“Long way to go”

The Legionaries of Christ order began its general chapter in Rome on Monday. The topics have not yet been determined. Undoubtedly, however, it will be about preventing sexual abuse, the religious community spokesman said.

For the first time, the campaign, which will last until 27. The meeting, which will last until February, will be held in parallel with the two general assemblies of the communities of consecrated women and men, which since September have merged with the order to form the Regnum Christi federation. New leadership elections are coming up in all three communities.

The substantive topics of the deliberations have not yet been determined. However, there will undoubtedly be a focus on the prevention of sexual abuse and "preventive reappraisal," the spokesman for the order, Karl-Olaf Bergmann, said in response to a query. Ten years after the start of a fundamental reform, "not everything has been achieved by a long way", he said.

Justice for victims of abuse

It was "inevitable" that perpetrators from their own ranks would be held accountable, the spokesman said. Justice must be done for victims of abuse, he said. There was an awareness that previous solutions for reparations were "unsatisfactory for those affected".

Bergmann said a "phase of truth" must now be followed by a "phase of justice". On the subject of prevention, he stressed that state authorities are now being called in even for borderline violations below the threshold of punishability.

Whether the Federation will be received by Pope Francis is still open; usually there is an audience at the end of such general chapters. By their own account, the Legionnaires currently number around 1.540 members active in 21 countries around the world.

Sexual assault by the founder of a religious order

The superior general is 67-year-old Mexican Eduardo Robles Gil. The Legionaries' last general chapter was held in 2014; it was preceded by a serious crisis in the order and a process of renewal that lasted several years.

After moral lapses by the order's founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado (1920-2008), became known, and in light of deficiencies in the internal governance structures, Benedict XVI ordered. in May 2010, sweeping reforms to. The community has since distanced itself from its founder.

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