It seems that the Holy Father has done pretty much what I figured he would do regarding the Legionaries of Christ: he effectively put them on "double secret probation", as it were.
Pope Benedict XVI will appoint an apostolic delegate to supervise the Legionaries of Christ, the Vatican announced on May 1.
The Saturday announcement from the Vatican press office came a day after the five bishops who had conducted an apostolic visitation of the Legionaries presented their report. In a strongly worded statement, the Vatican indicated that the bishops had reached a "widely convergent evaluation and a shared opinion" on the need for "profound re-evaluation" of the religious order.
The details of that re-evaluation were not immediately disclosed. However, the Pope’s delegate will assume control of the Legionaries, with the group’s current leaders reporting to him. The Pope will also appoint a commission to study the constitution of the Legion, perhaps suggesting changes in internal rules. And the Pontiff will appoint a "visitor" to guide Regnum Christi, the lay movement affiliated with the Legion of Christ.
The Vatican intervention into the controversial religious order is intended to help members along "the path of purification that awaits them," the official statement state. The five bishops who conducted the apostolic visitation praised the zeal and dedication of many members of the Legion and Regnum Christi, and emphasized that the Church should support their commitment.
However, the gross misconduct of the late Father Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legionaries, has created grave problems for the order the Vatican found. The May 1 statement suggested that the founder had developed a pattern of administration that protected him from discovery. Without criticizing any of the current leaders of the Legion, the statement said that the founder "had created around him a defense mechanism which made him untouchable for a long time." The statement decried "the lamentable disgracing and expulsion of those who doubted" Father Maciel’s virtue.
The Vatican said:
The serious and objectively immoral behavior of Fr. Maciel, supported by incontrovertible evidence, at times constitutes real crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruples and of genuine religious feeling. The large majority of Legionaries were unaware of that life, particularly because of the system of relations created by Fr. Maciel, who had skillfully managed to build up an alibi, to gain the trust, confidence and surrounding silence and strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.
Time will tell.