Rorate Caeli

Pope repeals "secret vows" of the Legion of Christ


Excerpt of an article published yesterday by the Mexican daily La Jornada:

The derogation of the secret vows of the Legionaries.

The Pope has derogated the private vows of the Legionaries of Christ, precisely those which were used by the superiors of this religious congregation to protect themselves from possible complaints. The sources of news agencies indicate that these are "parallel measures" to the disciplinary penalty imposed on Marcial Maciel for sexual abuses in 2006.

Pope Benedict XVI had personally asked for the repeal of the private vows professed by the seminarians and priests of the Legionaries of Christ. These were oaths, related to the internal life of the order, which assured its secrecy and impermeability: the first [oath of "charity"] prevented any kind of criticism of superiors and their decisions by members, while the second [oath of "humility"] forbade the religious men from aspiring to positions within it.

50 comments:

Anonymous said...

Hail the Pope!

Anonymous said...

I hope that Benedict XVI will deal with the Jesuits as well.

Anonymous said...

And Opus Dei!

Anonymous said...

Why Opus Dei? What have they done? Do they have secret vows?

Anonymous said...

God bless the Holy Father!

Faith with reason, obedience with freedom, humility with critical sense!

Thank you, Your Holiness. God bless you, the holy Church, and all the legionaries of Christ.

Anonymous said...

The lay members of Opus Dei take no vows whatsoever. Vows are considered inconsistent with the spirit of the Work.

And, truth be told, not only the Holy Father, but in fact the Church as a whole has been relying on Opus Dei for several decades...both spiritually and materially.

This group was a gift of Divine Providence...sent to succor the Church during a very dark time...and to bring Her back to embrace the universal call to holiness.

Anonymous said...

Hopefully the Holy Father will look into a well known, but much smaller group in the hills of Florence, Italy. This group exercises a similar type of control over their members as well as an unhealthy "devotion" to their founder. Another man known more for his love of self/luxury/control than humility.

Anonymous said...

The Pope needs to deal with the Neocatechumenal Way and the Jesuits before he deals with anybody else.

Joe said...

Opus Dei always protests too much. I can't really think of anything Opus Dei has done except buy influence and scandalize the church.

Sure are a lot of agonized parents out there that have testified against them. And we're not talking about one or two here, as with saintly orders.

Anonymous said...

I would not want to criticize any group approved by the Church, but would just add that, knowing many fine young Legionaries as I do, they will continue to maintain their zeal for souls and the Holy Father through this time that must be difficult for them.

Anonymous said...

Joe, the founder of Opus Dei has been canonized and, unfortunately for your position, a canonization is an infallible pronouncement. It's amazing how much he suffered in and for the Church, and all he gets from people like you is the back of the hand.

Some parents always have (and I'm sure always will) object when their children make decisions with which the parents disagree...and among a certain breed of Catholic parent, a child embracing a lay vocation requiring celibacy is a "waste"...a priestly or religious vocation is so much more glamorous after all.

Petrus said...

The Holy Father has been dealing with the Neocatechumenal Way. Very soon after his consecration as Pope he made major changes to their "liturgy" and gave them one month to comply. I didn't hear about the follow up, but the initial letter was very direct and straightforward in what they needed to do in order to remain within the Church.

milanta said...

Benedict XVI must deal first with The Society of Saint Pius X because they're outsite the Church ;)

Anonymous said...

Quiero saber el nombre de la congregación de Florencia (Italia) a la que se refiere el mensaje del 14 de diciembre a las 00:09.
Por favor diganme todo lo que sepan de ellos.

Pietro d'Arezzo

Anonymous said...

God bless this Pope for putting authentic Catholic spirituality into pratice.

Such vows were false piety, since they ran counter to justice and to the duties of every catholic to seek the common good, which is greater than the good of any institute.

With this decision the Holy Father has clarified where he stands on the issue of priestly celibacy: chastity first, group cohesion second.

Br. Alexis Bugnolo

Stanislas said...

This group should be critically assessed. Although it was erected in 1944 in Mexico, it greatly deviated even after the Council into "neoconservative" "Catholicism". Like Opus Dei, which also is vehemently opposed to the Traditional Roman Rite, and its leaders even dare deny that Msgr. Escrivá himself continued to celebrate the Old Mass. To Opus Dei-leadership, all is about gaining momentum and power inside the Vatican City.

