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Fr. Berg, a priest of great prudence, is right: the Legion of Christ needs to disappear

February 15, 2012

The protracted angst over the supposed “future” of the Legion of Christ and its affiliated organizations has been difficult to watch these past years, but with other matters pressing me, I have offered little commentary on the process. Today’s news that a number of consecrated women are leaving the Legion to live under the authority of local bishops is, I think, good news for them. Even better, it occasioned these remarks from Fr. Thomas Berg, a priest whom I hold in the highest regard.

Per the article linked above, “The Rev. Thomas Berg, an American who left the Legion in 2009 [and who was promptly incardinated into the Archdiocese of New York, lucky them], said the only way forward for the Legion is for groups like these to emerge and ‘step outside the Legion shell and propose a renewed form of religious life.’ He noted that there are historical precedents: ‘Franciscan reform groups have emerged from within the Franciscan family time and again to ‘reform’ the order and constitute a new kind of Franciscan community,’ he said in an email. He said the difference was that the Legion itself wouldn’t survive the formation of such groups. ‘But that is precisely what must happen: the Legion of Christ as we knew it needs to disappear. And a purified, new religious family needs to emerge,’” emphasis added.

Fr. Berg’s words reflect exactly my own opinion regarding the Legion of Christ. It needs to disappear. + + +

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