Archive of January 10, 2014

New book examines 'vibrant' revival of US Catholicism

New York City, N.Y., Jan 10, 2014 (CNA) - The story of the U.S. Catholic Church in the early 21st century is one of excitement and renewal, say two authors of a book that examines successful dioceses, bishops and priests.

“The priesthood is growing. There are also vibrant signs of life among the laity and throughout the Church. Those stories need to be told,” Christopher White, the director of education and programs at the California-based Center for Bioethics and Culture, told CNA Dec. 12.

White is the co-author of “Renewal,” a new book from Encounter Books which makes the case that Catholicism is recovering from decades of “faithless practice” and confusion.

He said this recovery is especially evident in parishes that express “a stronger Catholic identity.”  

His co-author, Anne Hendershott, who is a sociology professor and director of the Veritas Center for Ethics in Public Life at Franciscan University of Steubenville, said writing the book has given her new appreciation for U.S. Catholicism.

“I haven’t been as excited about the religion as I am now,” she said. “There have been times when I was discouraged and I believed the media presentations of the religion as being in decline.”

The book “Renewal” focuses on areas where the Catholic Church is showing revitalization. Ordination rates to the priesthood are at a 20-year high, and the average age of new priests continues to decline. Ten years ago, the Church struggled under the weight of the clergy sexual abuse scandal; now many seminaries are at full capacity.

The new generation of priests consists of men who are “wholly committed” to their vocation and consider celibacy “a grace and benefit to ministry,” White said.

“They are unafraid to be counter-cultural,” he added. “I think in previous had individuals that in some ways wanted to straddle both worlds and in some ways make the priesthood and the Church as well conform to the ways of the world.”

He drew on his own experience as a convert to Catholicism, which was “very different” from what he had heard about the Catholic faith in his upbringing and in cultural commentary.

“If you would have asked me 10 years ago to describe the Catholic Church, [I would have said it was] a dated institution with a dying membership whose teachings were confusing, whose members were negligent in the practice of their faith.”

Attending church in Manhattan, he instead found “very solid” parishes with “dynamic” parish priests.

Both John Paul II and Benedict XVI helped provide “definitive interpretations” of the Second Vatican Council, the book's authors continued. Unity and outspokenness among the bishops have increased, while dissenting Catholic factions have declined in prominence.

“Catholicism has always stood for something, but we didn’t always have bishops who were able to project that very well,” Hendershott said. “They seemed reticent, reluctant to talk about the truth of the religion. And now we have all these great priests and bishops that are talking about it. And they’re not
embarrassed about it, they’re not ashamed.”

The book emphasizes the role of bishops in creating a fruitful culture in their dioceses. It examines dioceses that have “transformational leaders,” outlining their best practices.

Bishops who are clear about Catholic teaching and “bold in defending the Church in the public square” attract more people, White said.

Hendershott stressed that Catholicism is not simply about morality and the Catechism. Rather, people are “drawn to the beauty of the religion.”

In dioceses where bishops can express this beauty through music, liturgy, and homilies, she said, “you are going to have flourishing vocations.”

She added that a demanding form of religion, rather than a lax one, tends to attract.

“The more a religion asks of believers, the more vibrant that religion will be. There’s got to be a reason for people to be part of a religion, or else they’ll just go to the movies,” she said, citing sociologist Rodney Stark.

Hendershott and White both see room for continued improvement, especially in Catholic higher education.

“Renewal is on the way, but we’re not fully there yet,” White said.

Many institutions of Catholic higher education need to do better in helping pass on the faith to future generations and encouraging new vocations, he said.

“We’ve got to get that right,” he emphasized.

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Amid violence, South Sudan Catholics outline steps to peace

Juba, South Sudan, Jan 10, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Voicing “anguish and dismay” at the deteriorating situation in South Sudan, a Catholic bishop shared his diocese’s ten proposals to help stabilize the country after the outbreak of violence in mid-December.

“As we know from experience in our history, only dialogue can take the peace process forward,” the people of the Diocese of Tombura-Yambio said in a Jan. 8 statement shared by Bishop Barani Eduardo Hiiboro Kussala.

“Posterity will be the judge of our courage and patriotism not from the revenge we wreak but from the peace we win in these troubling times and from the progress resulting from such peace. A prosperous and well-connected South Sudan is our brave response to these divisive factions,” the statement continued.

The diocese is in the state of Western Equatoria in the southwest of South Sudan. Its statement was written after three days of consultation between priests, vowed religious and lay faithful as they reflected and prayed about the situation in their country, Bishop Kussala said.

