Archivo de la categoría: Crítica de la LC/RC

Vatican Overseer Neglects Investigation of Legion Founder’s Inner Circle

Will Pope Francis be in an awkward position having to blindly approve new constitutions statutes and Legion leaders?

Who within the Legionaries of Christ in Fr. Marcial Maciel’s inner circle covered for the founder as he carried out his secret life style, traveling around the world to spend time with his different families under different aliases? If we were waiting for Cardinal DePaolis, the Vatican overseer to let us know, we could wait a long time and never know.

Jason Berry his written an article on the National Catholic Reporter that identifies four Irish LC priests who were among Fr. Maciel’s closest confidantes and who wielded considerable power within the Legion. These included:

  • Fr. Anthony Bannon, who was chief fund raiser in North America
  • Fr. Owen Kearns, who led the media attack against Maciel’s pedophilia victims
  • Fr. Raymond Cosgrave, Maciel’s point man in establishing the Legion in Chile during the 1973 – 1990 dictatorship of Augusto Pinochet
  • Fr. John Devlin, Fr. Maciel’s secretary for decades and a keeper of the secrets ReGAIN’s Paul Lennon was quoted in the article. He provided some background information regarding
  • Fr. John Devlin, who entered the Legion in 1961, the same year as Paul. According to Paul, Fr. Devlin was one of Maciel’s right-hand men. He would do anything for Maciel.

Jason Berry points out that Fr Devlin was charming with the big donors and he cemented ties with Cardinal Angelo Sodano, who was one of the LC founder’s staunchest supporters and he questions where and how Fr Maciel found the millions of dollars he needed to support his two families while traveling between Rome and New England for decades.

Referring to the culture of lies within the Legion, Jason Berry’s article questions how long Fr. Maciel’s inner circle knew what was going on. He goes on to note that Cardinal Velasio DePaolis has avoided any direct confrontation with any of the inner circle members. He points out that the culture of structural lying is still vibrant within the order
Although there were numerous questions about these four members of Fr. Maciel’s inner circle, Cardinal DePaolis neglected to investigate any of the people who obviously had some involvement in the LC founder’s secret life.

Now that Cardinal DePaolis’ three and a half year term has been completed and so many questions remain (because of the failure to do any investigation) Pope Francis is likely to be left holding the bag. He is the one who will assume responsibility for (blindly perhaps) approving the revised constitutions and newly elected leaders and decide whether or not to continue overseeing the Legion.

ReGAIN Comment
Many people believed that the Vatican was conducting a reform of the Legionaries of Christ and of Regnum Christi. Obviously, Cardinal DePaolis had a very limited scope of work and the LC and RC leaders and members were aware that it was simply a renewalto develop new statutes and constitutions and elect new leaders. Now that has been done but none of the questions have been answered (or even asked it appears) the Pope will either have to buy a pig in a poke or send in another investigator who is willing to actually investigate who did what and who is still doing what inside the Legion.

So that means that once again another Holy Father in Rome will be exposed to criticism because of the scandals associated with Fr Maciel’s Legionaries of Christ. Pope Francis is already dealing with criticism from the United Nations, who have recently singled out Father Marcial Maciel. Based on the ineffectiveness of Cardinal DePaolis to even bother to check for anything untoward going on in the Legion during his three and a half years, will the Holy Father and the Vatican and the Catholic Church have to deal with serious consequences and valid criticism? If so, this is very unfortunate for those Catholic religious orders and movements that have genuine charisms from the Holy Spirit and who are devoting their lives and energy to do something beautiful for God.

If self-serving mind controlling cult groups with controversial child molesting founders and no obvious spiritual charisms who have a reputation for preying on wealthy seniors are considered as equivalent to other Catholic religious groups and are supported by the Vatican, then it waters down the genuine fruits and works that come from inspired religious groups.

We hope and pray that Pope Francis will be given the gifts of the Holy Spirit including wisdom and knowledge from the Holy Spirit that he may deal more effectively with this unfortunate situation than his predecessors have been able to.

Fr. Richard Gill a Legionary Priest For 29 Years Asks: Ten Questions

Analysis of Legion Situation by Former Legionary Priest

By From Chiesa

Father Richard Gill, a Legionary priest for twenty-nine years and a longtime director of Regnum Christi in the United States has issued his analysis and report in CHIESA on the situation regarding the Vatican’s attempt to reform the Legionaries of Christ.
He left the Legion a year ago and is now incardinated in the Archdiocese of New York.


Fr. Richard Gill a Legionary Priest For 29 Years Asks: Ten Questions;

Fr. Gill points out how Maciel’s legacy continues to weigh negatively on the Legion through the superiors who were connected to him and who still lead the congregation. The Chiesa article including Father Gill’s analysis may be seen
Click Here
Richard Gill shares his main reasons for leaving the Legion, following the sordid double life of the founder and his personal conclusion that such a person who he describes as the most despicable character in the Twentieth Century could transmit any valid charism.
But he says that the way the current Legion superiors (all of whom remain in place) failed to act or acted in ways to deliberately mislead the membership bothered him more than the actual scandals related to the founder. He observed a systematic effort to deny and minimize the facts.
He states that last year, the Legionary superiors attempted to rush through a revised version of the constitution but this was quickly turned down by Cardinal DePaolis.
He then lists 10 questions of the stumbling blocks that make the reform exercise a monumental and perhaps impossible task.
Some of the key issues identified in the questions provided include:

