The photo here is of Mario Olivieri, showing off the voting system we used in our discussions today. As you’ll see, it was a bit less sophisticated than those used in the international or territorial conventions. We used cards in the colors of the Italian flag: green for approve; white for abstain; red for disapprove. None of the votes we took today had any juridical bearing; they were just for giving the commission on the statutes guidance on where the weight of opinion of the room was on many weighty but complex and technical matters related to governance.
To give you a “for instance” of the type of thing under discussion, we spent a good deal of time on the limits of branch autonomy when we as a body are trying to build and model communion. Can the Legion of Christ open a new seminary (hypothetically, you understand; no one is thinking of doing so) of its own accord? Or in the future must it consult some sort of joint governing organ, given that the number of personnel and money involved would have an affect on the Legion’s ability to provide chaplains to existing schools and sections? Can one of the consecrated branches open a completely new work of apostolate if the personnel involved would have to quit working in sections or apostolates that depend on them? What if the new apostolate would provide much-needed financial support to the consecrated branches? Can they say, “Sorry, we’ve got to eat” and launch the project without the consent of the other branches? Are there exceptions to be made if a bishop or the Holy See entrusts an apostolate to a specific branch? If the branches must consult some kind of joint committee, would this committee have directive or merely consultative powers? We didn’t settle these matters and are going to discuss them further tomorrow, but perhaps that gives you the flavor of the discussion.
At the hour of mercy we took a break for a beautiful holy hour. At its close, we took time to pray aloud spontaneously for all your intentions and to entrust the Movement once again to the Sacred Heart. Then it was back to work until the evening, when we closed the day with a votive mass for the repose of soul of Fr. Alvaro, as today is the second anniversary of his death. Fr. Jesus Villagraisa gave a beautiful and simple homily about particular judgment and God’s mercy, and then we had dinner in the home of the consecrated men.
And may I just say: they work with great intensity, but when work is done, those fellows know how to throw a party! It was very simple: appetizers, drinks and pizza, but everything arranged with that charism of hospitality that puts everyone at ease, gets everyone talking, and makes everyone laugh. It was the perfect release from a day requiring such intense concentration and thought. Plus, Jorge Lopez, the General Director for the Lay Consecrated Men, is Spanish and introduced us all to “jamon iberica” (a bit like prosciutto but Jorge would insist MUCH better).