Armed conflict broke out in the national capital of Juba in mid-December following a power struggle between President Salva Kiir and former vice president Riek Machar.

The president accused Machar of trying to overthrow the government of South Sudan.

Machar has denied the claim and accused the president of trying to eliminate political opponents, the Associated Press reports. The United States' leading diplomat in Africa, Linda Thomas-Greenfield, has said there is no evidence of a coup attempt.

The violence has spread to other parts of the country. At least 1,000 people have been killed. Reports indicate that some killings were targeted based on ethnicity.

Another 180,000 people have been displaced from their homes and lack shelter and other basic necessities.

The statement from the Catholics of Tombura-Yambio encourages prayers and fasting for peace, in solidarity with those who lack humanitarian aid. Catholics will hold prayers for peace and justice during morning Mass, Eucharistic Holy Hour and rosary recitations.

“Where and when peace is threatened anywhere in our family or nation, prayer for peace must be our response as Catholics,” the statement said.

The statement acknowledged the worsening humanitarian situation in South Sudan, urging the Catholic faithful to support their fasting through bringing food to Mass for food banks.

Regions that are enjoying relative peace should pray and undertake actions to work for solutions to the conflict, not “add to the fire.”

The statement urged President Kirri to show “an overwhelming readiness of forgiveness and pardon.”

“Please choose peace and your citizens will survive!” it said.

Catholics also urged Riek Machar to show “forgiveness and pardon” and to “take courage to renounce violence.”

It urged soldiers to show their “conscience and true character” by valuing life. Politicians, the media and other public figures should “show restraint” and not take actions that could undermine peace and stability, including “ethnic politics” and a “war of words.”

The statement thanked the international community for its support and advised “sensitivity to our complex problems.” It asked the international community to “be more sensitive to this tragic situation” and help avoid “a war that sows destruction and death.” It also voiced support for the peace talks underway in Ethiopia, calling this a “noble initiative.”

South Sudan became independent from Sudan in 2011.

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Cardinal commission for Vatican bank could undergo changes

Vatican City, Jan 10, 2014 (CNA) - Pope Francis could be considering a reshuffle of the cardinals commission of the Institute for Religious Works, the so-called “Vatican bank,” also known by the Italian acronym of IOR.

Changes to the cardinals commission could be made as soon as a separate pontifical commission delivers the conclusions of its recent analysis of the Institute for Religious Works to the Pope.

Last year, Pope Francis charged the pontifical commission with drawing up an “exhaustive” report into the juridical standing and activities of the Vatican's financial institution.

The pontifical commission – issued via a chirograph with immediate effect on June 24 – is chaired by Cardinal Raffaele Farina and is composed of five people.

The IOR is a sort of central body of the Holy See. Its purpose is to provide for the protection and administration of moveable and immovable assets transferred or entrusted to the institute and destined for religious works or charity. Financial transparency and successful cooperation with Europe's anti-money-laundering agency Moneyval has continued to remain a priority for the institution in recent years.

According to a source familiar to Vatican finances who spoke to CNA on Jan. 7, the pontifical commission is meeting at least three days a week, and a conclusive meeting with the Pope is scheduled on Feb. 13. After that meeting, the Pope could carry out changes to the IOR group.

Retired pontiff Benedict XVI renewed the cardinals commission on Feb. 16 of 2013. Because members of the commission serve for five years, the mandate of the IOR Cardinal Commission for Oversight will expire in 2017.

Benedict XVI nearly confirmed all the members of the IOR cardinals commission: the then Secretary of State Tarcisio Bertone, and cardinals Odilo Pedro Scherer, Telesphore Toppo, and Jean Louis Tauran.

Only Cardinal Attilio Nicora left the commission as he was also president of the Authority for Financial Information, which could have lead to a conflict of interest.

The cardinals commission is by custom chaired by the Cardinal Secretary of State. As Cardinal Bertone is no longer in charge of the post, Archbishop Pietro Parolin, now Secretary of State, would be inserted in the ranks of the commission.

Italian newspaper Corriere della Sera maintained Jan. 5 that Pope Francis will appoint Cardinal Santos Avril y Castello, archpriest of the Roman Basilica Saint Mary the Major, as president of the cardinals commission.

According to the 1990 chirograph that regulates the function of the Institute for Religious Works, the Pope appoints the members of the cardinals commission, while the commission “is chaired by the cardinals the members of the commission choose.”