  • How can the Church accept the Legion as a work of God, considering the many defects?
  • There has always been great ambiguity and confusion regarding the charism and this has not yet been generally admitted by the Legion.
  • The Church and Legion superiors enabled Father Maciel in many ways over decades and allowed him to continue his abuse and immoral lifestyle. There is a need to delve into the history of the founder and to bring the true history into the light.
  • The version of Regnum Christi statutes approved in 2004 by Cardinal Rode was considerably different from that which promulgated among the members.
  • So far, individuals who took part in deceit relating to the founder’s secret life have not been held accountable. Further investigation and justice is required to avoid similar things happening in future.
  • There has been no change in leadership and this has led to questions relating to trust within and outside the Legion.
  • The long standing problems that limit real dialogue remain. Voices of dissenters were dealt with effectively over the years and this still happens. Modern technology has been recently implemented (including very aggressive industrial spyware) to improve monitoring of email correspondence.
  • Ex members with valuable insights have so far been left out of the reform process.
  • Richard Gill mentions the Latino mentality (which he says if more tolerant of misconduct and corruption and dishonesty) that pervades the Legion, continues to create stress particularly in Spain and America.

In his conclusion Father Richard Gill questions how a religious order can be reformed when the founder has been recently labeled as a false prophet by Pope Benedict XVI. Other Catholic religious orders that have reformed have based their reform on returning to the charism and example of the original founder. In this case that is not an option.

Regain Comment:

The excellent questions posed by Father Gill demonstrate the importance of having ex members involved in the reform process. Could he have written such an analysis at any time when he was a Legionary priest? Would he have been able to have access to information to allow him to formulate such opinions? Living in an atmosphere of blind obedience where nobody was allowed to criticize a superior in an open manner what would have happened to him if he had issued these statements? It is necessary to be outside to be able to see the Legion as a hall of mirrors.
The points he makes about the futility of any attempt to return to the founding charism and principles (and saintly example) of their founder, the cultural tensions and the problems of the collective attitude of the current superiors (who wanted to rush through a quickie update of statutes to get this little diversion over and done with) are going to be huge obstacles for the Apostolic Delegate to deal with.
For ReGAIN and friends who have been analyzing these sorts of issues for many years, we know that the excellent points and issues raised are only the tip of the iceberg. There has been overwhelming spiritual, emotional, sexual, physical, financial and mental damage done to many, many victims, inside and outsider, including volunteers, benefactors and unfortunately to the Roman Catholic Church itself.
Richard Gill touches on the Legion’s contribution to disharmony within the Church hierarchy at the highest levels, with two cardinals simultaneously expressing completely opposite views about the founder. He asked: what does it say about the internal culture of the Vatican that while Maciel was being praised at his 60th anniversary in 2004 by Cardinal Sodano, he was being investigated by Cardinal Josef Ratzinger’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith?
Insights into this disharmony may be found at Click Here ReGAIN reported on Jason Berry’s article in December about how the founder was able to buy influence in the Vatican at senior levels.
ReGAIN applauds Richard Gill for speaking out some things that need to be said and for asking that the facts be brought out into the light and dealt with in a way to avoid future false prophets from being welcomed and encouraged within the Catholic Church.

Evolution of Legionary / Regnum Christi Truth

Note: The purpose of this article is not to make fun of ordinary Regnum Christi members or to make them look bad in any way. Consistent with ReGAIN objectives, the intent is to bring awareness to people, including those who for many years were not allowed to question things and over time have gradually had their gift of discernment compromised.


Discernment is a gift from the Holy Spirit and is related to knowing and sincerely desiring the truth in all matters. Embracing the truth should be expected throughout the true Kingdom of Christ. Yet for the consecrated women who have been isolated from the outside world the truth contained in some of the facts that come down from on high from the Legion masters has been somewhat of a moving target. The truth has noticeablyevolved for many of those who have committed so much to the kingdom of Maciel.


Legion Concept of Truth Regarding the Founder

Early 1990’s and previous: Father Marcial Maciel is a living saint, who lives an exemplary life and we should all try to emulate him.

Late 1990’s: : Father Maciel is a living saint who lives an exemplary life but there are some deceitful ex members and critics who are trying to hurt the Legion and damage the founder’s name. Father Maciel prays for them.

Mid 2000’s::- Father Maciel is a living saint who lives an exemplary life and those ex members and critics who made up false accusations about him have somehow managed to create a cloud over him and it has been necessary for him to step down and he can no longer practice his priesthood. What a shame! Father Maciel prays for those who have lied about him and he accepts his cross with humility just as the Lord Jesus did. We should follow his wonderful example of humility.

Early 2009: : – Father Maciel was discovered to have had a long term relationship with a woman and she bore his child. Except for having a lover, the founder led an exemplary life and it is unlikely that all the other rumors about him are true. It is too bad that he had to make that one slip.

After May, 2010: The Vatican says that Father Maciel led an immoral life, sometimes resulting in crimes and was devoid of scruples and genuine religious sentiment. He probably did do some of the things that he was accused of but we don’t want to know about them. It is still okay to carry his picture in our purses or wallets if we wish and we are allowed to continue quoting his teachings as long as we don’t say where the teachings came from. He probably did have some faults but somehow the Holy Spirit worked through him and so much good fruit has come from his work and the organizations that he founded.

During the entire time period from the 1990’s on until present, ReGAIN has had an unchanging message that the Legion founder had been deceitful, manipulative, abused children and had led a hidden life that was much different from his public life.

Legion Concept of Truth Regarding the Statutes and Norms

Early 1990’s and previous:: Everything that we do has been fully approved by the Pope and the Vatican. We are loyal to the Pope and to the hierarchy.

