Today, AOL News reported that the five bishops appointed as apostolic visitors of the Legion of Christ are due to submit their reports tomorrow, March 15th. The AOL News story mentions two potentially explosive issues: the late Pope John Paul II's apparent unwillingness to thoroughly address public accusations of abuse leveled against the Legion's founder, and the possibility that other senior members of the order may have engaged in sexual abuse. Critics of both the Vatican's response to the original charges, and the order's slow-moving response in the wake of the founder's death--when it was acknowledged that he had fathered a child with a long-time mistress--have already suggested that these two issues created a roadblock to a transparent review of the order. Last week,Time Magazine addressedthe late pontiff's strong support for the Legion in a story dealing with a more recent accusation against the founder.
Still, despite all the lurid details that continue to surface in the media, It could take months before the reports issued by of the five apostolic visitators might prompt an official Vatican statement confirming some kind of official course of action. Over the last year, Vatican insiders have speculated that the Holy See might act to close the Legion, or initiate a "reforming" that would establish a new charism for the remaining members. But some seasoned Vatican watchers contend that Rome will move very slowly--if ever--to directly intervene in the Legion's affairs.