Pope tells scandal-marred Legion they still haven’t reformed

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has told the Legion of Christ religious order it still has a long road of reform ahead,...

VATICAN CITY (AP) — Pope Francis has told the Legion of Christ religious order it still has a long road of reform ahead, making clear that 10 years of Vatican-mandated rehabilitation didn’t purge it of the toxic influences of its pedophile founder.

In a prepared speech Saturday, Francis told the Legion’s new superiors that there was a “very vast field” of work that still needed be done to correct the Legion’s problems and create a healthy order. He encouraged them to work “energetically in substance, and softly in the means.”

“A change of mentality requires a lot of time to assimilate in individuals and in an institution, so it’s a continual conversion,” Francis said. “A return to the past would be dangerous and senseless.”

The Vatican took over the Legion in 2010 after revelations that its founder, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, sexually abused dozens of his seminarians, fathered at least three children and built a secretive, cult-like order to hide his double life.

Even though the Vatican envoy tasked to run and reform the Legion declared the order cleansed and reconciled with its past in 2014, new scandals have recently emerged calling into question whether his mission was really accomplished. Victims of other Legion priests have come forward, indicating that the order’s culture of abuse extended far beyond Maciel’s crimes and involved a high-level cover-up of superiors who are still in power.

Francis had been scheduled to meet with the leadership of the Mexican order and its Regnum Christi consecrated branches, who have been meeting in Rome this month to elect new superiors and set policy decisions. Francis skipped the audience because he is sick. But the text of his prepared remarks was given to the Legion and released publicly by the Vatican press office.

28 February 2022, 12:37 | Views: 172

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