The cardinals commission convenes at least bi-annually and oversees the compliance of the IOR with its statutory norms. According to the source who spoke to CNA, the next meeting of the cardinals commission will take place Jan. 13.

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'Faith can do everything,' reflects Pope

Vatican City, Jan 10, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - During his daily Mass Pope Francis spoke on the virtue of faith, stating that all things are possible with this virtue as long as we both confess our Faith, and entrust ourselves to God.

“The strength of faith has overcome the world!” the Pope exclaimed during his Jan. 9 homily, “Our faith can do everything! It is victory!”

Pope Francis concentrated his homily, given to those present in the chapel of the Vatican’s Santa Marta guesthouse, on the day’s first reading taken from the First Letter of St. John in which the apostle describes how the true victor is the Christian who is faithful.

“Faith makes all things possible,” but we must place our trust in God, stated the Pope, explaining that authentic faith must be not be something partial, but complete, and is expressed by abiding in God, who is love.

“Whoever abides in God, whoever is begotten by God, whoever abides in love, has victory over the world,” noted the Pontiff, “and this victory is our faith – on our part, it is the faith.”

“On God’s part, (it is) the Holy Spirit who makes this (abiding, this victory) possible through faith…it is powerful!”

Acknowledging that often “the Church is full of defeated Christians who do not believe in this, that faith is the victory,” Pope Francis reflected that it would be “beautiful” to repeat to ourselves the power of faith, “because if you do not live this faith, there is defeat, the world wins, the prince of this world.”

Recalling the praise which Jesus gave regarding the faith of the hemorrhagic woman, the Canaanite woman, and the man who was blind from birth in the Gospels, the Pope highlighted how even faith as small as a mustard seed can move mountains.

“This faith,” observed the Pontiff “affirms and requires of us two attitudes: confessing and trusting.”

“Faith,” he continued, “means confessing God – the God who revealed Himself to us, from the time of our fathers down to the present: the God of history.”

Noting that this is something we recite daily when professing the Creed, the Pope distinguished that “it is one thing to recite the Creed heartily, and another (merely) to parrot it, no?” adding that “I believe, I believe in God, I believe in Jesus Christ, I believe – but do I believe what I am saying?”

“Is this a true confession of faith or is it something I say somehow by rite, because it is (the thing to say)? Do I believe only halfway?”

“Confess the Faith” he urged, “all of it, not part of it! Safeguard this faith, as it came to us, by way of tradition: the whole Faith!”

A sign that helps us to know whether or not we are confessing the faith well, explained the Pontiff, is that “he who confesses the faith well – the whole Faith – has the capacity to worship God.”

Turning to the importance of placing out trust in the Lord, the Pope emphasized that “The man or woman who has faith relies on God: entrusts himself or herself to Him!” adding that “Trusting (in God) is what leads us to hope.”

“Just as the confession of faith leads us to the worship and praise of God, so trust in God leads us to an attitude of hope.”

Drawing attention to the fact that many Christians have “a hope too watered down, not strong: a faint hope,” the Pontiff explained that this is because “they do not have the strength and the courage to trust in the Lord.”

“But if we Christians believe in confessing the faith, and safeguarding it, taking custody of the faith, and, entrusting ourselves to God, to the Lord,” he concluded, “we shall be Christian victors.”

“And this is the victory that has overcome the world: our faith.”

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Ethicist: Texas end-of-life debate must consider unborn child

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - Debate over requiring life support for a reportedly brain-dead pregnant woman should remember both the imperative not to provide excessive care and the personhood of the unborn child, a bioethicist says.

Controversy is growing over the fate of Marlise Munoz, a 33-year-old pregnant Texas woman who is being kept on life-support despite being reportedly brain-dead. Her family maintains she does not want to be on life-support in such a situation, but Texas law bars removing life-sustaining treatment for a pregnant patient until the child can be delivered.

Marie Hilliard, director of bioethics and public policy at the National Catholic Bioethics Center, told CNA Jan. 9 that we “want to give an identity to that human being, who isn’t just a fetus but a grandchild.”

“This might be all that a family has left of the person who has been declared brain-dead.”

Ethical treatment of the unborn baby could require the life-sustaining treatment for the mother, so long as this medical treatment is not “disproportionate,” “futile,” or causing harm to the baby, Hilliard said, acknowledging that the pregnant woman’s family is suffering “the great grief that accompanies the death or the dying of a loved one.”

