Delegate Has Full Faculties in Guiding Legion's Renewal

Vatican Decree Clarifies Role for Archbishop De Paolis

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ROME, JULY 25, 2010 ( Benedict XVI has given the papal delegate for the Legion of Christ full faculties to govern the congregation for as long as is needed to complete the path of renewal, revise the constitutions and convoke an extraordinary general chapter.

These faculties for Archbishop Velasio De Paolis are described in a decree from Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state. Archbishop De Paolis presented the decree last Wednesday during his second meeting with the general council of the congregation. The Legion published the decree on its Web site on Friday.

It also published the June 16 letter of Benedict XVI to Archishop De Paolis, in which he named him the papal delegate following the recently completed apostolic visit to the congregation. The letter affirms that the visitation, «besides the sincere zeal and fervent religious life of a great number of the congregation’s members, [made clear] the need and urgency to undertake a path of in-depth revision of the institute’s charism.»

In 11 points, the decree establishes the «specifications and instructions approved by the Supreme Pontiff regarding the modalities in which the papal delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ will fulfill his office.»

Broad authority

In the first place, the decree establishes that the «broad authority granted by the Holy Father to the papal delegate, to be exercised in the name of the Supreme Pontiff himself, covers the entire institute. It extends over all the superiors at the various levels — general, provincial, and local — all communities, and the individual religious. This authority regards all the problems proper to the religious institute and the delegate may always exercise it when in his judgment it is necessary for the good of the institute itself, even overruling the constitutions.»

The second point indicates that the congregation’s superiors at all levels exercise their authority «according to the constitutions and under the authority of the same papal delegate.» Therefore, the decree clarifies, the current superiors remain in their posts «unless it becomes necessary to provide otherwise.»

A third point establishes that the papal delegate must approve the decisions regarding the general governance of the congregation, including «decisions regarding persons — admission to novitiate, profession, priesthood; appointment and transfer of personnel; apostolic and formation choices — seminaries, academic institutions, schools; and extraordinary administrative matters or the disposal of assets.»

<p>Available for consultation

The Vatican decree affirms that everyone «has open access to the delegate and all can deal personally with him. The delegate, in turn, has the power to intervene wherever he sees fit, including in the internal government of the institute, on all levels.»

Archbishop De Paolis will be assisted by «four personal advisors,» the decree establishes, who «may be assigned specific tasks, particularly visits ad referendum.»

«The paramount task of the papal delegate is to initiate, accompany, and complete the revision of the constitutions,» the Vatican decree clarifies. And in this task, it adds, «All members of the institute must collaborate […] both as individuals and communities, following a plan to be drawn up and activated from the outset.»

Regnum Christi

The decree calls for «a commission for the revision of the constitutions is to be created as soon as possible on the various levels of the institute, with the participation especially of the members of the institute itself, who must feel personally responsible for revising and rewriting their own plan of Gospel living, always in harmony with the teaching of the Church.»

Archbishop De Paolis will be the president of this commission.

As well, the archbishop will coordinate the apostolic visitation to the Regnum Christi Movement, which was announced May 1 in the communiqué from the Holy See at the conclusion of the apostolic visit to the Legion of Christ.

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