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Legionaries of Christ Elect New Leaders, Issue Apology

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Catholic News Agency - published on 02/06/14

“We can’t erase the past,” the director noted, emphasizing that “we have to learn the lessons."

The Legionaries of Christ revealed the names of their new general council on Feb. 6, also issuing a formal apology to those hurt by the immoral actions of their founder.

The announcement of the new superiors comes in wake of the Legionaries’ first General Chapter meeting, which began on Jan. 9, and was mandated by Benedict XVI in wake of the revelation of the double-life led by the congregation’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, who is since deceased.

In a Feb. 6 press release, the Legionaries revealed the election of Fr. Eduardo Robles Gil as their new General Director, and Fr. Juan José Arrieta, as Vicar General.

“Since my ordination, I have served in different parts of the world and in different types of ministry: schools, family ministry, administration or as a superior of a Legionary community,” Fr. Eduardo recalled in the press release, “Now, I will have to get used to Rome.”

Fr. Eduardo was elected by the Chapter on Jan. 20, and his new role was personally confirmed by Archbishop José Rodríguez Carballo, O.F.M., secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, on Feb. 6.

In addition to publishing the names of their new superiors, the Legionaries also published their conclusive stance on their founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, and on the path of renewal the Legion of Christ has been traveling.

In the press release detailing their official statements, Fr. Eduardo noted that the General Chapter which has just concluded “marks both an ending and a new beginning.”

“This is what many of the chapter fathers feel and that’s how we have expressed it in the chapter hall,” he said, adding that in order for it to “truly be a new beginning, it is necessary to put the challenges of the past in their place.”

“We can’t erase the past,” the director noted, emphasizing that “we have to learn the lessons, mourn what occurred, trust in God’s mercy and, like St. Paul, run forward in pursuit of the goal of reaching Christ.”

Regarding the actions of founder Marcial Maciel, Fr. Eduardo stated that when “we ponder the magnitude of the evil and scandal caused, we realize that we are under the merciful gaze of God who, with his providence, continues to guide our steps.”

The new director expressed his hope that God will “have mercy” on Fr. Maciel, who passed away in 2008, and expressed his “deep sorrow” at the founder’s acts of abuse, sexually explicit behavior, his “arbitrary use of authority,” and addiction to drugs.

Voicing their “firm condemnation” of the founder’s behavior, Fr. Eduardo expressed the congregation’s grief 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 Fr. Maciel.”

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