The Legionaries of Christ are "of Christ" and not "of Maciel", Fr Jesús María Delgado, regional head of the Legionaries of Christ in Spain, has told the religious news site Religión Digital in an upbeat interview. "We will do whatever the Church tells us", he says, in reference to the decision by the Vatican to appoint an external head to oversee the restructuring of the Legion following the revelations of its founder's double life as a philanderer, abuser, and drug addict (see my previous post). And if that means the current Legionary heads resigning, he says, so be it.
He gives an interesting insight into the challenges the Legionaries faced as the dark truths about Maciel came to light -- and why they chose to say nothing or take refuge in denials. He says (my trans):
From the beginning we have tried to tell the truth in such a way that the members could absorb that truth and not expire in the process. When we discovered that Fr Maciel was not who we thought he was, as well as the tremendous personal impact we suffered, we understood that it was our obligation to tell the rest of the family what we ourselves were uncovering. How to tell that, to whom, and when, were very difficult decisions. Our aim was that the truth should be known. But our aim was also not to harm people further, with a crude or violent attitude, or spreading news that we did not know with complete certainty. Some say we were wrong, that we should have understood that we are not a family, we are a large institution, and that we should have held a large press conference with all the international media, instead of enduring this ongoing, drip-drip humiliation. I think it's very difficult to know what would have been best and now it's impossible to change it. What's done is done. Now that we know the truth our action is geared to consoling and giving hope, because our mission, which is to transmit the love of Christ, requires it. Certainly we're not spending this time licking our wounds and lamenting before God, but we are carrying on serving Christ and men, announcing the Good News.
Fr Delgado also suggests that the Legion will emerge stronger, purer, and more humble from its purgation.
The first thing is that we did not choose this. We did not consciously seek to have a founder who has behaved the way [Maciel] did. The second is that God knows why He has allowed what happened to happen, and He will indicate to us how we can remedy it and heal the wounds, with the help of our fellow brothers and sisters in the faith. One only grows through crises and mistakes. We have the hope that, through all this, we will emerge more mature, better prepared to evangelise, more humanly able to understand our own weaknesses and those of others, and more humble, in order better to serve.
On the Legion's future, he adds:
I would like the Legionaries of Christ to emerge stronger from this harsh test, because I am convinced that it is a work of God and called to do great good. I would like that all this adversity we are suffering help us to mature, to be better. Being better means being more humble and so to transmit the love of Christ for our neighbours, because that is what we are here for. I would like it that all this can be done together with those who have suffered, with [Maciel's] victims, because there cannot be justice except with them -- with their recongition, with their healing, and, if God and they desire it, with their forgiveness. That is the future I would like to see.