"It is not an easy time, but by and large the congregation is sound – as Pope Benedict put it – and the Legionaries are ready to face the challenges."
The Legion has the opportunity to take a "deep, thorough look" at themselves and how they carry out their ministry, he said. Guided by the Pope and Cardinal De Paolis, they will be "changing what needs to be changed," the Legion spokesman said.
According to published reports, some Legion members believe these potential changes are coming about too slowly.
Critics point to the fact that the committee appointed by Cardinal De Paolis includes four Legionaries who were close confidants of the now disgraced Fr. Maciel.
True renewal, these critics charge, will only come if the Cardinal “make heads roll" in the upper echelons of the Legion hierarchy, according to a report by Sandro Magister, editor of the Rome-based website www.chiesa.espressonline.it.
Magister said that Cardinal De Paolis "knows where he's going" while he moves "at the snail's pace typical of the Roman curia, in which he is a perfect example of the old school ways." He predicted that more drastic changes would be seen in the hierarchy by Easter.
One of the heads Magister predicts will "roll," is that of Legion director general, Father Alvaro Corcuera, who recently published a set of guidelines that were aimed at removing the face of Fr. Maciel from the congregation.
The Legion's Rome spokesman explained that Fr. Corcuera's guidelines confirmed an already standard practice in the congregation.
He said leaders and members have been battling Fr. Maciel's memory for some time now.
In 2004, the Vatican began investigations into repeated allegations by former Legion seminarians of misconduct by the founder. After the inquiries into the charges made against Fr. Maciel were completed, Pope Benedict XVI made the rare call in 2006 to banish him to a life of seclusion and prayer.
Fr. Maciel died in 2008, two years ago this month. But the investigations were far from over.
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An internal investigation carried out by the Legion in 2009 revealed that their charismatic founder had sexually abused seminarians and fathered several children. An official Vatican investigation, called an “apostolic visitation,” began in the same year to examine the state of the congregation he founded.
At its conclusion on May 1, 2010, the Holy See rebuked the "very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel” that “in some cases constitute real crimes and manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning."
"Today," said Fr. Schoggl, "there is not a single Legionnaire who thinks that we can relate to our founder as if nothing had happened. On the other hand, this is not about artificially re-writing our history or re-inventing what the life and the mission of this congregation is all about."
He said that they are "moving on, together, with much mutual respect and attentive discernment of the spiritual patrimony of our congregation."
Further steps include a visitation of the consecrated members of the Legion's lay movement, Regnum Christi. Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez of Valladolid, Spain will begin carrying out on-site visits this month for that effort.
The consecrated men and women "view this as a time of great opportunity to improve how they live out their commitment to the Church," said the spokesman.