One of the most senior leaders of the Legionaries of Christ has resigned from the order, saying he "did not have the necessary energy to confront the challenges" of his position.
Fr. Deomar De Guedes LC, second general counsellor of the order, submitted his resignation to Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, pontifical delegate of the Legionaries of Christ.
Cardinal De Paolis has been leading a reform of the Legion since revelations of grave abuse and corruption by its founder, Father Marcial Maciel, came to light.
In a statement, the order said Fr. De Guedes “had asked the pontifical delegate to be exclaustrated from the Legion, but Cardinal De Paolis granted him permission to resign “extra domum,” meaning Fr. De Guedes may reside outside of the religious community for one year.”
“The cardinal asked Fr. De Guedes to reevaluate his situation during that year in light of the new superiors who will be elected in the next General Chapter,” the statement added.
The General Chapter will begin on January 8, 2014 – a meeting the Legion says will be “an important step in the Legion’s renewal and purification process called for by Pope Benedict XVI and confirmed by Pope Francis.”
Fr. De Guedes had only been appointed second counsellor in February last year, but he headed the order’s activities in Spain during the 2000s.
Some observers believe the Brazilian priest’s resignation reflects badly on the reform process. They say it could mean he was so disturbed by what he saw that he wanted to leave the order completely, but was ultimately dissuaded to do so.
Fr. Sylvester Heereman LC, the acting general director of the Legion, said he respects Fr. De Guedes’ decision, and is grateful for his active collaboration in the process of renewing the Legion of Christ.
The order said that because of the fast approaching General Chapter, Fr. De Guedes won’t be replaced.