: Early 2000’s: Everything we do has been fully approved. We are loyal to the Pope and to most members of the hierarchy. There are some bishops and archbishops who don’t understand the good that we are doing and they have banned us but except for them we are loyal to the hierarchy. Those who don’t understand how much good we are doing will come around in time. They were probably influenced by those evil detractors who are out to damage the Legion and us.

2004:: – Regnum Christi’s statutes just got officially approved by Cardinal Franc Rode so this confirms what we already knew before that everything we do was fully approved by the Vatican.

2009::- Whoops! We hadn’t realized that only a skeleton version of all our rules had been approved in 2004. Well, that was probably just an oversight and of course other religious orders don’t get all of their rules approved either. It isn’t important that every little detail be approved. The Pope loves us so much that he is sending us our very own cardinal to help us to make a good thing even better.

2010:: – Now we are going through a reform process but it is only because the founder did a few questionable things. We don’t need to really reform much.

During the above time periods from the 1990’s on until present, ReGAIN has had an unchanging message that the statutes and norms were part of a cult structure to overly control peoples’ behaviour and that the main reason for this was so that the founder and other senior Legion leaders could take advantage of the people under their control to satisfy their lust for power and money.

Legion Concept of Truth Regarding Regnum Christi Consecrated State

Previous to 2009: : Being a consecrated woman in Regnum Christi is almost the same as being a religious sister. We the consecrated women are brides of Christ and spiritually are far more holy than non-consecrated ordinary lay people. Anyway, we know that the Vatican has approved our way of life and the Pope and the cardinals love us so much and we feel holy and good

After 2009:: – It is unfortunate that we aren’t really consecrated women in a strict legal sense according to Canon Law but there has been a consecration of our lives to the kingdom so what does it really matter? We have a good feeling about being consecrated and we know with certainty that we are spiritually superior to other people. The Vatican is recognizing that there are new forms of consecrated life and now that we have our own cardinal everything will get straightened out.

During the above time periods from the 1990’s on until present, ReGAIN has had an unchanging message that the consecrated state of the 3rd level (3gf) in Regnum Christi, based on private promises that did not involve the local bishop meant very little to anyone outside of Regnum Christi and that the Church did not consider the women to be brides of Christ according to canon law. /p>

Legion Concept of Truth Regarding Reliability of News Sources

Previous to 2010:: You just can’t trust outside news sources. It is best to read only Zenit and The National Catholic Register because they know the truth and they are trustworthy.

After 2010:: – It’s too bad that all those people from Zenit left. They complained that they were influenced by the Legion regarding the presentation of their news stories. It’s too bad that the National Catholic Register was sold. Now it is more difficult to know what to read or who to believe and trust.

During the above time periods from the 1990’s on until present, ReGAIN has had an unchanging message that the news presented by Legion controlled media was biased and failed to present negative information about the Legion or its founder in an adequate manner.

Legion Concept of Truth Regarding Regnum Christi Charism

Previous to 2009: : Our charism is charity or maybe it is something else too but we are very charitable and we do lots of good works.

After 2010:: – The Vatican said we need to redefine our charism. Oh well, what does it really matter? We know how much good we are doing and eventually everyone will recognize how good we are. We are sure we do have a charism somewhere and everything will all work out. We’re not really sure why the Vatican is making such a fuss about this but in the meantime we will just keep on working for the kingdom.

During the above time periods from the 1990’s on until present, ReGAIN has had an unchanging message that the Legion and Regnum Christi did not have an authentic spiritual charism or saintly example from their founder as other Catholic religious orders and movements do.

ReGAIN’s Reasons for This Article

With all that has happened in the Legion and Regnum Christi in recent years, most impartial people who read the facts see a number of red flags regarding deceptive tactics and excessive control and manipulation of people within the structure utilized by the senior Legion leaders. The Supreme Court Judge in the legal case regarding former consecrated Mrs. Mee included a comment about a red flag in his summary judgment recently, even though he dismissed the case based on legal technicalities.

Since Father Marcial Maciel founded the Legionaries and the Regnum Christi movement, he and all other senior leaders discouraged free and open discussion among the consecrated women and information was tightly controlled. Over the years there was a constant effort to prevent people on the inside from discovering or believing negative information that reflected badly on the founder or on other leaders.

Many former members of the Legionaries of Christ, especially those who had been victimized by the founder or by other Legionary priests and others including ReGAIN associates were branded as liars and their information was discounted. As time has passed, the overall message proclaimed by ReGAIN and by other critics has proven to be truthful. In fact the Mission Statement for ReGAIN
<ahref=http:”&#8221; category.php?c=”245671671″>Click Here to see Mission Statement has remained unchanged over the years and that includes informing and educating people regarding the true nature of policies and practices of the Legion and Regnum Christi.

The ReGAIN messages informed and warned people about what was happening and about the effects on peoples’ lives as a result of the founder’s secret life years before facts became known publicly. The testimonies made of members and victims remain available on this website openly for people to examine. ReGAIN editors have not found it necessary to change information over the years because it has been found to differ significantly from the truth as it has unfolded.

There have however been significant differences between the facts that have been presented by the Legionary hierarchy compared to the information presented on this website and others that are critical of the Legion. Such differences did not cease after the founder died and continue to this day in spite of the reform process.

People who have committed everything they own including all their money, their loyalty, their sexuality and their lifetime energies deserve to have full access to the truth. We encourage those who have committed their lives to Father Maciel’s kingdom as consecrated women to seek the real truth by obtaining answers to questions from unbiased sources to verify the information that is coming down from the Legion hierarchy that remains much the same as it was when the founder was alive.

