By JOHN L. ALLEN JR.
tAs a Vatican-sponsored investigation of the Legionaries of Christ reaches its end-game, the leading hypothesis in Rome appears to be that Pope Benedict XVI may appoint a special “commissioner” to lead the order through a period a reform.
tThe appointment would, in effect, amount to a compromise between total suppression of the Legionaries, as some of the order’s fiercest critics have suggested, and a papal “certificate of good conduct,” as some of its Vatican backers had initially hoped.
tWhile it’s not clear what might happen with the order’s current leadership team under this scenario, an April 13 piece in Corriere della Sera suggested that a commissioner would have “full powers” to make decisions in the name of the pope. Though it’s considered likely that Benedict XVI would tap someone from outside the Legionaries, others have suggested that a commissioner could be named from among those Legionaries not tainted by the scandals surrounding the founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado.