of Integer; see el Trastevere or LARC. Would love if you would comment, as an exLC, as a management consultant, and as one familiar with this sad scandal.

Anonymous said...

The shadow...

Anonymous said...

It is obvious that the apostolic delegate didn't write the statement about the dissidents, but just read a prepared statement - it was well researched by people in their General Direction and Card. Velasio is looking more like a puppet under the control of Fr. Alvaro than someone who is captain of the ship. His mission is showing itself to be less and less about a total reform and re-launch of a new LC and more about creating a protective shell around their top leadership. What advantage to the reform is it to protect those who surrounded Fr. Maciel with money, coverup and saintly fame when they knew he was hardly the saint - he didn't pray, celebrate Mass, live the rule, live his religious vows (violating his vow of poverty was an "in your face" kind of thing), etc, etc? His conclusion is that the superiors deserve the complete trust of the Legionaries simply because they are superiors as if they haven't already proven that they are completely undeserving of that trust.

The second point about controlling the internet of the "dissidents" is like sending grown men to kindergarten. The LCs under Fr. Maciel had every aspect of their life controlled - letters were read, phone calls were controlled and monitored, every moment of their day planned out, what they say, what they read, where they went, what they eat. The novices couldn't read newspapers, the religious were allowed one or two sections of a local paper, but with pictures, articles, advertisements cut out by the superior. Whenever a negative report went out in about the Legion, RC or Fr. Maciel, immediately there was a conference given by the superior about evil people doing damage to God's plan. Fr. Maciel even wrote a letter (posted on the bulletin board) in which he swore before Jesus in the Tabernacle and before the Blessed Virgin Mary that he never did any of the terrible things that others said he did. A note above the letter stated that all were ordered to read the letter but were not allowed to comment on it to anyone.

I think at this point the writing is on the wall. The obedient "many" cave into the "reform" decisions of the few at the top. The Cardinal does his bit to make sure there are no internal hurdles as they close out any communication windows offered by the internet. The mail and phone calls are already monitored so those nasty "dissidents" are forced to cave or leave. This leaves the road open for the few at the top to "reform" the LC as they wish and to get B16's approval to whatever it is they had already planned on a long time ago. It is a shame that someone so used to checking accountability has become a tool of those who refuse to be accountable. If transparency and accountability are the new axles of the Church's mission, then this little car called LC is on the wrong road.

The Monk said...

Thanks for all the comments. I've been too busy to post. I had seen Fr. Gordon McRae's remarks on these Stone Walls. I find his case disturbing and his comments always pertinent. Anyone interested in justice and the peculiar situation of priests should follow his blog.

With regard to the imminent dissolution of the Integer Group as reported on some other blogs, I take the information with a grain of salt.

As far as I know, Integer was organized by Fr. Garza L.C. to organize the "lay" employees of the Legion of Christ. This involved aspects of human resources management, payroll, educational policies(for the schools,) and, no doubt, financial oversight. I don't subscribe to the conspiracy theories that ascribe dark motives to the initiative although I believe Integer oversight was resented at the local level in some of the Legion's institutions.

It stands to reason that, in the process of Legionary reform, the role of Integer will have to be re-examined and the enterprise reorganized. Apart from the after effects of the Maciel scandal, most of the Legionary institutions must be suffering from the effects of the world-wide recession. So, I don't think it's a big deal that they are re-organizing. I would be surprised and worried if it sailed along untouched by the aftershocks of the scandal and by current economic conditions. I hope if there are layoffs that all employees will be treated with justice and charity. (Track record in this area is not so good!)

The Delegate's reference to "dissidents" is unfortunate. From the outside, Cardinal De Paolis doesn't seem to exhibit the sense of forceful leadership that many of us would like to see. However, I've heard from reliable inside sources that the changes are real and relentless. Some internal skeptics seem to have changed their tune with regard to the Delegate. That's encouraging. Time will tell....

Meanwhile, I think we are seeing "typical" Vatican processes in action. The Church takes the "long" view which can be quite infuriating in these times of turmoil.