Update: Legionaries of Christ banned from Miami

The Miami archdiocese has prohibited members of the Legionaries of Christ from working in the archdiocese. The notice was given in an Oct. 29 memo addressed to "All Priests" from Miami Chancellor Msgr. Michael Souckar.

The prohibition takes effect immediately, the memo says.

Members of the Legionaries' lay group, Regnum Christi are also prohibited from working in the archdiocese, the memo says.

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A report from Religion News Service adds:

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Legion spokesman Jim Fair said Miami's announcement “pretty much fell out of the blue.”

"I can tell you that we're surprised and obviously disappointed, but we will obey whatever directives the archbishop has," Fair said.

Last year, the Archdiocese of Baltimore raised concerns about the Legionaries and placed restrictions on the group, including not allowing them to act as spiritual directors to men under age 18. Fair said dioceses in Ohio and Minnesota have also placed restrictions on the group.

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The Legionaries have long been controversial, in part due to allegations of sexual abuse against the order’s late founder, Mexican Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, made by former members. Both Maciel and the Legionaries denied those charges, but in the wake of a lengthy Vatican investigation, Maciel was asked in 2006 to observe a life of “prayer and penance.”

Fr. Maciel died Jan. 30, 2008, at the age of 87.

In March this year, the Legionaries revealed that the Vatican has decided to conduct an apostolic visitation of the embattled order.

The memo from Souckar reads:

The Legionaries of Christ are prohibited from functioning in the Archdiocese of Miami, effective immediately.

In the past their priests were given individual approval by the Vicar General each time they wished to come the Archdiocese of Miami but their ministry was restricted to their own members. Because the Legionnaires of Christ have not abided by these restrictions, Archbishop [John Clement] Favalora has barred them from any ministry in the Archdiocese of Miami.

Furthermore, Regnum Christi is not nor has it ever been approved to work in any parish, school or other Archdiocesan entity. It recently has been discovered that Regnum Christi is to end immediately.

Pastors/Administrators are asked to share this information with school principals and those who coordinate parish events.

Thank you.

Related stories from NCR:

Vatican orders visitation of Legionaries of Christ

Legionaries of Christ: Legionaries face restrictions in Baltimore

Baltimore archbishop demands greater accountability from Legionaries of Christ

Abolition of Legionaries should be 'on the table'

Legionaries letter outlines recent changes

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