Papal delegate appointed for the Legionaries of Christ

Source: FSSPX News

Archbishop Velasio De Paolis

On July 9, Benedict XVI appointed a papal delegate for the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, namely Archbishop Velasio De Paolis.  This Italian prelate, who serves as president of the Prefecture of the Economic Affairs of the Holy See, will be in charge of guiding the “profound revision” of that congregation which Rome called for after the toxic revelations about the double life of its founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel (1920-2008), a Mexican priest. See DICI no. 214 dated April 8, 2010.

This appointment follows an eight-month-long apostolic visitation of the congregation that was ordered by Benedict XVI.  The director of the Vatican press office, Fr. Federico Lombardi, noted that Archbishop De Paolis would “meet personally as soon as possible with the present superiors of the Congregation”. Furthermore it will be the Italian prelate’s duty to “communicate … with the Legionaries and to establish the ways, times and forms of communication of the mandate received from the Holy Father,” and to create a commission to study the constitutions of the congregation.

On their website the congregation noted that “the practical details” concerning Archbishop De Paolis’ mission would be determined “in the coming weeks”.  The Legionaries of Christ expressed once again “their deep gratitude to the Holy Father for his fatherly solicitude”, and stated that they “put themselves completely at the disposal of Archbishop De Paolis”.

After serving for five years as secretary of the Supreme Court of the Apostolic Signature, Archbishop De Paolis became president of the Prefecture for the Economic Affairs of the Holy See in April 2008.  The 74-year-old archbishop, who could be created a cardinal in the next consistory, is also a consultor for several dicasteries of the Roman Curia, including the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and the Pontifical Council for Legislative Texts.

On July 10, the day after his appointment, Archbishop Velasio De Paolis celebrated a Mass at the Center for Higher Studies of the Legionaries of Christ in Rome, Regina Apostolorum University.  On that occasion he announced that the pope had asked him to guide the congregation to convene “an extraordinary chapter” during which “the new text of the constitutions” would be approved. “Let us travel this path of renewal with humility and faith,” Archbishop De Paolis recommended; he then reminded the Legionaries that, even though the Church “accompanies” them, their “vocation” and their “congregation” are “in (their) hands” and are their “responsibility”. During this first visit the papal delegate conversed also with those in charge of the congregation and submitted to them his nomination letter, signed by Benedict XVI, along with a letter that he himself wrote in which he explains his duties, including that of “governing” the congregation “in the name of the pope”.  (Sources:  Zenit/Imedia – DICI no. 219 dated July 24, 2010)