How many Legionaries?

The Legion of Christ recently reported to the Holy See on the numerical state of the congregation on December 31, 2010. The main data are:

Category 12/31/2010 12/31/2009
Bishops 3 3
Priests 889 864
Religious and novices (brothers) 1244 1395
Candidates, precandidates and apostolic boys 1129 1127
TOTAL 3265 3389

In the statistical report for the Holy See, the Legion reported that in the years 2009 and 2010, a total of 42 Legionary priests left the congregation. The great majority of them are currently exercising their priestly ministry in a diocese while the canonical process is underway for their definitive incardination in the diocesan clergy.

These 42 priests are not counted in the statistics listed above. Priests who, for reasons of apostolic work, study, health, or personal discernment are temporarily living outside of the community are counted among the 889 Legionary priests. The decrease in the number of religious and novices is due almost equally to the decrease in the number of novices and the increase in the number of religious who did not renew their temporary vows or who have asked to be dispensed from their religious vows. In addition, each year the number of religious does not count those who receive priestly ordination; in 2010 there were 62.  (In other words, 62 moved from the brother column to the priest column.)

So…doing the math:

  • The Legion had 25 more priests at the end of 2010 than at the end of 2009.
  • There were 151 fewer brothers at the end of 2010 than at the end of 2009.
  • The number of candidates, precandidates and apostolic boys was basically flat – up 2.
  • Bottom line:  The number of people we commonly refer to as “Legionaries” was down 124 at the end of 2010 compared to the end of 2009.

To me, the perseverance of so many holy men is truly a gift from God.  We need to pray for them, as well as all priests and religious.

By the way, statistics on the consecrated members of Regnum Christi should be available soon.

About Jim Fair

Jim Fair is a writer and consultant. He lives in the Chicago area and has a wonderful wife, son and daughter. He enjoys fishing and occasionally catches something. He tries to play the piano and sings a little. In addition to writing for Regnum Christi Live, he blogs at Laughing Catholic. And you can follow him on Twitter: Jim Fair (@fishfair).
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7 Responses to How many Legionaries?

  1. Andy Dev says:

    Cheers for that Jim
    RC Australia

  2. marueen Ramos says:

    this is great information, but what i’d really like to know are the differences in numbers from before Fr. Maciel’s death to now. Can that be presented?

  3. Jim Fair says:

    On January 30, 2008, Fr Marcial Maciel passed away in Jacksonville, Florida. His mortal remains were laid to rest in his hometown, Cotija de la Paz, Michoacán (Mexico).

    At the time of his death, the congregation had 750 priests and 2,500 aspirants to the priesthood from 39 nationalities.

  4. paleta says:

    Thanks for the numbers, Jim. Very enlightening. Are the numbers of the consecrated women available yet?
    Speaking of the consecrated women – any news regarding their recently concluded apostolic visitation? Thank you.
    Keep up the good work!

  5. Jim Fair says:

    I don’t have the numbers for consecrated women yet…their visitation is complete, but the report still in process. We look forward to learning more, but the timing is up to the Holy See.

  6. Heather says:

    Jim, Can you comment on the Cardinal’s homily re: dissidents within the Legion? Who are they and why don’t they just leave if they don’t like the path of renewal?

  7. Jim Fair says:

    Heather — The Cardinal wanted to meet the Legionaries one last time to close the year and to say goodbye before the summer holidays. It was an in-house meeting and we shared a Spanish transcription-translation with the Legionaries worldwide. This text was leaked (no big surprise).

    It is important to point out that Cardinal De Paolis is in no way opposed to different opinions and healthy discussions. In no way he thinks that being a superior means being infallible. Actually, he loves debating and has promoted a culture of sound debate in the Legion during the last year and we have regular discussion meetings in all our communities.

    Nevertheless, fundamental opposition of a very small group against current authorities in the congregation (which have been confirmed by the Holy See last summer) and against the way of renewal as pointed out by the Papal Delegate can be disruptive and had to be addressed.

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