VATICAN CITY, MARCH 31, 2009 (Zenit.org).- Benedict XVI is appointing a team of prelates for an apostolic visitation to the institutions of the Legion of Christ.
The work of the apostolic visitors will consist in getting to know the operations and apostolates of the congregation. The visitors will then compile a report of their findings and submit it to the Holy See.
The decision of the Holy Father was communicated to the Legion by Cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, the Pope’s secretary of state, in a letter sent to the general director, Father Alvaro Corcuera. The letter was released today on the congregation’s Web site.
Last February it was revealed that the congregation’s founder, Father Marcial Maciel, who died last year and was buried in his native Cotija, Mexico, had a relationship with a woman and fathered a daughter.
The cardinal stated that “in these delicate moments His Holiness Benedict XVI renews his solidarity with and prayers for the Legionaries of Christ, the members of Regnum Christi,” the corresponding lay movement, and “those who are spiritually close to you.”
He emphasized the “fundamental importance” of their mission, saying, “The Holy Father is aware of the noble ideals that inspire you and the fortitude and prayerful spirit with which you are facing the current vicissitudes, and he encourages you to continue seeking the good of the Church and society by means of your own distinctive initiatives and institutions.”
Cardinal Bertone continued: “In this regard, you can always count on the help of the Holy See, so that with truth and transparency, in a climate of fraternal and constructive dialogue, you will overcome the present difficulties.
“In this respect, the Holy Father has decided to carry out an Apostolic Visitation to the institutions of the Legionaries of Christ through a team of prelates.”
In a letter to all Legionaries announcing the apostolic visitation, Father Corcuera stated: “With deep gratitude we have experienced the closeness of the Holy See at this phase in the life of our congregation.
“The Holy Father and his closest collaborators have confirmed us in our mission at the service of the Church, and with fatherly concern they have offered us their advice and support.”
The general director notes his appreciation to the Pope for “offering us this additional help to face our present vicissitudes related to the grave facts in our father founder’s life that already were the object of the investigations by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which were concluded in May of 2006, and those which have come to light more recently.”
He added, “We are deeply saddened and sorry, and we sincerely ask for forgiveness from God and from those who have been hurt through this.”
“Full of confidence in divine Providence and in our Mother the Church, guardian of the authentic good of her children, we are now preparing to receive the Apostolic Visitors who, over the next months, will visit us to familiarize themselves closely with the life and apostolate of the Legion of Christ,” affirmed Father Corcuera.
He concluded: “Let us reaffirm our commitment, and lift up our prayers to God that he will grant us the grace to continue to seek the holiness to which he is calling us, and that we will be able to bring to its fullness the charism he has entrusted to us.”
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On ZENIT’s Web page:
Letter from Cardinal Bertone: http://zenit.org/article-25527?l=english
Letter from Father Corcuera: http://zenit.org/article-25526?l=english