I am so glad that despite marginalization, discrimination and even outright hatred from fellow "Catholics", the traditional Roman Catholic societies who remained faithful to the true traditional Mass of the Roman Church, virtually only know sincere and open clergymen, without power struggles. Only look at Bishop Fellay: he is so open and mild towards everyone, and yet very traditional. Not the happy-pappy-liberalism of the Novus Ordo clergymen, but the joyousness of a Burgundian Swiss bishop of the Roman Catholic Church (yet to be assigned a titular see!).

Anonymous said...

I think this was a wise decision of the Pope, but the Jesuits and OPus Dei are greater problems.
The Jesuits, by their radical progressivism and deviations from their own tradition and that of the Church might very well have comitted collective suicide, and don't really need any Papal action. They very well might be beyond help.
In 1965, there were 36, 211 Jesuits in the world. There were over 4,000 Jesuit seminarians just in the USA!! Today, there are barely 18,800 Jesuits, and less than 200 Jesuit seminarians in the USA. The whole class of Jesuit "lay brothers", with world wide barely 1,000 members...is in danger of extinction. To be followed swiftly by the entire Order.
The average age of European and USA Jesuits is over 70. The Jesuits have closed 1,000 houses of their Order since 1980. Even in the Vatican, their numbers and influence is dying out.
So, perhaps no measures need be done about them.
Regarding Opus Dei, they should be forced to promote, and allow for the Tridentine Latin Mass.
Regarding the Neocatecumenical Way, there is evidence that they are not obeying the directives of the Pope. They, and the super-ecumenical "Foccolare" movement so beloved by Paul VI and John Paul II should be supressed outright. Both deviate from the Catholic Faith in many aspects, and present a false picture of the Church. Many of these "new movements" so loved by John Paul II are promoting a warped image of true Catholicism, and should be likewise supressed.
There are dozens of other religious Orders which need a purge/or housecleaning due to their radical progressive ideologies and agenda...but, considering that nearly all (especially the Orders of sisters), are suffering from the same symptoms as the Jesuits, or even worse, time might be the best judge for these groups. Their membership is so aged and so few, that in 5-10 years they will be gone.

Angela said...

Over the years, the Legionaries of Christ have borne good fruit. I believe the quote from the Bible says, "By their fruits you shall know them." I have known many of the priests and brothers. They are excellent examples of Christ-like behavior.

Anonymous said...

Stanislas:

I have a friend who is a numerary member of Opus Dei and lives in Switzerland. He has told me that after Summorum Pontificum promulgation -even before September 14th- the Tridentine Mas is celebrated three times per week in his center. I know that a similar pattern of behaviour is follow internally by Opus Dei practically worldwide.

Kind regards,

Anonymous said...

La congregación: Institute of Christ the King. Superior: Rev Gilles WACH

Anonymous said...

I wonder if it is too little too late!

Jeannette said...

Angela, You shouldn't ignore the fruit that the Legion doesn't put on display too. ReGAIN is a fruit of the LC; there have been several accusations of LC child molesters in Mexico in the past year; the three year old boy abused at Colegio de Oxford, and the current accusations at a Mano Amiga school are also fruits. Their lack of honesty when introducing Regnum Christi apostolates to our parish is unimpressive, as is their emphasis on fundraising and recruitment.

Orlando Furioso said...

I wouldn't be surprised if Opus Dei turns out to accept the Traditional Rite. I find that a lot of so-called "conservative" organizations are really just weeds blowing with the winds from Rome, like EWTN, which was once somewhat hostile towards tradition and is now jumping on the bandwagon. Watch out, next we'll see First Things lauding tradition! (but only with a US flag in the sanctuary, I fear)

paleothomist said...

"Joe, the founder of Opus Dei has been canonized and, unfortunately for your position, a canonization is an infallible pronouncement."

A canonization just means that a person is in Heaven. It does not give any kind of blanket approval by the Church to everything they or their organization may have done.

Orlando Furioso said...

yeah, isn't the founder of the Jesuits a canonized saint?

Anonymous said...

