Thursday, March 19, 2009

Father Bannon's remarks

Legionaries of Christ Director of Vocations, Rev. Anthony Bannon, LC, with the first few minutes of a teleconference “town hall meeting” on March 18 at 8pm Eastern, addressed the Maciel scandal in these words:

The unexpected events that I mentioned have to do with the news about the serious failings of our father founder, that came to us as a total surprise, that have been very difficult to accept, but accept them we must.

This phone conference is not a news conference on these events. The time is not yet mature for such a conference, because the Legion is in constant contact with the Holy See. There are elements and facts that still need to be investigated, and any steps in this regard have to be taken very prudently without rushing. But I just wanted to assure you, for those of you who had questions or were wondering about it, we are working on it.

I do want to express emphatically that we are deeply sorry and apologetic to anyone who’s been hurt by these actions, hurt or scandalized. We are sorry for any victims. We know that our directors are quietly trying to get in touch with possible victims. We are deeply sorry for any scandal that has been caused.

Many of you in this regard over these past few weeks have gotten in touch with us to tell us you’re praying for us specially at this time so let me express my extreme gratitude to you for your support and your prayers over these past weeks.

One of the main reasons many of you have supported the Legion is our fidelity to the Holy See. I want to assure you, that that point of our spirituality is not about to change, nor will it never change, I hope. Especially in this situation, anything the Holy Father sees appropriate to ask of us, anything he wants of us, we will do that and we will do it happily.

So this brings back to the first point I wanted to share with you today. As a matter of fact, our trials have been a blessing. You and our supporters have always been very kind to us, many people who have seen the formation we give our young men praise us. Over the years we’ve received many accolades from many quarters, from people in authority in the Church and in public life. Our apostolates have been growing tremendously. All of this is good, but we are only human and therefore all of this is also a danger. The danger is that we focus on ourselves, we get overconfident, that we begin to feel superior, in a word, there’s a real danger of us losing our focus.

The present situation has helped to bring us back where we belong. This new experience of our weakness has brought us right back to the center, the core of what we are as priests and religious, and what we’re doing in our seminaries. It has made us review our actions to make sure that we keep Christ and no one or nothing else at the center of our lives. There is a greater and more specific awareness that it is Christ that we are following. It is him we are seeking and no one or nothing else.

Our constitutions were approved 25 and a half years ago. At that time it was like the Church took what we were, our constitutions, our charism, out of our hands. It was seen as a charism that came from God, but it was taken for all practical purposes out of our hands and out of our founder’s hands. For the 25 years that have gone by not even he could change them, without going through a process. In other words, what the church has guaranteed as a valid charism, it also protects, and the Church has said it’s a valid charism, a valid path to holiness, and a valid work of apostolate.

Our apostolic movement Regnum Christi was approved explicitly 4 and a half years ago, in a similar fashion, which means that both in the formation of our seminarians and in our communities of apostolate we will work from and toward what the Church has approved in order to make it a reality in our lives. It means an even greater effort to examine ourselves to make sure we are what we are supposed to be, what the Church expects us to be, in precisely what the Church has approved. This is very beneficial for us, as I was saying.

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