This news is being reported on various blogs, including Genevieve Kineke’s “Life After RC” site, which contains the text of Father Gill’s January 9th letter announcing his departure from the scandal-plagued Legionaries of Christ.
I am not surprised to hear of this development, as there has been a significant, though quiet, exodus of LC priests and seminarians from the order in the past year (my friend Father Thomas Berg, for example). I am aware of other priests who, not having left the order quite yet, are definitely moving toward the exits, and I am happy to see that at least some of the departures are being publicized this way.
Historically, the Legion has been very intent on preventing the news of defections from the order by its priests and seminarians from becoming known among the rank and file membership of the Legion and its lay affiliate, Regnum Christ. The euphemism that “Father So and So has been reassigned to a different front” has long been a standard opaque response given when someone inquires as to why a certain LC priest is suddenly no longer around.
But with Father Gill’s open letter explaining the reasons for his leaving to seek incardination as a priest of the Archdiocese of New York, there can be no doubt as to why he left and where he went. I suspect that more than a few of his LC confreres will follow his lead and that of other Legionaries who exited before him because of the Fr. Maciel scandals and the mishandling of the scandals which have engulfed the order over the past year.
I’ve known Father Gill personally for nearly 20 years now and have always known him to be a dedicated, cheerful, and energetic priest. I have no doubt that he will excel in whatever new ministry the Lord guides him to carry out. He’s a good man. It’s such a crying shame that so many good men have been caught up in the putrid machinations of the founder of this religious order (see my previous commentaries about that) — so many excellent years in the prime of their priesthood spent grinding away in a system that, it now appears quite clearly, was orchestrated by the founder primarily as an engine of cash, pleasure, power, and influence for himself.
Good for you, Father Gill. I admire your courage of conviction and I wish you well in this new chapter of your priestly ministry. You can count on my prayers and, I am certain, the prayers of a great many others who feel the same way. God bless you.