Pope Benedict XVI is the friendliest Pope towards the Jesuits since Pius XII. He has made some significant Jesuit appointments and values highly the work of the Gregorian University, the Biblical Institute, and Vatican Radio in Rome. The era of progressivism and disobedience is slowly coming to an end as a generation dies. However, the Church did without the Jesuits for 1500 years and, if they fade away, it will have to do so again. But, in the meanwhile, many of their apostolates are indispensable and the Church can't do without them.

ThomasMore1535 said...

As someone heavily involved with Opus Dei, I have to respond to some of the misinformation being posted here.

First of all, Opus Dei does not in any way, shape or form discourage attendance at the Extraordinary Form. My spiritual director is an Opus Dei priest, and he has even encouraged me to attend. He has told me many times of St. Josemaria's love of this mass.

Second of all, I don't know which "leaders" of Opus Dei have denied that St. Josemaria continued to celebrate the Tridentine Mass until his death, but both of his successors, Alvardo del Portillo and Javier Echevarria, who worked with him for decades, have written about how he continued to celebrate it.

It was St. Josemaria's personal wish and order that while he continued to celebrate the Tridentine Mass privately, priests of Opus Dei would from thence forward celebrate the Novus Ordo in a reverent manner. And they continue to do so to this very day.

Finally, I would just like to point out that Bishop Finn of Kansas City is also heavily involved with Opus Dei, and receives spiritual direction from them, and the day after SP went into effect he celebrated a Pontifical Low Mass in his Cathedral. He also invited the Institute of Christ the King to come to his diocese.

Opus Dei does not, and never will, force anyone to attend either the Tridentine or Novus Ordo Mass. They stress very much the personal freedom of its members to make such choices for themselves. This is completely in allignment with St. Josemaria's wish that the People of God enjoy complete freedom in matters that Holy Mother Church leaves to one's personal discretion.

I hope this helps.

ThomasMore1535 said...

Paloethomist,

A canonization mean much, much more than simply that the person is in heaven. It means that the person lived a holy life worthy of imitation. When St. Francis of Assisi was canonized, it wasn's simply a statement that he was "in heaven." It was a statement that he displayed virtues worthy of imitation.

St. Josemaria devoted his entire life to founding and running Opus Dei. It was the center of his life. To sever Opus Dei from St. Josemaria's life is as absurd as severing the Benedictines from St. Benedict, or the Franciscans from St. Francis, or the Dominicans from St. Dominic. You cannot do that.

The present leadership of Opus Dei is still composed of individuals who personally worked with St. Josemaria for a long time. The prelate, Javier Echevarria, was St. Josemaria's personal secretary for nearly twenty-five years.

Nothing has changed in the way Opus Dei does things since the time of St. Josemaria. All that has happened is that the Holy See has granted it the status of a Personal Prelature. This is not a "power grab." It is a canonical situtation perfectly suited to Opus Dei's spirituality.

St. Josemaria repeatidly petitioned Paul VI to make Opus Dei a personal prelature for over ten years before his death. Sadly, he did not live to see his petition granted by John Paul II.

If you are going to argue that Opus Dei only cares about a "power grab," you are arguing that St. Josemaria himself was nothing but a power-hungary opportunist as well.

Anonymous said...

The canonization formula is a dogmatic definition and has that form and value for all catholics:

"In honor of the Blessed and Undivided Trinity, for the uplifting of Catholic faith and the increase of Christian life, BY THE AUTHORITY of our Lord Jesus Christ and that of the Holy Apostles Peter and Paul and OUR OWN, after careful deliberation, having called frequently upon God's help, and with the advice of many of our brother Bishops, We declare and DEFINE Blessed ..... to be a SAINT, and We inscribe his name in the catalogue of the Saints, ordaining that, THROUGHout THE UNIVERSAL CHURCH, he be devoutly honored among the Saints. In the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit."

giselle said...

Having been involved in both RC and OD (we had a "mixed marriage") we could see that virtually all the norms were identical. That's why it worked for us. After many years, though, it became obvious that Opus Dei was authentic and Regnum Christi a pious sham. Even the older Legionaries who have since defected said clearly that Maciel took his outline for RC wholesale from The Work (est. over 20 years earlier). While Saint Josemaria prayed his way to every detail of his foundation, Maciel did not. He took all the outward manifestations of it but left out the key ingredient: respect for free will.

