VATICAN CITY, NOV. 26, 2004 (
The Holy See has granted official approval of the statutes of Regnum Christi, an ecclesial movement that was started by Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ.

Archbishop Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, read a formal statement of the approval Thursday at the end of the Mass in the Basilica of St. Mary Major, in which he ordained 59 Legionaries to the priesthood.

The Vatican dicastery's decree of approval, dated today, the 60th anniversary of Father Maciel's priestly ordination, "establishes that the Regnum Christi Movement is the specific instrument of the apostolate of the Legion of Christ, to which it is united in an indivisible way."

"Its end is the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ among people through the sanctification of its members, in the state and condition of life to which God has called them, and through a personal and organized apostolic action at the service of the Church and its pastors," it adds.

The decree is signed by Archbishop Rodé and by Archbishop Piergiorgio Silvano Nesti, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

The decree continue: "Its specific charism is the same as that of the Legion of Christ and consists in knowing, living and preaching the commandment of love that Jesus Christ the Redeemer came to bring us by his incarnation. Well known, in fact, is the work carried out by the Legionaries of Christ and the members of the Regnum Christi apostolate movement in building the civilization of Christian justice and love."

"The founder of the Legion of Christ and of Regnum Christi presented to the Apostolic See the 'Statutes' of the Regnum Christi apostolate movement requesting their definitive approval. The Supreme Pontiff received this request paternally and with his supreme authority has approved them," it states.

Regnum Christi is composed of lay people, consecrated members, deacons and priests. It has some 65,000 members worldwide. Together with the Legionaries, the movement has established 22 university centers and 158 schools.

The movement also coordinates the work of 340,000 active volunteers in social action programs, and in family, missionary and evangelizing projects.