Lawsuit Against Legionaries of Christ Dismissed by R.I. Superior Court Judge

Superior Court Judge Michael Silverstein of Providence, R.I., included the following statement in his summary judgment Sept. 7.
The transfer of millions of dollars worth of assets — through will, trust, and gifts — from a steadfastly spiritual, elderly woman to her trusted but clandestinely dubious spiritual leaders raises a red flag to this Court,?

Jason Berry has written an article in the National Catholic Reporter regarding the recent lawsuit initiated against the Legion and other defendants by Mary Lou Dauray, the niece of Mrs. Gabrielle Mee. Click Here to see the NCR article .

The late Gabrielle Mee, a very rich widow, who in her senior years in the 1990’s became a consecrated member of Regnum Christi donated millions of dollars to the Legionaries of Christ and had willed most of her estate to the Legion. Mrs. Mee died in May, 2008 at the age of 96. Her niece, Mary Lou Dauray had claimed that her aunt, who was a lonely, deeply religious older woman, had been taken advantage of.

The judge ruled that Ms. Dauray lacked the legal standing to sue the Legion in this case. However, the judge recognized that there was significant evidence of undue influence and fraud. According to Jason Berry, Mrs. Mee revised her will in 1991, giving 90 percent of her assets to the Legionaries. Reportedly, Fr. Marcial Maciel, the Legionary founder was giving Mrs. Mee advice on her financial investments and she gave Legionary priest, Father Bannon her power of attorney and in 2000 appointed him executor of her estate.

According to the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA), Click Here for ICSA documents during her final 17 years she spent with Regnum Christi, Mrs. Mee was kept in the dark regarding any of the negative information about the Legion or its founder. Whenever visitors came to visit Mrs. Mee, they were not left alone with her; one or more Regnum Christi would remain present and would ensure that the topic of conversation would change if there was any attempt to discuss Legion scandals or other negative information.

According to the ICSA report, Mrs. Mee steadily turned over real estate and moneyupwards of $7.5 million to the Legionaries of Christ, while she was alive and most of her estate somewhere in the order of 60 million dollars.

According to another account of Mrs. Mee’s situation, Nicole Winfield of Associated Press, Click Here for A.P. article Judge Michael Silverstein of Rhode Island Superior Court found evidence that the woman, Gabrielle Mee, had been unduly persuaded to change her trusts and will and give the Legion her money, detailing the process by which the Legion slowly took control of her finances as she became more deeply involved in the movement


ReGAIN Comment

Father Maciel was known to be a person whose life was devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment and it is not surprising to those who are familiar with his life that such a person would take advantage of a wealthy and devout widow. This disturbing case involved other Legion leaders including Father Bannon, who began cultivating Mrs. Mee after Father Maciel met her in 1991.

This was not a simple case of the unscrupulous Legion and Regnum Christi founder, Father Maciel acting in isolation to bilk a rich widow out of her fortune. Other Legionary and Regnum Christi leaders were involved in shielding Mrs. Mee from the truth about Father Maciel, whom she idolized and from other negative information about the Legion.

The Church has decided to leave the old guard Legion leadership in place and has chosen to avoid further investigation to discover who among them was complicit in the founder’s secret life. Now that a Superior Court judge has found evidence of undue persuasion involving millions of dollars, perhaps the Church will reconsider its decisions.


Presentation by Father of 3GF Consecrated at International Cultic Studies Association Conference

By Their Fruits Ye Shall Know Them – Perhaps: How Good And Bad Works Can Deceive – The Case of The Legion of Christ


By Peter, father of a Regnum Christi consecrated member



I feel the need to speak bluntly and openly and freely share as I would speak to a friend.
I have worked together with Paul Lennon for the past two years as co editor of, 1 a website for people adversely affected by the Legion or Regnum Christi. My personal struggle associated with these groups is like an ongoing nightmare of grief, false hopes, aggravation, frustration and anger.

The evil structure and methodology that my daughter was drawn into remains a legitimate part of my own Catholic Church and that has been doubly painful for me. The Vatican website 2 identifies the founder in so many words as a charismatic con man without genuine religious sentiment. Overwhelming evidence indicates Fr. Marcial Maciel’s prime objective for founding his two groups was to satisfy his lust for power, money and perverted sexual urges. He got away with this by using deceit, influence peddling, gifts and cash payments to obtain protection from certain members of the Vatican hierarchy. His two groups, the Legion and Regnum Christi are highly profitable businesses that make excessive profits from being a Catholic religious order of priests and a religious movement.

In 1992, at 26 years of age, our daughter Rose (not her real name) was at a crossroads. She had a master’s degree in theology, was devout in her faith and had a calling to religious life. She had a good job. Her employer saw great potential in her and offered to sponsor her for a senior management training program. She attended mass regularly each week and was ready and willing to devote her entire life to serve God through the Catholic Church that she loved. Rose was recruited into Regnum Christi. She discovered a community of other young devout, idealistic women who lived as contemplative religious sisters in a secretive isolated community.

They seemed happy and loving and she felt she had found an ideal place to serve God. She was a good person then and remains so not because of her involvement in Regnum Christi (where deceit is endemic) but in spite of it. Although the Legion theology is authentic Catholicism, the structure and methodology of the two groups are destructive to its own members. In spite of an outer appearance of genuine piety, the underlying purpose for their activities is similar to that of other typical cult groups. I won’t focus on all their typical cult characteristics or mind control techniques, which have already been documented in ICSA articles, 3 on ReGAIN and elsewhere.