Munoz collapsed in November from an apparent blood clot while 14 weeks pregnant. Her doctors at John Peter Smith Hospital, a publicly funded facility in Fort Worth, are following Texas law requiring “life-sustaining treatment” for a pregnant patient until the baby can be delivered, the New York Times reports.

Munoz’ parents said the hospital clearly said their daughter was brain-dead, though hospital officials have not publicly commented on her condition because they lack the family’s permission.

The woman’s husband and her parents said that Munoz, a paramedic and mother to a 15-month-old child in addition to her fetus, had clearly stated her desire not to be kept on life support in such an event, and that the hospital and state law are not respecting her wishes.

According to the family, physicians have said they will decide what to do with the unborn baby, now 20 weeks old, when it reaches 22 to 24 weeks into the pregnancy.

Munoz’ father, Ernest Machado, told the New York Times the doctors’ action was “very frustrating” and is “prolonging our agony.”

“All she is is a host for a fetus,” he said of his daughter.

The woman’s family is planning to sue the hospital, the Fort Worth Star-Telegram reports.

Over 30 states have laws requiring life support for pregnant women, though there is debate over whether the Texas law applies to Munoz, as brain-dead persons are considered legally dead.

Hilliard, a registered nurse with a master’s degree in maternal-child health nursing, noted that the woman’s pregnancy complicates the degree to which a patient’s wishes can be followed.

“Her wishes are about her own body. Now we have another human being involved.”

Hilliard said Catholic ethics recognize total brain death as death, but she noted that it is uncertain whether Munoz is fully brain-dead, given the hospital’s silence on the question.

If Munoz is in fact brain-dead, “we are now dealing with one human being who is alive, and that is the unborn child.”

Ethical treatment, she explained, is “always case-specific.” In this case, treatment decisions must consider whether keeping alive the body of the mother as a means of life-support is proportionate and ordinary care, which is morally required, or is “extraordinary” or “futile” care.

This moral judgment should include whether the impact of providing treatment will be excessive on the family or on the community as a whole. It should also weigh the “serious concerns about the baby’s ability to live.” The unborn child’s health may have been compromised by oxygen deprivation.

However, if the care can be provided “proportionately” and without “undue burden” to the unborn child, the family, and the community, then it is morally required.

Hilliard warned against overuse of the word “fetus” to describe the unborn child. Although this is a “technically accurate” description, in practice it “denies the humanity of the unborn child.”

She also defended the law requiring life-sustaining treatment for pregnant women, saying such laws “protect the identity and the rights of the unborn child.”

Arguments that the law denies self-determination to women ignore “that there are already two human beings present.”

Hilliard added that the community should help Munoz’ family deal with their grieving, and with the awareness of the unborn child.

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Helping migrants a life and family issue, dioceses say

Washington D.C., Jan 10, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - The assistance given to all immigrants is a carrying out Catholic social teaching, promoting families, and building up a culture of life, Catholic groups around the country have said.

"The teaching on immigration reform is really a continuation of what we believe as people who are pro-life," Omar Gutiérrez, manager of the missions and justice office of the Archdiocese of Omaha, said to CNA Jan. 10.

"We need to be better as a Church about to make the connection between the teaching on immigration and pro-life teaching."

The week of Jan. 5-11 marked the U.S. bishops' National Migration Week, in which the prelates focus on promoting the Church's teaching on immigration and its goals for immigration in the United States.

The bishops aim to help "provide a path to citizenship for undocumented persons in the country, preserve family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system, preserve family unity as a cornerstone of our national immigration system, restore due process protections to immigration enforcement policies," and “address the root causes of migration caused by persecution and economic disparity,” they announced.

Johnny Young, executive director of the U.S. bishops' migration and refugee services office, told CNA in a Jan. 9 statement that the U.S. bishops are " fully engaged" with a variety of initiatives to help pass "Comprehensive Immigration Reform" and help immigrants pastorally, pointing to a "mail and post card campaign, marches, rallies, vigils in churches," as well as "pilgrimages, ads in various publications, and innumerable personal interventions with Congressional officials at all levels."

Young said that the bishops "remain fully optimistic" that immigration reform will pass in 2014, despite a lack of movement from the House of Representatives in 2013. In recent months, he added, members "from both sides of the House and Senate" have made comments stating that comprehensive immigration reform "can and must be done," saying that he expected differences between the two parties and the houses of Congress could be reconciled.

The bishops are also focused on ministering to Catholics and fully explaining Church teaching on immigration and its connection to other parts of Church teaching, he added.

