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:
|Religious and novices (brothers)||1244||1395|
|Candidates, precandidates and apostolic boys||1129||1127|
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.