I was frustrating watching the whole evolution of The DaVinci Code spectacle. Dan Brown got the wrong group. If he wrote the real story of the Legion, few would believe it.

(Btw, Opus dei members are now told by RC members that Josemaria came to Maciel for help in determining how he should set up Opus Dei. Utter nonsense!)

Anonymous said...

Lc and Opus Die

Plain and simple cults...

(The bad type)

Jeannette said...

I'm uncomfortable with Opus Dei having spiritual directors for their youth groups, like Regnum Christi does. With RC, the pressure to commit, during SD, without parents' consent and knowledge appears to be part of their MO. I don't know about OD though. They're much larger and I haven't seen nearly as many complaints (but I'm not looking, either)

Also, OD numeraries and RC 3gf's and 3gm's are in a strange position-not quite nuns, not quite consecrated virgins, and nowhere to go for the men. It's really quirky.

A. Todd Black said...

You know a tree by its fruit...

Padre Maciel is a holy man and the Legionaries are a remarkable order. They have been a blessing to countless souls, and God-willing, will continue to be so for hundreds of years.

God bless our Holy Catholic Church, our Holy Father, Padre Maciel, the Legionaries of Christ and the people who are attacking them.

Thy Kingdom Come!

CS said...

"Like Opus Dei, which also is vehemently opposed to the Traditional Roman Rite, and its leaders even dare deny that Msgr. Escrivá himself continued to celebrate the Old Mass. To Opus Dei-leadership, all is about gaining momentum and power inside the Vatican City."

*sigh* Wrong on every count...

Anonymous said...

I’ve known some very good legionaries of Christ. I think we should always abstain from personal or too general judgements.

That being said, the point is, in my opinion, that the Church utterly condemns every form of authoritarian discipline (as opposed to the true virtue of holy obedience) and, even worse, of brain-washing.

People may be in good faith, they may have good intentions, but the results of such false principles are usually disastrous.

Faith with reason, obedience with freedom, humility with critical sense! This is catholic.

Our Church is not a sect. (I’m NOT suggesting that this or that group is a sect. But if we stress discipline, obedience, efforts of will etc. too much, we run the risk of sectarianism.)

The basic mistake is, I think, voluntarism: a philosophical (but also paedagogical) mistake that gives precedence, and greater importance, to will and not to reason. It’s a GREAT mistake, and also a very common one, particularly among pious and well-meaning people.

No, reason before and over will: st Thomas “docet”.

seminarian for the Archdiocese of St. Louis said...

Well, I must say that some comments on this page are a little unnecessary. Even though Pope Benedict has repealed these vows, does not mean that the Congregation of the Legion of Christ does not do good work for the Church. I have attended a Legionary minor seminary for 5 years and have seen the great work they have done. On the other hand, all orders, in their foundation, need to be directed by and corrected by the Holy Father in order for the order to bear the greatest fruit in the Church. The Legion has a great testimony of obeying the Holy Father and I am sure that they will do it again this time.

Anonymous said...

"Pope Benedict XVI is the friendliest Pope towards the Jesuits since Pius XII."

Yes, I am sure the Jesuits are still sore from the blow that JPII gave them when he imposed an apostolic administrator to the Jesuits and forced the resignation of Arrupe. Too bad JPII did not take it to its ultimate end, as in the third last part of his pontificate he reconciled with the Jesuit ideology of secularism.

jeannette said...

"I think we should always abstain from personal or too general judgements."

Says who?! It's my duty to make judgments about people and organizations, whether they are good for my children's immortal souls. In my opinion, which was reached after much investigation and experiencing their deceit, the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi are quite possibly a pervert-worshipping cult and I don't want them anywhere near my children. I have a moral obligation to share my concerns with those around me so that others can make an informed decision too. If I'm wrong, I'll look silly but it's a risk I absolutely must take for the sake of our young parishioners.

Anonymous said...

It was Fr Arrupe's disabling stroke that led to Cardinal Dezza's appointment as an apostolic administrator of the Jesuits and Fr Arrupe's subsequent resignation. None of this was forced, it was a response to an unforeseen emergency. No Jesuits rebelled and the appointment of Fr Kolvenbach as Father General inaugurated an era of peace and co-operation with the Apostolic See. All in all, the Vatican was edified by the Jesuits' acquiescence.

Nickname said...