“Many Catholics need to understand that this issue of immigration is about families staying together and being able to survive and take care of themselves.”

"It’s about family. It is also about our duty as Catholics … to welcome the stranger. This is at the foundation of our faith that is grounded in both the Old and New Testaments."

This focus on family has been highlighted by bishops in speeches and columns across the country during National Migration Week. Archbishop José Gomez of Los Angeles, who himself is an immigrant to the United States, called Catholics to "think about these people – what they go through, what they’ve suffered, just to try to give a better life to their children."

"It’s about all the children and families caught up in our broken system," the archbishop emphasized, charging that the current system breaks up families in "the name of enforcing our laws."

One "out of every four people we deport is being taken away from an intact family," Archbishop Gomez stated in his Jan. 10 speech at the Los Angeles Rotary Club, emphasizing that these people are "souls not statistics."

"We’re talking about fathers who without warning, won’t be coming home for dinner tonight. Parents who may not see their families again for a decade. We’re talking about kids suddenly left without a mom or a dad."

"We are a better people than this. So we have to find a better way. And we have to do it now," said Archbishop Gomez. "We can’t wait for another ' election cycle' to go by, while we do nothing."

Archbishop Charles Chaput of Philadelphia voiced similar concerns in a Jan. 6 article in the archdiocesan newspaper the "Catholic Philly." He noted that while the United States has "very legitimate concerns for public safety and the solvency of our public institutions," achieving "immigration reform would restore justice to our immigration system and strengthen, not undermine, the rule of law."

Archbishop Chaput stated that in regards to immigration reform, "the ultimate question for Congress – and for all Americans – is whether we want to live in a society that accepts the toil of migrants with one hand, and then treats them like outcasts with the other."

Gutiérrez emphasized that going forward, parishes and diocese should try to do better at "articulating where this is coming from, and where the bishops are coming from."

He explained that in the Omaha archdiocese, "there are still a lot of Catholics who would be a lot more comfortable getting their understanding of this issue from secular sources instead of from Church teaching and from the bishops," and so the archdiocese will "try to reach out to parishes and provide Catholic teaching on this issue so that it's better contextualized and people can ask more questions" in the future.

Gutiérrez noted that there are many "lives who are affected by a system which is broken," and "right or wrong, these are the people that are being affected.”

He also added that "migrants have been able to give to the communities" in which they settle in the United States.

"They give to the Church the cultural experience of understanding what it means to grow up within a Catholic culture," Gutiérrez said, adding that in communities with high numbers of immigrants and refugees from other countries, he sees a "sense of service and devotion that isn't always there in other parishes."

For many Catholic immigrants, "service within the parish, service to the Church, service to the community comes naturally out of their experience."

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Legionaries seek to continue service with 'renewed enthusiasm'

Rome, Italy, Jan 10, 2014 (CNA/EWTN News) - As the Legionaries meet in Rome for their General Chapter, spokesman Fr. Benjamin Clariond voiced the congregation's hopes for a stronger apostolate with a more keen awareness of their challenges.

“After this period of renewal and purification, we would like to continue serving the Church and offering our ministries with a renewed enthusiasm, and also with a greater awareness of our limitations,” the spokesman said in his Jan. 10 interview with CNA.

Fr. Clariond also expressed the importance of recognizing “the beautiful reality of working together in a spirit of communion in the local and universal Church.”

However, he emphasized that “we also have to be realistic,” explaining that “the process of reform, renewal, etc. is not a one-time thing, but an ongoing effort to confront and, with God’s grace, configure ourselves with the Gospel and our mission.”

On Jan. 8 the Legionaries of Christ opened their first Extraordinary General Chapter with a Mass celebrated by the congregation's Delegate from the Vatican, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis.

The Chapter, which aims specifically to approve the Legion's new constitutions and to elect a new governing body, began its official meetings the morning of Jan. 9, and will continue for the next six weeks.

Retired pontiff Benedict XVI originally mandated the Chapter in wake of the revelation of the double-life led by the congregation’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, who is since deceased.

An official investigation into the life and conduct of Fr. Maciel was launched by the Vatican, and in 2006 Benedict XVI stripped him of his duties and role of leadership within the congregation, ordering him to a life of prayer and penance.

The goal of the Papal Delegate, appointed by Benedict in June of 2010, “was to walk a path of renewal and revision of our charism, our way of life,” Fr. Clariond noted, highlighting how “this process entailed the main task of writing our new constitutions which are set to express, protect and help develop the charism of any religious congregation.”

