.- The Legionaries of Christ have appointed Father Jaime Rodriguez as their new general secretary. The 35-year-old Spaniard replaces Fr. Everisto Sada, who held the post for the past six years.
In his new position, Fr. Rodriguez will serve as the right-hand man of the Legion’s general director, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera.
The Legion stressed in an Oct. 4 statement that Fr. Rodriguez’s new post is purely administrative.
“As stipulated in the constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ, the general secretary has no authority on his own,” the press release said.
“His task is to assist the general director of the congregation in everything that has to do with issues like official correspondence, council meetings, calendars, and appointments.”
Attempts by CNA to interview the new general secretary were declined by a spokesman on the grounds that his task is “mainly one of internal coordination and assistance to the general director. The general secretary of a religious congregation is not a ‘public figure,’ so to say.”
Such statements are perhaps a response to those who suggest that Fr. Rodriguez’s predecessor played a larger role in the Legion’s governance.
The Vatican is currently reviewing both the purpose and constitution of the Legion. The process is being led by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis.
He was appointed as “papal delegate” last year after a Vatican investigation condemned the deceased founder of the congregation, Fr. Marcial Maciel, as a being guilty of “serious and objectively immoral behavior” as well as “real crimes.”
Fr. Maciel had sexually abused seminarians over many years and fathered several children with different women. He died in 2008, at the age of 87. The Vatican report summed up his life as “devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling.”
Hints about how the new general secretary views his religious order and his new role can perhaps be found in a Jan. 2008 article posted on the Legion’s website.
“The Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi are only one part of a bigger Body, which is the Church, rich in vocations and charisms,” said Fr. Rodriguez.
“I face the future with enthusiasm, with the desire of contributing my grain of sand, big or little, so that more and more men and women will know Christ and love one another,” he wrote.
Fr. Rodriguez hails from Madrid, Spain,where he attended a high school run by the Legion of Christ. He is the fourth child of six, and has two sisters – Marta and Gloria – who are consecrated women in the lay branch of the Legion, Regnum Christi.
He recalled in the article how he traveled the path to the priesthood. “In 1992, they invited me to spend Holy Week in the novitiate of the Legionaries of Christ in Salamanca.”
“From the moment I entered, I was impressed to see 200 young men in their cassocks, in an atmosphere of silence and prayer, in poverty… but above all, I saw joy and charity. I was very impressed with how they treated each other.”
In Salamanca, Fr. Rodriguez studied classical humanities before going onto to do three years of youth work in the Spanish city of Valencia. From 1995 to 2001 he directed Legion-run summer camps at Santa Maria del Monte near Avila. He then obtained a licentiate in philosophy and theology from the Legion’s Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College in Rome.
Since 2005 he has lived in Rome and worked at the Legionaries’ General Directorate. He was ordained a priest in 2008.