You can overcome past scandals, cardinal tells new Legionaries
Encouraging words to 31 newly ordained priests
- Catholic News Agency
- Vatican City
- December 23, 2013
Cardinal Velasio de Paolis told 31 new priests of Legionaries of Christ that their perseverance shows “the love of Christ” that can overcome the past scandals of their congregation and purify and renew it.
“You have suffered, and you have realized the suffering that other Legionaries – beginning with the founder – have caused in the lives of others. And the suffering of others has helped you to understand and carry your own suffering,” the cardinal said in his homily before the priestly ordinations Dec. 14 at the Basilica of St. John Lateran in Rome.
“By your decision and by your faithfulness, by your suffering and by bearing the shame of other Legionaries’ sins, you have enabled the purification and renewal of the congregation itself, and you have made it more beautiful in its service to Regnum Christi and to the Church,” he said, referring to the congregation’s lay association.
In 2006 Pope Benedict XVI removed the Legion of Christ’s founder Father Marcial Maciel from ministry and ordered him to spend the rest of his life in prayer and penance. The priest has been the subject of accusations that he sexually abused seminarians. He was also revealed to have led a double life in which he fathered children and allegedly abused some of them as well. Fr. Maciel died in 2008.
Cardinal de Paolis, a papal delegate overseeing the reform of the Legion, discussed the scandal and its aftermath in his homily.
“There was a moment in the Legion when sin oppressed it, when sin became so visible and clamorous that it reached monstrous proportions and filled the media throughout the world,” he said.
“The Legion’s survival seemed uncertain. The world looked at it with a pitiless gaze that uncovered the indigence and the shame. It was truly a difficult moment. For the Legionaries it was certainly an unpleasant and difficult time.”
The cardinal said that many Legionaries’ call to their congregation was “sorely tested,” with some feeling “lost and distrustful.”
“Some – fortunately only a few – have left.”
Those who remained, he said, did so “because they believe that they chose Christ, who did not betray them and can never betray them.”
Source: Catholic News Agency