This June, the final part of the lay Regnum Christi member’s statute renewal process was completed in Rome. Although the Movement will continue to review and reflect on the charism and aspects of Regnum Christi that all branches share in common, the International Convention marked the end of Stage 1 of the process, and brought the input of all RC members into the newly drafted document. In the next year or 2 this document will be reviewed by canon lawyers and included in a ‘General Statute’ of the Regnum Christi Movement which will be ratified in an assembly composed of Legionaries, consecrated men and women and lay people before going to the Vatican for final approval.
64 lay people, elected by the members around the world, came together. In a mix of reading, reflecting, praying, small group discussions and large group voting, they completed their work of drafting the revised statutes. They were accompanied by 16 legionaries and consecrated men and women, as well as Fr Giancarlo Ghirlanda, SJ, a canon lawyer appointed by the Vatican to work with the Movement through the statute revision. Here are the results of that process.
Overwhelmingly, the delegates voiced their belief that being a Regnum Christi member is a response to a call from God, a vocation that requires discernment and commitment. For members worldwide, the renewal was a chance to express that Regnum Christi is more than a club or prayer group – it is an identity that they live 24/7 in all parts of their lay vocation. The new draft statutes clearly articulate that belief.
2016 Draft “The lay members of the Regnum Christi Movement are Christian faithful who personally accept and live a divine vocation to live their baptismal commitments in the midst of temporal realities according to the charism of Regnum Christi….. The decision to solicit admission into the Regnum Christi Movement must be the fruit of an adequate discernment and a free response to a call of God.”
The delegates to the convention found clarity regarding the commitments an RC member makes at incorporation through a thorough examination of past practices, and listening to the members through their local and territorial renewal processes.
Draft statutes: “When the lay members are incorporated into Regnum Christi, they commit themselves to:
1º live in the state of grace and friendship with Christ through prayer and the sacraments;
2º live the virtues of poverty, filial obedience, purity and humility in thoughts and actions;
3º fulfill the duties proper to their state in life with love and honesty, as a service to God and others;
4º live a genuinely Christian life, guided by the virtues of charity (especially by speaking well of others), sincerity and authenticity, self-dominion and a militant spirit in order to collaborate efficaciously in the extension of Christ’s Kingdom;
5º use fruitfully as many means as possible in order to grow in their integral formation, strengthening their Christian leadership so as to be true disciples and apostles of Christ in every moment;
6º profess a faithful and active love for the Church as Mother; for the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ; and for their bishop;
7º generously offer their talents, time and apostolic work to collaborate in Regnum Christi´s mission at the service of the Church.
8º support the material needs of the Movement according to their possibilities.”
5 dimensions of a Regnum Christi Member
To summarize the ways a lay RC member lives the charism of the Movement, the new statutes introduce the 5 dimensions of an RC member.
Draft statute “The lay Regnum Christi members live and develop their vocation in five dimensions: spiritual life, formation, apostolate, accompaniment and team life.”
Part of something bigger
The delegates affirmed the fact that lay members are part of the larger Regnum Christi Movement, made up of Legionaries, consecrated men and women, diocesan priests and lay Catholics. The source of Regnum Christi’s identity is found in our common baptism, which is lived in our different vocations and states of life, in complementary but equal ways. The lay delegates voiced a sense of personal responsibility for the charism of the Movement and a desire to be involved in all levels of governance of what is common to all branches.
Together with all members and all vocations in the Movement, they affirmed the identity and goal of Regnum Christi.
Draft statute “Regnum Christi is a Catholic Movement of apostolate which ardently seeks the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ among men, through the sanctification of its members in the state and condition of life to which God has called them, and through personal and communal apostolic action.
The goal to which Regnum Christi members aspire is that Christ reign in their hearts, in the hearts of others and in society, through the living of their baptismal commitments and through the spreading of the light of the Gospel in their family, professional and social life.
Therefore, attentive to the signs of the times so as to better respond to the needs of the world and the Church, they seek to collaborate in the building of the civilization of Christian justice and charity, especially through their prayer, witness, and personal and communal apostolate, according to their state of life and their possibilities.”
Several questions still need deeper discernment in regard to the lay vocation to RC, most notably the question of membership as first and second degree members and what that means concretely. This will be led by the General Renewal Commission in Rome.
Having finished the individual statutes that identify each branch of the Regnum Christi Movement, we now look at what we share in common and articulate that in a general statute that will apply to everyone. This statute will paint a picture of what we share in common in the RC charism: spirituality, communion and mission. It will also concretely define the interrelationship of each part of Regnum Christi, as legionaries, consecrated and lay members. This process is expected to take up to 2 years and will rely heavily on the input received through the lay renewal process, the General Chapter of the Legionaries of Christ and general assemblies of the consecrated men and women that have occurred in the last few years. It will conclude with a general assembly of all branches of the Movement, at which time the general statute will be drafted and proposed to the Holy See.