You have only to Google Fr Marcial Marciel and the Legionaries of Christ to discover what a corrupt and suspect world they inhabit. I am sure the reason for the abolition of their secret vows will be to free others to tell the truth about their experiences. In the past many were made to lie under obedience. It is a sickening world of coercion and sexual exploitation of the most revolting kind and I hope that, after the penalties incurred by Fr Marciel, this is the second step to the eventual abolition of the Legionaries. I cannot help feeling sorry for the many young men who have given their lives to serving God in this repellent organization.

Anonymous said...

Nickname advises people to use Google. If you feel so disposed and want an unimpeachable orthodox view of Fr Marciel and the Legionaries type in 'Michael Rose and the Legionaries of Christ' and read a review of a critical book published in May this year. It makes depressing, if interesting, reading. Fr Marciel is, and always has been, seriously sick and exemplifies religion that has gone badly wrong.

Jordan Potter said...

Jeannette said: If I'm wrong, I'll look silly but it's a risk I absolutely must take for the sake of our young parishioners.

If you're wrong (I'm not saying you are), it would be more serious than you looking silly. Calumny, slander, and libel are mortal sins. (But as I said, I'm not saying you're wrong about the Legionaires or Fr. Maciel.)

Anonymous said...

This story is not about Opus Dei, which is far less agressive, secret, territorial, elitest and self-protecting than the Legionnaires of Christ.

If you cannot see the distinction between these two organizations, you are simply and utterly blind. I'm not saying that Opus Dei is beyond reproach or above criticism and I'm certainly not saying that Opus Dei is "saving the Church," but comparisons to a "cult" are ridiculous and unfounded.

Whatever it's faults, it is an organization that has suffered much for its rigorous support of authentic Catholicism. I don't think it's out of line to say that traditionalists should be ashamed to make the sort of comments that are found on this thread.

Anonymous said...

There is nothing wrong with Opus Dei and there is no comparison between the Legionaries and Regnum Christi.
Opus dei does not deserve the approbrium it has attracted. It is not for all but for those who have a vocation to join. The tragedy about the other groups is that they have a corrupt founder who imposed a harsh discipline in order to hide his sins. That cannot be said of Opus Dei.

Jeannette said...

Jordan, What did I say that made you use the words calumny, slander, and libel? I have concerns and I share those concerns with other parishioners. I strongly urge them to investigate this group, and many parents are grateful to me for telling them that Challenge, YTM (now MissionYouth) K4J and LTP are LC/RC apostolates, because the RC members did not admit who they were when they began recruiting. Yes, I told you that I have come to conclusions about the Legion; it was appropriate given the context.

Glenn said...

For all those who have posted here:
Two FACTS remain. The Holy Father has sanctioned Marcial Maciel in some way as a result of accusations of sexual abuse. The Holy Father has annulled the private vows of the Legion of Christ.

Those are two pretty big facts.

exnumerary said...

I hope the Holy Father does do something about Opus Dei.
The evidence regarding their recrutment of young boys and girls at their schools is becoming overwhelming and the money (tax evasion ect) sides of things needs to be addressed by local authorities.
Please Holy Father put a stop to this.

Anonymous said...

Exnumerary- How can an organization that is tax exempt can be accused of tax evasion?

There is overwhelming evidence that they are recruiting young people at their schools? And your accusation of wrong doing is....

I personally hope the Holy Father does something about you. You've given me more evidence of corruption than Opus Dei has.

A Simple Sinner said...

Just some random thoughts...

10 years ago if you would have asked me about the LC I would have told you I had favorable opinions about them - they were growing, they were loyal, they were building seminaries, they had ordinations in one sitting more than some orders or diocese have in a decade.

Now, I am not so sure about commending anyone to join them.

Their apostolate - from everything I can witness and gather sometimes seems to be mostly geared toward self-promotion, self-defense and growth. I wanted to believe Fr. M was the next St. Ignatius and these were the new (old style) Jesuits. 600 priests, almost 3000 seminarians in 50 years... They were the poster boys for a type of post-conciliar orthodoxy. Not traditional liturgically, not dissident, a photo of the founder with JP2 on everything they published as well as photos & photos of sometimes hundreds of smiling cassock-wearing handsome young seminarians (no fems or fatties, always tall healthy looking guys in well tailored cassocks or double breasted suits, good teeth & neatly parted hair.)

