Legionaries of Christ General Chapter Begins With Mass

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis Says Renewal Has Only Completed «Process of Preparation»

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Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, the Pontifical Delegate for the Legionaries of Christ, has called on the congregation to continue on the path of renewal at the opening Mass of the Extraordinary General Chapter of the Legion.

The Chapter will appoint new constitutions and a new government for the Congregation after 3 ½ years of renewal which was overseen by Cardinal De Paolis. However, he stressed, “we have only completed the process of preparation.”

“The constitutions that you give yourselves will therefore not be simply a code of laws that unites you only externally in discipline, but the text will be an expression of a common vocation, a common ideal, a common mission, a common path to healing, an impulse to strive in common striving for the fulfillment of God’s plan for the congregation and for each of you, for the glory of God and service to the Church and to the Legion,” he said.

In choosing the new government of the Congregation, Cardinal De Paolis encouraged the members to preserve its charism which can only be “guaranteed when authority is exercised as a service.”

The Pontifical Delegate acknowledged that new laws and constitutions are not sufficient; a new spirit must also be embraced to continue the path of renewal. “You really have to have a new heart, both on the part of those electing and those elected,” he said.  

“To the degree that it depends on you, have present only God and the good of the Church and the Legion, and choose those whom you deem most worthy and suitable for the ministry of authority.  For this, it is necessary to free your hearts from resentment, jealousy and envy, and to free your memory so as not to feel burdened by memories that blind and cause suffering.”

Encouraging them to continue in their efforts, Cardinal De Paolis expressed the confidence of the Church in the Legion’s path towards reform after accusations against their founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, came to light.

“Suffering has purified you, matured you and made you experience God’s grace and love, who has called you to share in the mystery of redemption through the cross and through sorrow,” he said.

“You have participated in the pain of those who have suffered because of some members of the Legion. You have chosen the only way the Gospel knows for the redemption of evil: not escape, not rejection, not the condemnation of others, but participation, solidarity, and love that enters into sin and sorrow so as to redeem them from the inside.”

Concluding his homily, Cardinal De Paolis prayed that Holy Spirit would continue to work in those attending the General Chapter ”to cooperate with Christ’s redeeming sacrifice for the salvation of your congregation.”

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