On the Congregation’s Name

[Translated from the Original Spanish]

Rome, February 27, 2014

 

279. Over the course of the revision of the constitutions, and during the General Chapter itself, the question of changing the name “Legionaries of Christ” came up, but only tangentially. However, since some Legionaries had raised this question with the Chapter, we dedicated one of the closing sessions to reflect on this issue. We did not, however, see a need to take an official stance at this time.

280. Three reasons, of varying kind and importance, lie at the root of a possible change. First of all, the name’s military connotation causes difficulties in certain cultures. Secondly, some desire to overcome decidedly a stage of our history that is marked by the deplorable deeds about which the Chapter has already pronounced itself. And finally, some desire to express more accurately our identity as religious priests of Regnum Christi.

281. In our discussion, we realized that though these cultural difficulties have been present for decades, the suggestion to change our name is a recent development. This suggests that such a decision be approached with caution. In addition, many people have said that their misgivings connected with the name disappeared when they got to know us better. Still others have seen the symbolism in the name “Legionaries of Christ” as something positive, and this has been evident in our history. And finally, we agreed that although the name is important because in a certain way it expresses the charism, the most important thing is the people who bear the name and the way in which they live.

282. As regards the need to definitively overcome our painful past, we believe that a simple name change – a sort of marketing strategy – would not achieve the desired objective. The shadows of history are still there. However, Christ has rescued our history, thanks to the intervention of the Church and the Pope. When we recall our journey of maturing and purification, we will be moved to a greater humility and gratitude towards God. And this will strengthen our faith. In addition, merely changing the name in an attempt to break away from the past could also inspire a sort of fleeing forward without our having consciously accepted our history. This could result in a failing to see God’s providence in our history or in an inability to accept the blessings that come to us through the cross.

283. Regarding the possibility of more adequately expressing our belonging to Regnum Christi, some recalled that that many congregations have taken on a second, “popular” name. This has happened in a spontaneous manner. By way of example we could take the “Priests of Communion and Liberation” (The Fraternity of St Charles Borromeo), the “Jesuits” (The Society of Jesus), and many others. It could be that some day we will be known by a popular name.

The central government will be attentive to the development of this topic among the congregation’s members in the upcoming years.