The Vatican has announced a comprehensive reorganization of the "Legionaries of Christ" as a consequence of the scandal surrounding its founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado. The direction of the congregation and its internal power structures would have to be fundamentally revised, says a communique from the Vatican press office.
Pope Benedict XVI. Will appoint a commissioner for the communion and establish a study commission, the Holy See said. At the same time, he stressed that the majority of the members of the order had not known about the events surrounding Maciel and were doing exemplary work. Previously, Pope Benedict XVI had appointed himself. on Friday, the five Apostolic Visitators informed him about the state of the investigation into the low branches of the Legionaries of Christ. In March 2009, the Vatican ordered an investigation into Maciel's sexual abuse of seminarians and abuses in the community's lowly houses. The "objectively immoral" behavior of the founder of the order was confirmed by incontrovertible testimony, the Vatican communique said. Maciel's actions were an expression of an unscrupulous life devoid of true religious sentiment, it said. However, a large part of the members of the order had not been aware of these circumstances. Through the trust and silence of those around him, the Mexican priest had managed to conceal his misdeeds and highlight his own role as a charismatic founding figure, he said. At the end of March, the Legionaries of Christ officially distanced themselves from their founder. They also confirmed that he was the father of three children. The superior general of the "Legionaries," Alvaro Corcuera, had already asked Maciel's abuse victims for an apology in November 2009. A "purification" of the order also requires a sincere confrontation with victims of sexual abuse inside and outside the congregation, the communique states. In addition, a conscientious examination of Maciel's system of exercising power is necessary. At the same time, the Vatican stressed that the Pope does not abandon the members of the order in their difficult situation. The Legionaries of Christ are a worldwide active community of pontifical right. Founded in 1941 by Marcial Maciel Degollado in Mexico, the congregation currently includes more than 800 priests and 2.500 seminarians in 22 countries. Bishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Spain (Bilbao), Archbishop Charles Chaput of the United States (Denver), Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello of Chile (Concepcion), Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi of Mexico (Tepic) and Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Italy (Alessandria) were in charge of the Legionaries of Christ investigation. The first phase of the investigation, which began last July, was completed in March.