Legionaries seek ‘redemption’ in new leader

Troubled congregation seeks break with the past

The Legionaries of Christ have expressed the hope that they can “redeem our painful history and overcome with good the consequences of evil”.

This was the message issued by the movement on February 6 as it sought to finally break with a past dominated by the painful legacy of founder Father Marcial Maciel.

Electing a new leader, Mexican Father Eduardo Robles Gil, the Legionaries’ message offered apologies to the victims of Fr Maciel’s sexual predilections and for members’ “excessive exaltation” of their late leader.

“We are grieved that many victims and other affected persons have waited so long in vain for an apology and an act of reconciliation on the part of Father Maciel.”

The congregation, however, insists, that despite calls from some quarters, the Legionaries of Christ will not disband but will continue with the good works that were the aim of the movement from the outset.

“A religious congregation and its essential features do not have their origin in the person of the founder,” the congregation stated, “they are a gift of God that the Church accepts and approves and that afterwards live in the institute and in its members.”