Pope Greets Legionaries; Visitation to End in March

Benedict XVI Tells 59 New Priests to Learn From St. John Vianney

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VATICAN CITY, DEC. 16, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI today greeted the 59 newly ordained priests of the Legionaries of Christ, who are expecting the apostolic visitation of their congregation to conclude in March.

The Pope exhorted the priests to learn from St. John Vianney, as he greeted them and members of Regnum Christi at the end of the general audience in Paul VI Hall.

The priests, from 11 nations, including Vietnam, were ordained Dec. 12 at the Basilica of St. Paul Outside the Walls.

The Holy Father had also greeted them during Sunday’s Angelus address.

Today he said: “To the new priests, I want to remind you on the occasion of this Year for Priests, to learn from St. John Maria Vianney love for Christ and generous service to the Church. May the gift of yourselves always be complete, full and joyful, never forgetting the Lord’s predilection for your lives.”

The Legion of Christ today announced on its Web site that the apostolic visitation of the congregation, under way since July, is expected to conclude in March. This news was communicated by the Pope’s secretary of state, Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, to the congregation’s general-director, Father Álvaro Corcuera.

Cardinal Bertone also told Father Corcuera that “the five apostolic visitators and other members of the Roman Curia met in early December,” the site reported. “During that meeting, it was agreed that the visitators would finish their work by mid-March of 2010, in order to present their reports to the Holy Father.”

The Web site added, “Any further steps and their timing depend on the Holy See.”

The apostolic visitation was called by the Holy Father after the congregation confirmed in February that the life of their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, included actions gravely contrary to Catholic moral teaching.

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