In high school, one of their recruiters had been given my phone number and I was getting weekly calls. (This was when I was a senior.) My name and phone number had been given to them by RC members who travelled to see Father M whenever he was near. At one point, I pointed out that I am Greek Catholic, and if I sought a vocation it would be to my church. They were undeterred. My mother, rather angry with them made it clear that they could send all the literature they wanted, but the constant calling was not welcome and they were not to call again. By the third time, they got the message.

12 years ago I had heard a lot of things I had dismissed about their styles of formation and piety. A well-known priest who publishes a monthly magazine had been to their seminary and explained that they timed the showers for guys in the seminary, and they monitored to make sure that seminarians do not sleep on their stomach at night. (Maybe that is what puts me off - I am a stomach sleeper, always have been, always will be!) I was told by their supporters that these sort of "rumors" are unfounded, and that such attacks from jealous Catholic liberal & dissedents and the secular media were sure signs of opposition from the evil one. In light of what has been unfolding, I grow more ambivalent in my opinion of them.

TO date, I have not heard a lot of good things about LC/RC working with other truly orthodox groups in what would be considered common cause. One case that comes to mind is what I have heard from first hand from folks who live in communities where both the LC and FSSP operate - the animosity has been palpable up to and including the Legion demanding that students of its schools NOT serve at FSSP parishes as accolytes. Why? More curiously, how would they keep track and know?

It does bear pointing out that a good deal of what the LC does is in Spanish speaking countries, and I do not speak Spanish well enough to read about them in Spanish. What they are doing in those communities, I cannot say.

There is nothing that would give me greater joy than to find out that these accusations are just a part of the trial that saints endure. Certainly others were slandered. But as much as I would love to believe that, I simply cannot make that leap of faith with any sort of intellectual integrity. For the longest time I have been telling myself Father M "Hasn't been proven guilty, there is room for doubt" That is getting harder to believe.

Twelve years on I have been wondering, where are the almost 3000 priests that one would expect from the almost 3000 seminarians who were in formation back in 1993?

It has been explained to me that only 10% make it to priestly ordination... Most of the seminarians they count are minor seminarians - underage boys in seminary boarding school.

If that is true, one is left to wonder, why do they spend so very much time and effort in feeding, housing, clothing and educating men who will not become priests in seminary?

It rather begins to seem as silly as promoting every other college student to study "pre-med".

If out of the 2500 current seminarians only 250 will be priests within the next 12 years, perhaps it is time to rethink some things. The other 2250 would benifit far more from formation that will be more appropriate for the state in life they are called to.

In the next 20 years it is easy to expect that Fr. Marciel, age 88, will move on to the invariable and inevitable next step: death & judgement.

I guess the question will then become, what is the fruit of all this?

In the mean time, Showing photos and clips of mass-ordinations in Rome or pictures of Fr. MM with JP2 or (Then-Cardinal) Ratzinger is not having the same effect on me as it used to. I want very badly to support them and believe only the best. I am past the point to be able to blindly do that anymore.

Liz said...

No one's yet mentioned much Maciel as founder of the movement,Regnum Christi (RC), which also victimizes innocents by their facade of 'orthodoxy', and also takes secret vows, and also examines their consciences daily with a secret (members only) list of written questions that includes:
Have I asked others to join the Movement?
Have I contributed my financial resources, professional contacts, talents, etc. to the success of LC/RC?
And later on, in that same section of questions:
Have I had an abortion or induced someone else to have an abortion?

The Pope is just now beginning to touch the very tip of the LC/RC iceberg. May he never stop till he gets to the bottom of all their embedded secrets, too numerous to fit here.

The only good fruit from Maciel's 60-year-old creepy movement, of which every LC priest and seminarian is part, are those few who are blessed to leave with their souls and minds intact, even after tasting and seeing the horrible fruit for what it is: Regnum Creepy and the Legion of Creepies.
Let us pray and help every victim that has ever been harmed in any way by this group. They are legion. And their only way to complete healing is complete abolition of this kingdom and legion of creepies, so they can move on to have a direct relationship with all that is God, instead of being directed by those whose souls have an unshakably creepy bent toward canonizing their pederast founder.
Elizabeth