Rules of blogging: There are certain subjects which attract massive numbers of comments. Liturgy. Immigration Policy. Catholics and political life. The Legionaries of Christ.
Last week, the Archbishop of Baltimore sent a letter to the Superior General of the LC regarding his expectations of the Legion in the Archdiocese. The text of the letter is here, on the Archdiocesan website.
The gist of the letter is that the Legion and its lay arm, Regnum Christi, must provide to the Archdiocese exact and specific accounts of its apostolates. Who is doing what and where. By June 30.
In addition, the letter addresses questions of vocation recruitment and spiritual direction, especially to persons under the age of 18.
This is very interesting because anyone who has followed both LC and RC over the years knows that these are precisely the areas (well, besides the issues related to its founder – whose death, I would like to remind folks, was never publicly commented on by the Pope or the Vatican – unheard of regarding the death of the founder of a religious order or important “new movement.” ) which have caused controversy in many areas of the country: questions about vocations recruitment, about the groups’ impacts of relationships in families, as well as questions about apostolates presenting themselves without making it clear that they are efforts of LC/RC.
I have met a good number of Regnum Christi members who lead exemplary Catholic lives and see this movement as a God-send. But I also am well aware of the challenges that have led a number to leave the movement, some angrily insisting that Church authority must act to correct the excesses they claim have endured. Hence, the dialogue these last five and more years.
At a meeting last week between the Superior General of the Legion and our staff, it was agreed that he would appoint a liaison to oversee the activities of Regnum Christi and keep our Chancery and appropriate pastors fully informed. This includes programs and methods of vocation recruitment. (The text of the full letter agreed to can be found on our own website, http://www.archbalt.org.)
For some time I have wondered whether the flaws of the Legionary movement were endemic to the movement itself. By this final step, I hope to have been proved wrong.
May the goal of all who are involved be guided by the counsel of Pope Benedict in his address to a worldwide gathering of “Ecclesial Movements and New Communities” in 2006. He stated that the Church “… is also grateful for you for your readiness not only to accept the active directives of the Successor of Peter, but also of the Bishops of the various local Churches who, with the Pope, are custodians of truth and charity in unity. I trust in your prompt obedience … [The] Movements must approach each problem with sentiments of deep communion, in a spirit of loyalty to their legitimate Pastors.”
I am particularly grateful to present and former members of Regnum Christi, to the priests and leadership of the Legion, as well as to our own priests and Chancery staff whose concerns have led to what I pray will be a graced path forward that addresses our concerns and leads to the best service for all God’s people.