They prey on young, attractive, idealistic Catholic women, using aggressive recruiting tactics. They redirect peoples’ genuine desire to serve the Kingdom of God to surrendering themselves to serve the kingdom of Maciel. Rose idolized her founder as a living saint, referring to him reverently as Nuestro Padre (our father). Her excessive devotion to him made me feel uncomfortable. As I learned about his depravities, it revolted me to hear her speak about him as her role model.

Rose had mentioned a five year formation program. We were shocked when only five months later she announced that she had already made her commitment. I believe she was deceived and manipulated into making a decision to hand over all decision making powers, her human rights, all her money and her sexuality. At a consecration ceremony she made solemn promises including poverty, chastity and obedience. At the time, we thought it was very strange and it was hurtful that we had not been advised about this in advance or given an opportunity to attend. Later, we learned that at her ceremony she had also made other secretive promises that forbade her from ever criticizing any superior, especially the founder and to never seek a higher office. She was unaware of the many associated obligations that would be gradually revealed once she was already inside the spider’s web.

Because Regnum Christi is a lay movement, not a religious order, their consecrated women have none of the protections that canon law requires for religious sisters. She remains a lay person with no contract. I see her situation as a form of slavery.

Consecrated State Married to Jesus Or Just Living Together

I was disgusted to learn years later that the Regnum Christi form of consecration which had meant so much to our daughter had not been fully recognized by the Church. 4 To put it bluntly, this arrangement was a cruel deception by the founder to get people to obtain free labour and to avoid having any responsibility for his followers when they were no longer cost effective.

Good Fruits Come From the Devout People Not the Founder, Structure or Methodology

Regnum Christi takes credit for the goodness of their members and for the good works they carry out. Considering the extensive resources available to them and the good intentions of the members and the valid prayer life they have there are bound to be some good fruits and nobody questions that. The question I have is whether or not there are any good motives built into the structure of the Legion. The Legion activities such as schools, seminaries and children’s
programs utilize scarce resources that could have produced genuine good fruits had they been available to groups with authentic spiritual intentions.

Each Legion activity operates primarily as a profit center and that is their primary motivation. (The founder was devoid of genuine religious sentiment). Tuition fees are very high and costs are minimized. High pressure advertising campaigns based on illusory good fruits keep donations rolling in. A major part of the reform process has been an effort to demonstrate that in spite of any of their founder’s evil intentions, the organizations he founded have a unique religious purpose (charism) that came from God. After more than 70 years of existence the Legion has difficulty defining clearly what their charism is. Fr. Maciel was seen as the ideal Legionary. When he fell from grace, he left no saintly example for his followers to emulate.

Good Fruits Don’t Cancel Out Bad Fruits

Some Legion supporters suggest that the good fruits of the Legion outweigh the bad fruits. This position is not theologically sound. I feel distressed when anyone suggests that any bad fruits such as sexual emotional and spiritual abuse are acceptable, especially within a religious group, regardless of how many good works they can show.

Bad Fruits – Does The Founder Have A Monopoly on These?

I continue to wait for the leaders to show a sincere desire to break from the founder’s deceitful, harmful structure and methodology. The current leaders were selected and trained by the founder. A long term well known Regnum Christi ex member commented recently about the fruits as ruined families, disappointed youths and betrayals of the faith. 5

Former Legionary priest, Fr. Thomas Berg in his June, 2012 article on First Things 6 stated that the Legion leaders: continue to embrace and foster a culture of cover-up and lack of transparency. His and other articles confirm my conclusions to date.

Bad Fruits That Have Affected Me and My Family Members

I will mention but a few of the Legionary bad fruits that have affected my family.

1. Consecrated Women’s Predicament

Hundreds of consecrated women, including some of their key members have left in the last three years. 7 There have been reports from some of them about their suffering, including chronic physical illness, depression and insecurity. Naturally I am concerned that this might apply to Rose. It has made me realize how difficult an adjustment it would be to leave the group and find another place in life and to make readjustments. It would be traumatic for most of them, including our daughter. Considering her controlled environment, does she have a fair opportunity to make such an important discernment? It is agonizing to think about this. The consecrated women who leave have absolutely no money of their own and (unlike the Legionary priests) they lose their consecrated state immediately. Would there be a stigma of being an ex cult member for those who leave? I am sure there would be.

2. Alienation from Family Members / Partly Filled Glasses

At the 2008 ICSA conference, I learned that as long as one of your family members remains in a cult, you have to deal with this realistically, once you rule out an exit intervention as we did. That left two uncomfortable alternatives. We could decide to have no relationship with Rose or we could retain a partial relationship with her.

We opted for the partly filled glass, realizing everything would be strictly on Regnum Christi’s aggravating terms. For example, she would come home each year for only two days at our expense, sometimes exhausted from the three or more hour jet lag. We were limited to one phone call per month at prearranged times and she always had to ask permission from her superior before she could speak to us.

Like most parents, I don’t want an empty glass and am not satisfied with a partly filled glass relationship with our only daughter.

. 3. Disgrace for The Church and Loss of Respect for the Hierarchy

Father Richard Gill, a prominent ex Legionary priest stated in an article: 8 It is no exaggeration to say that Marcial Maciel was by far the most despicable character in the twentieth century Catholic Church, inflicting more damage on her reputation and evangelizing mission than any other single Church leader.

I had waited and prayed for years that the Church would acknowledge all the truth and take appropriate action. I took what actions I could, believing that if only the Church knew they would do the right thing. Our Catholic friends became uncomfortable if we shared anything about cults in the Church. I spoke to as many priests and members of the hierarchy as I could. One senior local official suggested that the Legion wasn’t bad, they were simply old fashioned. Other officials did not seem to be open with us.

