Legion of Christ is Downsizing, the implications of a scandal

(Milenio International blog)
Legion in crisis and indebted, closed eight schools

Rough version based on machine translation of Spanish language article published by Milenio on line on March 24, 2014



The Congregation takes various measures to overcome a difficult economic situation, such as merging territories and dispensing with lay people.

The Center Our Lady of Thornwood, New York, will be put on sale.

Eugenia Jiménez 23/03/2014 05:00 AM

The Legionaries of Christ recognize that they are in a “in debt” so they closed vocational centers, merge administrations of their ecclesiastical territories and closed down the economic center Integer, through which they managed assets.


The document that summarizes the situation in the General Chapter, an restructuring event that ended in February, points out that the Legion’s debt “is manageable” and that downsizing plans have been implemented.

They recognized that most of that debt was assumed to finance the launch the development of educational works, which they thought they would be able to pay in full quickly.
However, due to the lack of capital, the Legion announced the closure of eight schools, including four vocational: Santiago de Chile (Chile), Córdoba (Argentina), Colfax (California) and Porto Alegre (Brazil).
Two are the novitiates of Dublin (Ireland) and Cornwall (Canada), and the others are the center of Humanities in Salamanca (Spain) and the Center for higher studies of Thornwood (New York).
Of their associations, foundations, companies, associations and universities, the congregation was receiving 2,000 billion pesos (about one Billion dollars) a year in donations, and until two years ago had a Luxembourg investment fund.
However, the document explains, in recent decades the works of Apostolate experienced rapid expansion and accelerated growth, “in many cases was disorganized and uneven due to lack of proper procedures and systems, and lack of investment in staff and resources”.
The text details that before expansion “a decline in margins of operation of educational institutions because of an increasingly secularized environment, a reduction in birth rates and a growing offerings of other entities, were not foreseen.”


The Apostolic Delegate, Velasio de Paolis, when he began his work, questioned the work of the Group Integer Ethical Funds (IEF), an organization that was founded with one million, 250 thousand euros and that was dedicated to the promotion of colleges and universities of the Legionaries of Christ.
Among the assigned tasks of the IEF were support in the areas of human resources, financial information and fundraising; some of the lay employees that were part of it received salaries of up to 200 thousand pesos (about $20,000 dollars) a month.
De Paolis called the IEF’s “corporate structure tangled and complicated”, and operating outside Canon Law by granting such broad authority to lay people, even above the territorial directors of the Legion”.
For this reason, in the financial review they decided to dispense with the laity employed in this organization.
The Chapter also established one authority, reintegrating part of the Integer teams in general, territorial and local levels, especially with the religious members.


Other measures to overcome its economic crisis, caused in part by the scandals of its founder Marcial Maciel, will be to merge the administrative territories of Germany with France, and Atlanta with New York, as well as the separation of the territory of conservatories of Rome Italy.
Before the crisis, the territories established measures to decrease expenses of operation, sale of real estate and postponement of investment projects in recent years. “We need to strengthen even more the generation of alternative sources of income that will allow the stable maintenance of our houses of formation and apostolate”, admitted Legionaries in the report.
To avoid a repeat of the loss of funds, they indicated in their final document of the General Chapter that it would pay particular attention to financing and sustainability in evaluating projects, works or new territories or communities.
In 2011 they had already closed in the United States the University of Sacrament and the Immaculate Conception Apostolic School.


On the 27th of January 2011 a letter signed by Jesus Maria Delgado, regional director for Spain of the Legionaries of Christ, revealed the difficult economic situation the Congregation was going through in the Iberian Peninsula.
The letter points out that the administrative teams in Europe focused on optimizing resources and management processes with a project named “Center for shared services”, which includes the “Liberation of resources Plan” to sell real estate assets not being used in Europe.
In the last three months six properties in Spain were sold. In addition, two schools that were separated in the North of Madrid – Moraleja and El Encinar – merged to operate on the same campus.
The Minor Seminary of Valencia fused with and moved to Ontaneda-Cantabria. This freed the Valencia seminary building which became the home of the Instituto Cumbres School which had been holding classes in a building of the Valencia Centre.
They also planned remodeling the old seminary building to house students and thus vacate the Valencia Centre and sell it.

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