December 5th, 2018 marked the conclusion of the first General Assembly of Regnum Christi and its approval of a final draft of the statutes that will now be sent to the Holy See requesting the recognition of this spiritual family as a Federation under the governance of the dicastery led by Cardinal João Bráz de Aviz, The Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.
The General Assembly included 91 delegates from 14 countries, members of the Legionaries of Christ (37), the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi (18), the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi (6) and the Lay Members of Regnum Christi (30). The assembly’s purpose was to complete the writing of statutes that would propose the government of Regnum Christi as a Federation to the Holy See, and to approve the draft of the Rule of Life of the Lay Faithful Associated with Regnum Christi which the lay members had composed through a five-year international process.
In a communication released December 7th, 2018, Regnum Christi states that, “The General Statutes express the meeting point of the discernment that the four vocations of Regnum Christi have made together during the process of renewal with regard to their charism and common mission, spirituality, members, organization and government. It has been a participatory and global process in which all Regnum Christi members from the four vocations that make up this ecclesial reality have been involved since 2010, some 22,000 from among the Legionaries of Christ, Consecrated Women, Lay Consecrated Men, and Lay Members of Regnum Christi.”
Following almost a decade of reflection, reform, and revision of governing documents, the four vocational realities wrote statutes that formally declared their intent to be one body called Regnum Christi, while maintaining the autonomy proper to the each of the religious congregation and the societies of apostolic life that are part of it. They have been accompanied in this process first by a pontifical delegate, the late Cardinal Velasio de Paolis, and to this date by Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ, a canon lawyer and pontifical assistant. The new draft of the statutes of the Regnum Christi Federation were approved by the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, the General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi, and by the General Assembly of Regnum Christi in a last step before they are sent to the Holy See for final approval.
The process included several challenges, including the question of how to form one institution that could juridically include a religious congregation of pontifical right, associations of lay consecrated members and other laity. In the December 7th communiqué of the lay delegates to the General Assembly, they note, “Jesuit Father Gianfranco Ghirlanda, the pontifical assistant, explained to us that Regnum Christi was historically “de facto” an entity with four distinct vocations, each of which, in its own way, received and participated in a common charism. However, there is currently no canonical configuration in the Church capable of expressing and recognizing this type of entity. Because of the good it represents for our spiritual family, we accept the form of a federation with enthusiasm and hope. At the same time, we know it is not capable of fully reflecting the way in which we actually form part of and participate in the common charismatic reality, as evidenced by the very path taken from 2013 until today and in the life of many of our sections and apostolates.”
The structure of the Federation is seen by all delegates as a very positive step for Regnum Christi, as it gives a recognized canonical identity to the Movement and unites all the vocations and branches involved. The members look forward to ongoing development and maturity of the identity of Regnum Christi, both in the living of the charism and in how it is formally recognized by the Holy See.
At the opening Mass of the Assembly, in which the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi were officially approved by the Holy See as societies of apostolic life of pontifical right, Mons. Rodríguez Carballo, OFM, secretary of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, addressed the Assembly and guided the work of these weeks: “Congratulations, and may Regnum Christi continue working from this moment, if possible with even greater strength as a family united in Christ and in the same charism. Always count on each other, and on the help of Mother Church who will certainly give you her hand as she has given it you from the beginning always and everywhere …. No one among you can develop his mission in isolation …. I will always repeat: ‘Be United!’ The charism is one, although the ways of developing it and living it are diverse.”
The collegiality of the government of the Federation represents an advance and expression of a renewed form of the exercise of authority in the service of the common mission of Regnum Christi. It shows the spirit of communion and the complementarity of vocations, respecting the autonomy of each vocation. The governing body will be called the General Directive College of the Regnum Christi Federation. It will be formed by the directors of the three consecrated vocations – the Legionaries of Christ, the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi, and the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi – and by two lay people with a consultative voice and vote.
The Statutes contain a renewed and shared expression of spirituality and principles of apostolic action, and clearly delineate the spiritual foundations of Regnum Christi. Its members seek to “give glory to God and make present the Kingdom of God in the hearts of men and in society” (EFRC 7) for their own sanctification and apostolic action.
The Statutes were approved in the General Assembly with 58 votes in favor, 2 abstentions, and 1 against. The General Assemblies of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi and of the Lay Consecrated Men of Regnum Christi ratified them unanimously. The General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ, for its part, ratified them with 59 votes in favor and 1 abstention.
At the end of 2017, Regnum Christi had 21,300 lay members, 526 Consecrated Women, 63 Lay Consecrated Men and 1,537 Legionaries of Christ. It also has 11,584 members in ECYD (the Regnum Christi charism lived by adolescents).
All information about the General Assembly, as well as all documents, a photo gallery and day-by-day proceedings can be found here.