Two priests added to Legion of Christ advisory council

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis
Cardinal Velasio De Paolis


The general council assisting the superior general of the Legion of Christ will be temporarily expanded with the addition of two priests recommended by members of the religious congregation.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, who is the papal delegate to the Legion, chose Fr. Juan José Arrieta, LC, and Fr. Jesús Villagrasa, LC, from the 15 candidates who received the most votes from all voting members.

Voting members included all priests, religious with perpetual vows and religious who have made their first renewal of vows.

The two priests will join the current four advisors assisting the Legion’s superior general Fr. Álvaro Corcuera, LC, in the governance of the congregation.

Fr. Arrieta was born on August 19, 1956 in Spain. He joined the congregation in April 1973 and was ordained to the priesthood in August 1983.

He has held responsibility in the congregation’s Center for Higher Studies and in the Legion’s apostolate in Rome.

Since 2007, he has been a pastor at the parish of Our Lady of Guadalupe and St. Philip the Martyr in Rome, the Legion reports.

Fr. Villagrasa was born in Spain on April 5, 1963. He joined the Legion in September 1981 and was ordained to the priesthood in November 1994. Since 1999, he has served as a metaphysics professor in the philosophy department of the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum College.

He is a confessor and spiritual director at the Center for Higher Studies in Rome.

The Legion is discerning its future after revelations that its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, led a double life which included sexual abuse and fathering children.

Cardinal De Paolis has also created an outreach commission whose members will listen to those requesting a response from the congregation because of Fr. Maciel or in relation to him. They will write a detailed report for the papal delegate, who will decide what the Legion should do in each case.

The commission will not intervene in cases awaiting decisions from civil or ecclesiastical courts.

Msgr. Mario Marchesi, one of the papal delegate’s personal advisers, will head the commission in order to ensure impartiality in its work.

Fr. Corcuera said that the commission’s purpose is to “continue facing with seriousness and responsibility” regarding Fr. Maciel’s conduct and the consequences it has had on some people.

“Insofar as it is humanly possible, we want to close this chapter in its more painful aspects, seek reconciliation, and allow justice and charity to prevail.”

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