During their meetings, “the constitutions,” observed the spokesman, “will be approved by the General Chapter and subsequently submitted for the approval of Pope Francis.”

Along with the primary tasks of approving their constitutions and electing new leadership, the Chapter will also make an analysis of “the Legion’s path of renewal, our opportunities, our frailties,” he revealed, “and discern together, in a spirit of prayer and communion, what the Holy Spirit is asking of us in this moment.”

“It is the Chapter itself which will mark the guidelines and priorities for the new leadership.”

The Chapter began “with a draft of the Constitutions in which every Legionary has had a chance to speak his opinions,” Fr. Clarion explained, noting that he was the secretary of the Central Commission for the Review of the Constitutions last year.

Explaining the process of writing of the constitutions, the priest recalled that the Central Commission issued an initial proposal, which was read, studied, discussed and voted on by all the Legionaries.

“It implied a lot of work,” the spokesman noted, emphasizing that “the Central Commission would read every single suggestion,” some of the texts including over 500 recommendations, “and identify the different consensus as well as divergences.”

Fr. Clarion also voiced his belief that the Chapter will address “the issue of the founder,” which “in a sense” has already been addressed, “but is likely that it will be revisited.”

“It will also set the guidelines and priorities for the new leadership,” he said, emphasizing that although these are his thoughts, “as spokesman of the Legion of Christ,” he is “not in a position” to determine the topics that will be discussed.

The spokesman also expressed his appreciation of the appointment the Delegate by Benedict XVI, because it “had to do with a future” that the retired pontiff “considered possible for the Legion.”

“Trust in the voice of Peter’s successor, which comes from faith, has been a source of hope and confidence for the future,” he expressed.

In a Jan. 9 interview with Vatican spokesman Fr. Federico Lombardi, the Legion-Delegate Cardinal De Paolis emphasized that his duties have not been “the beginning of the story of the Legion and Regnum Christi, but it is one stage of it.”

“The first stage is the story of the Founder; the second is the visitation by the five bishops sent by the Holy Father to get to know this reality; and the third stage, in fact, is the appointment of the papal delegate.”

When Benedict issued the delegation, the cardinal explained, “he had already issued a severe judgment” regarding the founder’s actions, but “this judgment was not so severe as to destroy the congregation.”

“If the Pope appoints a Delegate,” he explained, “he is implicitly denying that a substantially negative judgment of the Legion itself should be made.”

Benedict XVI’s goal, observed Cardinal De Paolis, was to “restart the journey alongside the Legionaries, so as to guide them through a period of reflection and renewal, which was also penitential.”

This was done in hopes of reviewing “their charism, to rewrite their Constitutions and then to resume their positive position within the Church.”

In addition to his work within the Legionaries of Christ and their leadership, the cardinal also spoke of the congregation’s lay movement, Regnum Christi, explaining that it will not be discussed during the Chapter, but that “a new path” must be traced.

“Before,” Cardinal De Paolis noted, “Regnum Christi was like an extension of the Legion. Instead, we have come to realize that each group has its own autonomy, identity and discipline.”

“However, together they form a ‘movement,’” and “therefore, there is a great unity among laity, consecrated lay persons and religious priests, who are dedicated to working together closely.”

“These are things that still have to be defined further,” he said, noting that it is “important to point out that what has, in a way, overwhelmed the Legion regarding its scandals has not touched this great Regnum Christi Movement.”

“Thus, there is a big ‘slice,’ a great ecclesiastical reality that remains intact and has been serving the Church, especially in the area of religious education and Catholic and Pontifical universities. That is promising.”

Cardinal De Paolis also emphasized the interest of Pope Francis in the current state of the Legion recalling that once Benedict had resigned, he presented a new report on the Chapter’s preparation once Francis was elected, stating that the pontiff “immediately called me.”

“After a few days he wrote me a letter, in which he confirmed me in my work and approved the program I presented,” the cardinal continued, adding that Pope Francis has been “very attentive, very close, and he rightly wants to follow the journey we are undertaking taking.”

Using the pontiff's own words, Cardinal De Paolis stated that “he feels a great responsibility, as the Successor of Peter, to accompany religious and consecrated life.”

Although there was no specific time limit set for the Vatican’s delegation to the Legionaries of Christ, the cardinal explained that the “term was linked to the celebration of the Extraordinary General Chapter.”

Thus, “once the Extraordinary Chapter has been celebrated, the mandate will be over.”

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