I spent months composing a letter to the Vatican, not really expecting a response. To my surprise, three months later I received a letter from a cardinal. He simply acknowledged my letter and said that competent authorities were looking into it. I later discovered that he was one of the Legionary founder’s closest supporters. I made another attempt, writing to other members of the hierarchy without sending him a copy but they referred my letter to him. His second response sent a chill through me.

As I became aware of Fr. Maciel’s powerful Vatican allies 9 and that he had successfully used influence peddling and cash payments to encourage their support I felt sick to my stomach and discouraged. I lost a lot of the respect that I had always held for the shepherds of the Church.

When the Vatican finally decided to implement a reform process I was overjoyed and could not wait to see what action they would take. Two years later, there have only been some cosmetic changes. The old guard Legionary leaders remain in place and except for some token efforts; they have shown no change in attitude. The aggressive recruiting, ordinations and consecrations of new members continue. The presence of the Vatican commissioner unfortunately lends credibility to the destructive structure. I think this makes the Vatican look incompetent and there is even some appearance of complicity. To date their record in dealing with the Legion and its founder has been abysmal.

On a worldwide scale, the Legion and Regnum Christi have become a monumental embarrassment for the Catholic Church and for (the memory of) Pope John Paul II. New scandals involving deceit of the current leaders 10 continue to unfold and the leaders keep coming up with weak sounding explanations.

4. Effects of Mind Control

Recently, a group of former students from pre-candidacy high schools run by consecrated Regnum Christi women started a blog Click Here 11 to share their negative experiences. They have stated: Many of us suffered real mental, emotional and spiritual damage in our years at (name withheld) Academy. We share our stories here to warn parents of the very real dangers of handing your daughters over to this flawed institution. As of June, 2012 at least fifteen different women have shared their heart wrenching stories of suffering from guilt and fear and trying to live according to militaristic rules.
Some mention what it was like for them to not be allowed to have particular friends. 12One of them said this resulted in feelings of immense loneliness. She said that they were not allowed to tell each other about their doubts, sufferings, physical, spiritual and emotional well being.

They were to share nothing except with their spiritual directors, who had ultimate control over them.



It disturbs me when I hear versions of the Legion refrain:
Fr. Maciel was bad but we are good. 13
In spite of some good works by their individual members, I believe that the Legion’s structure and methodology exist primarily to serve themselves.

I am concerned about the people like Rose who have been taken advantage of and harmed within a recognized but destructive Church movement after dedicating everything they have in life, believing sincerely that they were serving God in a special way. I am appalled that Catholic groups are able to manipulate devout people into becoming fully dependent but the groups are then able to dispose of them without obligation or notice. I feel outraged that the hierarchy of the Catholic Church is enabling the kingdom of Maciel to continue business as usual without acknowledging the damage done to members and without taking responsible action to provide urgent support and assistance to those who remain trapped.

The young women on 49weeks blog have offered support on their website for those Legionary priests and consecrated Regnum Christi members who want to leave but have difficulty supporting themselves or finding work or understanding their situation or who perhaps feel the need for prayer support.

Why did the Catholic Church not recognize this need and use either Legion resources or their own to provide support, guidance, recovery and financial assistance where urgently needed?
Perhaps they and the Legion leaders could learn from the example of these young women, whose offer is an inspiring example of genuine Christian community in action.


During the week of the ICSA Conference, 77 of the former Legionary high school students sent a letter 14 to the Vatican denouncing the manipulation, deception and disrespect they claim to have suffered from their counselors at the Rhode Island school. The young women are urging the Vatican to shut down the school. Their voices unite with many of us who feel that the Legion and Regnum Christi should be shut down by the Church.


The above reflects accurately my own opinions based on research over 20 years of being a father of a long term Regnum Christi member and two years of being a ReGAIN website co editor. Because of extreme secrecy it is difficult to obtain verifiable information in the usual ways. It took years to confirm information from anonymous sources.



A Blow To The Legion’s Credibility

From Associated Press Article by Nicole Winfield regarding deceit and loss of credibility in the Legion


Nicole Winfield of Associated Press continues to bring more light into dark places. In her latest article Click Here For AP Article she reported that the Legion of Christ has sufferedanother blow to its credibility.

Father Alvaro Corcuera, the Director General of the Legion has publically made an admission that although he had been advised about Father Williams, the most prominent Legionary priest fathering a child as far back as 2005, he allowed him to continue in his work, teaching and preaching about morality. The Legionary Director General said that he simply believed at first that the story was just a rumour. He said that he did ask Father Williams about it and when Father Williams denied that it was true, he took his word for it without conducting further investigation. Father Corcuera said that after he became superior in 2005, he confirmed Williams’ paternity and asked him to withdraw from public ministry. However, in spite of this statement, Father Williams was allowed to continue his public ministry work until 2012.

Father Corcuera, the Director General of the Legionaries of Christ has written a letter to the members of the Legionaries of Christ and members and friends of Regnum ChristiClick Here for Letter by Father Corcuera

According to Nicole Winfield, Father Williams made a more recent statement stating he had resisted Father Corcuera’s encouragement to keep a low profile, saying he had hoped to move beyond the child this sin in my past to do good work for the church. Fr. Corcuera said that in 2010 he placed restrictions on Fr. Williams’ ministry, but as recently as last month Williams was the keynote speaker at a Legion-affiliated women’s conference in the Rhode Island and was scheduled to speak at another conference in October in Michigan.

