VATICAN CITY, JULY 9, 2010 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI appointed Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, as papal delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, the Vatican is reporting.
Jesuit Father Federico Lombardi, director of the Vatican press office, clarified today in a statement issued on Vatican Radio that Archbishop De Paolis “also keeps his function at present of president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See.”
“He will meet personally as soon as possible with the present superiors of the Congregation of the Legionaries. It will be the delegate himself, in his new function, who will communicate first of all with the Legionaries and establish the ways, times and forms of communication of the main aspects of the mandate received from the Holy Father,” added Father Lombardi.
In a statement published on the Web site of the Legionaries of Christ, the congregation “once again express their deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his fatherly solicitude, and put themselves completely at the disposal of Archbishop De Paolis.”
The Holy See had announced the Pope’s intention to appoint a delegate for the Legionaries of Christ on May 1, in a communiqué issued after the Holy Father had met with the five bishops in charge of carrying out the apostolic visit to that religious congregation.
Also announced at that time was the creation of a commission of study of the Constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ. Father Lombardi stated that Archbishop De Paolis will communicate to the congregation the composition of that commission.
According to the Vatican spokesman, the spirit of these measures of the Holy Father, as was said in the communiqué of last May 1, is that of support and help on the part of the Church in the exacting path of purification and renewal that awaits the congregation.
In that note, Benedict XVI renewed his encouragement to the Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi, the apostolic lay movement of the congregation, and said that the conduct of Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legion of Christ, “has caused serious consequences in the life and structure of the Legion, to the point that it requires a path of profound revision.”
The Vatican indicated “the need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving the true nucleus, that of ‘militia Christi,’ which characterizes the apostolic and missionary action of the Church and which is not identified with efficiency at all costs.”
Archbishop De Paolis
Archbishop Velasio De Paolis, who will be 75 on Sept. 19, is a religious of the Congregation of the Missionaries of St. Charles Borromeo (known as the Scalabrinians). In addition to heading the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs, he is a member of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature and consultor for three dicasteries: the Congregation for Eastern Churches; the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life; and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.
Born in Sonnino (in the Lazio region, approximately 75 miles southeast of Rome), he made his perpetual profession as member of the Scalabrinians on Oct. 4, 1958, and received priestly ordination on March 8, 1961.
He has a doctorate in canon law from the Pontifical Gregorian University of Rome, a licentiate in theology from the Pontifical University of St. Thomas Aquinas (Angelicum), and a licentiate in jurisprudence from La Sapienza University of Rome. He also completed studied in moral theology at the Academia Alfonsina.
From 1965 to 1970 he was professor of moral theology and canon law at the Scalabrinian Fathers’ International College in Rome (1970-1974), while at the same time being vicar general.
In 1974, he was called to the general government of his congregation as adviser and attorney general. From 1971 to 1980 he was extraordinary professor and, since 1983, ordinary professor of the Faculty of Canon Law of the Pontifical Gregorian University. Since 1987, he has also been a professor at the Pontifical Urban University, becoming dean of the Faculty of Canon Law in 1998.
He is the author of numerous books and articles, and has been an assiduous collaborator of the scientific review “Periodica de re canonica.” He is a member of several associations dedicated to the study of Canon Law.
Over all these years he has also been dedicated to apostolic activity, in particular to the preaching of Spiritual Exercises.
On Dec. 30, 2003, Pope John Paul II appointed him secretary of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature where he was already an officer. He received his episcopal consecration on Feb. 24, 2004.
On April 12, 2008, Benedict XVI appointed him president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, raising him to the dignity of archbishop.