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Vatican envoy tells Legion that reform has only just begun as troubled order picks new leaders

  • Prelates attend a mass celebrated by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis at the Legion's main headquarters, the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. The mass marks the opening of the Legion of Christís General Chapter, the month-long meeting where theyíre going to approve new constitutions and elect a new leadership, thus ending a Vatican's three-year reform experiment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)The Associated Press

  • Prelates attend a mass celebrated by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis at the Legion's main headquarters, the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. The mass marks the opening of the Legion of Christís General Chapter, the month-long meeting where theyíre going to approve new constitutions and elect a new leadership, thus ending a Vatican's three-year reform experiment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)The Associated Press

  • Cardinal Velasio De Paolis leads mass celebrated at the Legion of Christ main headquarters, the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. The mass marks the opening of the Legion of Christ’s General Chapter, the month-long meeting where they’re going to approve new constitutions and elect a new leadership, thus ending a Vatican’s three-year reform experiment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)The Associated Press

  • Prelates attend a mass celebrated by Cardinal Velasio De Paolis at the Legion's main headquarters, the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. The mass marks the opening of the Legion of Christís General Chapter, the month-long meeting where theyíre going to approve new constitutions and elect a new leadership, thus ending a Vatican's three-year reform experiment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)The Associated Press

  • Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, left, exchanges a sign of peace with Legion of christ current leader Rev. Sylvester Heerman during a mass he celebrated at the Legion's main headquarters, the Ateneo Pontificio Regina Apostolorum, in Rome, Wednesday, Jan. 8, 2014. The mass marks the opening of the Legion of Christ’s General Chapter, the month-long meeting where they’re going to approve new constitutions and elect a new leadership, thus ending a Vatican’s three-year reform experiment. (AP Photo/Andrew Medichini)The Associated Press

The Vatican delegate running the troubled Legion of Christ has urged its priests to elect a new leadership worthy of authority, after suffering for years from shame and suspicion following revelations that its founder was a pedophile.

He says the new leaders must infuse the religious order with a new spirit to finish a process of reform that he said had only just begun.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis presided Thursday over a Mass opening a month-long meeting of Legion delegates to elect a new leadership and finalize new constitutions that must be submitted to Pope Francis for approval.

The meeting is the culmination of a three-year Vatican experiment to try to turn the congregation around after a Holy See investigation uncovered serious problems in the cult-like movement.