Rome, Italy, Jan 21, 2020 / 15:48 pm
The Legionaries of Christ on Jan. 20 opened its 2020 Ordinary General Chapter in Rome, which convenes every six years with the duty to elect the general government for the order and to address the most important matters related to the mission and identity of the congregation.
The opening of the general chapter comes a week after Pope Francis dismissed from the clerical state a Legionary priest, Fernando Martinez Suárez, for sexual abuse, and a month after an internal commission of the Legion published a report saying that since its founding in 1941, 33 priests of the congregation had committed sexual abuse of minors, victimizing 175 children.
One of the chapter fathers has already voluntarily decided not to participate in the chapter because of his connection to the now-laicized former priest and his alleged mishandling of abuse cases.
This will also be the first general chapter meeting since Pope Francis approved new constitutions for the troubled congregation in Nov. 2014, following an extraordinary general chapter earlier that year. At that meeting, the current general director, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, received mandates to implement changes in the legionary formation process and to implement safe environment policies for the care and protection of minors.