Papal Delegate Says Legion's Lay Movement Has 'Many and Challenging' Issues

Cardinal De Paolis publishes a letter noting changes will be forthcoming to Regnum Christi.

(photo: Regnum Christi Facebook page)

VATICAN CITY (EWTN News/CNA)—Following a review of Regnum Christi, the lay movement affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, changes will be made in the way its consecrated laymen and women are overseen.

“It will be necessary to find an adequate configuration that corresponds to canon law, in order to better conserve, promote and develop this treasure,” said Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the pontifical delegate to the Legion, in a letter published Oct. 17 (dated Oct. 15).

Cardinal De Paolis was appointed last year to review the purpose and structure of the Legion after the Vatican concluded its investigation of the order’s late founder, Father Marcial Maciel.

In turn, Cardinal De Paolis charged Archbishop Ricardo Blázquez of Vallodolid, Spain, with carrying out an investigation into the life of consecrated laypeople in Regnum Christi.

A consecrated layperson is someone who, while not in holy orders, has committed to a life of apostolic poverty, chastity and obedience.

Between January and June 2011, Archbishop Blázquez met with many such members in a number of countries and also received evidence in writing.

Cardinal De Paolis said that the archbishop’s review found that “at a personal level, the consecrated members are grateful for their vocation” and live it “according to the evangelical counsels with joy,” rendering “a valuable service to the Church with their self-giving.”

However, he also said there were “issues regarding personal and community life” in Regnum Christi that are “many and challenging.”

He explained how the review revealed a “widespread desire among the consecrated persons for a proper autonomy,” which “consecrated persons should enjoy” within the Church.

While Archbishop Blázquez was not asked to provide concrete proposals on how to achieve this, Cardinal De Paolis said any reforms should certainly “involve responsibility on the part of the consecrated women and men in the organization and governance of their personal, community and apostolic lives.”

A key concern of his also seems to revolve around how the life of consecrated members of Regnum Christi corresponds to canon law, the internal code that governs life within the Catholic Church.

In his letter to the lay branch, he reminds the consecrated members of Regnum Christi of their rights under Canon 630. That is the canon law that gives them the freedom to choose their own confessor and spiritual director. It also permits them not to open their consciences to their superiors if they do not want to.

To this end, Cardinal De Paolis calls upon directors in Regnum Christi to “diligently provide” sufficient numbers of confessors to their members and specifies that “among these, there always be priests who do not belong to the Legion of Christ.”

He concluded by asking that any suggestions on how to reform consecrated life in Regnum Christi be sent to him so that that through a “path of personal and community reflection, in an environment of prayer, dialogue and respect,” he can help “bring to completion the beautiful reality of consecrated life in Regnum Christi in the Church.”

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