At the conclusion of the Legion of Christ’s general chapter, the order’s recently elected general director, Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil, confirmed their commitment to Christ and his reign.
“The center of our spirituality will be Christ, as it always has been. We are Christ-centered; the ‘Regnum Christi’ is the kingdom of Christ,” Fr. Robles Gil told CNA Feb. 25, the concluding day of the order’s general chapter.
“Christ is our life; he is the ruler. We look at him for inspiration. As the Gospel says, he is the way, the truth and the life of every Christian, every priest, and every religious -- especially of every Legionary.”
Fr. Robles Gil expressed his gratitude to Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, who was appointed governor of the Legion by Benedict XVI in 2010 after an apostolic visitation determined the order needed “profound re-evaluation.”
In 2006, the order's founder, Fr. Marcel Maciel, had been removed from public ministry and invited to a life of penitence and prayer, as it was discovered he had led a secret life of impropriety.
The Legion’s general chapter began Jan. 8 and was charged with establishing a new constitution for the order and electing its new leaders.
Fr. Robles Gil expressed joy at the chapter’s successful conclusion, saying, “now we have to look at our life and how to implement the new Constitutions and put things in action.”
The new text of the constitutions will begin governing the life of the Legion once they have been approved by the Holy See.
The chapter closed with a Mass said by Cardinal De Paolis; it was concelebrated by Fr. Robles Gil and seven other newly elected members of the Legion of Christ’s leadership.
In his homily, Cardinal De Paolis reviewed the two principal topics of the general chapter: to “give the Congregation a new general direction,” and the “revision of the Constitution.”
He attributed special importance to the constitutions, since they embody the order’s “charism and spirituality, the spiritual patrimony and the identity of the congregation, and the norms necessary to conserve and promote it.”
“The constitutional text is the rule on which the Legionary is called to model his life,” he summarized.
Reflecting on Fr. Maciel, the cardinal noted that the chapter had included “an ample, objective and serene evaluation of the figure of Maciel and his relation to the Congregation,” concluding that the “personal behavior of the founder cannot be seen as personal faults of the other Legionaries, as if these they should be held responsible for his actions.”
“Rather, the Legion itself can be seen as a victim of the founder’s unwarranted actions.”
Cardinal De Paolis then stated that the “Legionaries have been reconciled with themselves, with their history, with the world, and the Church … they have looked inside themselves with a new and purified glance.”
Regarding the order’s renewed direction, Cardinal De Paolis pointed to the family and culture as the main fields of evangelization: “In renewing their vocations, their self-giving to Christ and to one another, they have been freed of the burden that weighed on their backs.”
“They have gone out of themselves and have found their place within the whole Regnum Christi Movement, participating in a vocation that they share with lay people that live their baptism and bear living witness to the faith they profess in their families and in culture, and with lay men and women who reinforce their witness in the world with the added profession of the evangelical counsels.”
Fr. Paul Habsburg, superior of the Legion’s apostolic community in Paris, later commented that “with this renewal, the Church has newly approved us as a congregation.”
“A charism is given to the Church through a man. As soon as that man, the founder, entrusts this charism to the Church, it does not belong to him anymore, but to the Church. And the Church lives it through the members. Whatever happens in the life of the founder, cannot destroy that charism anymore.”
Prior to the final blessing of the Mass, Cardinal De Paolis invited the Legion to “walk along the path of renewal, to be of service again to the Church.”
“I invite all members of Regnum Christi and the women of consecrated life to be united to the Legion, while each one keeps working in his specific field of evangelization.”