AP reported that a U.S. victims’ support group, Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, had called for Pope Benedict XVI to oust Corcuera, and said that if the pope wantsa more holy and pure and safe church, he can’t keep ignoring or rewarding serious wrongdoing.
The SNAP statement says:
Virtually nothing will change if the pope and other Church officials continue to let their colleagues and underlings act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year – and get by with saying, when they’re caught, ‘Oops, sorry, I goofed,’ SNAP said in a statement.

ReGAIN Comment :

Reading from Acts 20: 28-30
Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God that he obtained with the blood of His own Son. I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them.

The skeletons continue to fall out of the Legion closet and it has finally reached the point where the spin doctors can’t disguise them any more. With the Vatican commissioner watching and with news reporters taking interest in what is happening it is becoming much more difficult to get away with distorting the truth.
A former superior in the Miles Jesus group – which had a similar problem as the Legion, i.e. a dysfunctional founder- stated in May 2012: It is not just enough to cut off the head; the head has already infected the body.

Fr. Maciel’s great anti-charism according to his critics (including ReGAIN) has been considered to be deceit. There has been suspicion, and now this recent evidence supports it, that the founder had infected the body and the superiors which he chose, including his dear Fr. Alvaro, with the disease of deceit. There are parallels between the founder’s double life and that of Fr. William and in both cases their actions were deceitfully covered up after the death of the founder by the current Legionary leaders.

Nicole Winfield provided a reminder in her article how the Legion did everything possible to cover up for their founder’s misdeeds. When DNA tests confirmed their worst fears andfamily membersstarted coming out of Father Maciel’s closet, the Legionary leaders had to backtrack and eventually admit the truth about their founder. They did their best to give an impression that it was unusual for prominent Legionary priests to father children and they acted very surprised and claimed that they just could not believe the truth about Father Maciel. Now with history repeating itself, the Director General, Father Corcuera, being backed into a corner fesses up that he knew for at least seven years that their most prominent spokesperson had also fathered a child and yet allowed him to continue with his work teaching moral theology.

According to the AP report, the Director General said that he had asked Father Williams to withdraw from public ministry. This statement is surprising because it means that either he did not do as he said (i.e. didn’t really tell Fr. Williams to withdraw from public ministry) or Fr. Williams simply ignored the order from his ultimate superior.

In either case, Fr. Corcuera appears to be inept, weak, incompetent and dishonest, not good qualities for a supreme leader. As Director General he had ultimate power and authority to ensure that the right thing was done. His power and authority over Father Williams would be comparable to that of an army general over a captain and in the case of the Legion, Fr. William would have made a vow of obedience. So Father Corcuera’s claim that he had asked Father William to withdraw from public ministry does not make sense considering that he kept on being involved in high profile activity in the field of moral theology.

Some of Father Williams’ statements are problematic. As mentioned in a previous ReGAIN article he had referred to the child as her child. This time he said he had resisted Father Corcuera’s encouragement to keep a low profile, saying he had hoped to move beyond the child this sin in my past to do good work for the church.

How does a priest move beyond the child? This statement seems callous, considering that a son or daughter is involved and the Father is a teacher of moral values. This raises questions such as was there hush money offered to the mother? What would be an appropriate and responsible way to deal with the situation that takes into account the other people involved in this situation?

We agree with Nicole Winfield that that main issue here (based on her headline) is Legion credibility. Based on a number of past articles and testimonies in this website, ReGAIN long ago concluded that there is deceit in Fr. Maciel’s kingdom. Unfortunately this is spilling over to give the entire Catholic Church a bigger black eye and this is evident in SNAP’s statement regarding leaders allowing priests to act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year?

We do not envy Cardinal DePaolis in his job of trying to reform the Legion because the leaders have shown willingness to cooperate in the reform process only in certain limited areas after their deceitfulness has been once again exposed by the news media or when the Vatican imposes changes.


Legionary Spin Foiled Again

Legionaries Apologize That They Acted Too Late

Very recently Associated Press stated that the Legion confirmed it had referred seven cases of alleged abuse to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith This statement from the Legion gave the impression that the Legion was on top of the situation and was cooperating with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
According to the AVLCRC, Asociacion de Ayuda a los Afectados por la Ensenanzas del Grupo Religioso Legionarios de Cristo *#40;Association of Help for those affected by the teaching of the religious group Legionaries of Christ*#41; they (not the Legion) were the ones who reported to the CDF regarding the abuse by the seven Legionary priests. According to this Spanish victims’ group, they reported the abuse two years ago to the head of the Legion, Father Alvaro Corcuera. When he failed to respond, they reported it to Cardinal DePaolis, who is overseeing the reform process. Then, when he failed to take action, they went to the CDF (Congregations for the Doctrine of the Faith) in the Vatican.
As news agencies began to report this story another bombshell dropped. The most visible Legionary priest, Rev Thomas D Williams, Legionary moral theologian, TV personality and author of more than a dozen books, including one called Knowing Right From Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience. admitted that he had fathered a child some time ago. There were few details provided.
ReGAIN sources (unconfirmed) have provided some information that the incident most likely happened around 2000, when Father Williams was rector at Legionary headquarters in Rome, Via Aurelia 677 (the same place where Father Maciel had abused seminarians). As rector, he would have had much more freedom of movement than the regular members, who had to abide by the community rules.
Apparently, Father Williams has denied that it was one of his students or anyone under his spiritual direction. Was it then a daughter of a benefactor perhaps or a daughter of a Regnum Christi member, or a visitor or someone from a prominent Catholic family? Was she married or single? These sort of details are being kept secret because of privacy concerns for those involved.
We share Cardinal DePaolis’ concern for the private lives involved in this new scandal and we also share in his relief that this time there were no laws broken (i.e. no children molested). Being human, we can’t help but wonder about some of the details as questions go through our minds about who the mother is, what is her relationship to the Regnum Christi Movement and how old is she, was she married or single. It is becoming more difficult to keep secrets these days when things do happen.
Reuters Click Here for Reuters Article has identified that the Legion and Cardinal DePaolis knew for months about Father Williams having fathered a child. Most people are willing to forgive the handsome, irresistible Father Williams for being possibly victimized by some seductive beautiful young lady. Even Cardinal DePaolis has shown acceptance of Father William’s indiscretions by his statement: There is a need to be careful in cases like this. It concerns a private life. These things happen these days, unfortunately.

