Austin Ruse calls Legionaries to be faithful to their charism

Legionary priests at an ordination ceremony
Legionary priests at an ordination ceremony


The president of the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), Austin Ruse, has penned a letter calling on the Legionaries of Christ to remain faithful to their charism because, as he writes, despite their failings of their founder, it has brought souls into Heaven.

"There are souls in Heaven because of the charism of the Legion of Christ and of Regnum Christi," begins Ruses’ letter. And this is to be attributed to "the spiritual insights and writings of the Legion's founder Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado," he says.

Summarizing the reactions to the news that Fr. Maciel led a life contrary to his own teachings, Ruse writes, "We do not know the whole story and the bad news will probably get worse. The inevitable braying in the media and in the blogosphere is deafening."

"Old clubs," such as the Legion being secretive, being aggressive in recruiting and revering their founder too highly "are being pulled out to beat the Legion," accuses Ruse, while noting that this has not prevented successive Popes from endorsing the movement.

In Ruses’ analysis, the scandal surrounding the Legion’s founder "is first and foremost a family tragedy" that "starts with the woman who is the mother of Fr. Maciel's child" and extends to "hundreds of thousands of others." He also points out that the daughter fathered by Fr. Maciel is also a victim of the tragedy since she "has the right to the married love of her parents, something she could never have."

The ultimate betrayal, writes Ruse, is that "this spiritual father asked his sons and daughters to defend him all the while knowing he was guilty of something abominable."

In spite of "what Marcial Maciel has done," the C-FAM president maintains that "the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi remain one of the bright lights in this era of the Church."

"A shadow is cast over all of this because of the profound moral failings of their founder. But his failings do not nullify all the good that they have done and will do for the Church and for the Kingdom of God."

When Austin Ruse calls to mind the Legion, he thinks not of the scandal but of Legionary priests like Frs. Thomas Berg, Thomas Williams and Owen Kern. He thinks of Gladys Sweeny who runs the Institute for Psychological Sciences and the many faithful Legion and Regnum Christi members he knows.

Addressing the "thousands of the faithful of the Legion and Regnum Christi who are hurting today," Ruse says, "remember the good and holy priests and all the members of the movement who are the charism. Ignore the idle chatter. Hew close to the charism. Either it is false and will die, or it is true and will be your guide to Heaven."

Austin Ruses’ full letter can be read here:


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