Rome, Italy, Oct 10, 2011 / 08:24 am America/Denver (CNA).
Zenit news service’s six editors resigned their positions Oct. 7, citing their disagreement with the Legionaries of Christ’s plans to increase the outlet's ties to the order.
In a statement signed by the six editors, and addressed to Zenit readers, the editors state, "After years of fruitful collaboration with the Legionaries of Christ, we disagree with the decision of the congregation to underline the institutional dependence of the agency on the Legion.
"The initial vision of ZENIT was never to make it a service of a particular congregation, but rather of the universal Church. This has been the spirit with which we have worked throughout the years, and the spirit we could not betray."
"We warmly thank all our readers for their loyalty and support throughout the years, and we hope to be able to continue to work for the Church and for all those who seek the truth, in another manner, but always with the same spirit," they said.
Gisèle Plantec (French), Mirko Testa (Italian), Inma Álvarez (Spanish), Karna Swanson (English), Alexandre Ribeiro (Portuguese) and Tony Assaf (Arabic) have all informed the CEO of Zenit, Alberto Ramírez Puig, of their departure. The position of editor in German is vacant.
Zenit is a news service promoted by the Legionaries of Christ, which has expressed its desire to change the identity of Zenit from an independent news agency at the service of the Church to one with a more institutional dependence on the congregation.
In 1997, Jesús Colina founded Zenit and asked the Legionaries of Christ to act as spiritual advisors to ensure fidelity to the magisterium. For the past 14 years, the agency has worked independently of the congregation.
Colina was informed earlier this year that the Legionaries wanted to change the identity of the agency, and asked for his resignation, which he tendered Sept. 27.
At the time, he cited a lack of mutual trust and transparency between himself and the Legion, in both editorial and financial matters, and a fundamental disagreement with the future direction of Zenit.
Zenit publishes in seven languages and sends its daily service to some 450,000 subscribers.