Yes, these things do happen and we are all sinners. However, more shocking than the story of the Legion’s most prominent and visible theologian having fathered a child is the obvious conclusion that the Legion did whatever was necessary to cover up the facts for as long as they could.
Based on the Reuters story, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis said I found out about it this yearWhen asked (by Reuters) if he meant since the beginning of this year, he said yes.
In a later report May 17 by the Catholic News Agency Click Here the Legion apologized for not acting more quickly in the case of Father Thomas Williams.
There is a parallel here to the way things unfolded in 2009. The Legionary founder, Father Marcial Maciel had been disgraced twice by the Vatican, first in 2006 when he was advised to lead a quiet life of repentance and prayer and no longer practice his priesthood or speak publically and again after he died when the Vatican communique was issued in May 2010 following investigations to determine what effect his actions had had on the Legion structure. The Legion at the time decided they could no longer defend their founder’s name. However, they carefully chose their words about his transgressions to focus on the long and stable relationship that he had with a woman. They were extremely tight lipped about any mention of molestation of children who had been in his care even though a significant number of ex Legionaries had been seeking justice for decades. The Legion tried to concentrate focus on the (relatively normal and acceptable) relationship that he had with a woman.
There were only a few days between the release of the recent (May 2012) story about charges of sexual abuse of minors by Legionary priests and the admissions by Father Williams that he had impregnated a woman. Is it a coincidence that the images of children being sexually molested by a number of Legionary priests was (again) quickly washed away by the image of one of the most handsome Legionary priests having a moment of weakness with a woman? Certainly it is easier for us to forgive in our hearts the popular Legionary favorite than it is to forgive seven unknown priests that some might think of as lechers, who took advantage of innocent children.

Is the reform working? Have the old guard Legionary leaders who remain in positions of authority to this day had a change of heart and truly picked up the spirit of reform? So far we have seen very little evidence that there is any desire to change. On the other hand there has been a lot of evidence to show that spin control and damage control teams are keeping themselves quite busy.

Piecing together a chronology of the reports we have heard, it appears that events proceeded something like this:

  1. Fr’s indiscretion happened around 2000 when he was rector at the Legion headquarters in Rome, Via Aurelia 677 *#40;the same place where in the 1950’s Fr. Maciel had abused his seminarians*#41;. As rector he would have had much more freedom of movement than regular members having to abide by ‘community rules’.
  1. Who was the woman? He denied it was a student of his or a person under his spiritual direction; is he telling the truth? If not them who? Not a prostitute. What other females could he meet? A daughter of a benefactor, daughter of a member of the Regnum Christi, daughter of a visitor, prominent Catholic family…?
  1. when superiors find out about it around that time they take him out of Rome and send to Cheshire waiting for things to cool down. Legion does ‘damage control’ with girl’s parents.
  1. When the coast is clear Fr. William returns to Rome and resumes his regular duties
  1. Things go back to normal until somebody spills the beans to the CDF which takes it seriously; Legion is approached by AP regarding the accusation; they make Fr. W fess up and take the rap
  1. This helps to take the pressure off the pedophile charges against other priests; just like they tried to have Maciel’s mistresses take the heat of his pedophilia *#40;that kind of backfired*#41;

Seeking A Superior And A Long Lost Peace

Based on article written by Andres Beltramo Alvarez in The Vatican Insider La Stampa

The real challenge will be to regain the serenity lost in an internal crisis that some members have been unable to withstand, falling into chronic physical illness or depression.

According to an article written by Andres Beltramo Alvarez in The Vatican Insider La Stampa Click Here for article the 3gf women of Regnum Christi are in the midst of seeking a new leader to replace Malen Oriol, who departed suddenly earlier in 2012 to form Totus Tuus, a separate religious movement in Chile. The article states that the 3gf women (reportedly over 700 in number) around the world are choosing a new leader plus four territorial leaders.

Regnum Christi is planning to establish a government that will consist of a Superior General who will take over from Agostino Montan (temporary replacement for Malen Oriol) and who will be assisted by new Territorial Directors. The selection of all of these positions is being done by a mail-in election. During the month of April, each of the 3gf women made her selections and mailed in the names to Rome in a sealed envelope.

The writer of the article claims that members of the movement are showing signs of suffering (from the current state of crisis) and that they feel insecure because of the various intrigues that were going on and suffering from illness and depression. The first paragraph actually mentions chronic physical illness or depression.
The author of the article states that DePaolis pushed for some changes in the movement but then lost control of the situation.

ReGAIN Comment:
The article paints a disturbing picture of the present situation for the 3gf women and for the Vatican delegate, Cardinal Velasio DePaolis and raises some interesting questions regarding the future of the Regnum Christi movement.

The first thing that jumps off the page is the mention of chronic physical illness and depression,

Since the Vatican commissioner took over leadership of Regnum Christi, has anything been done to improve the availability of medical treatment for the women? In the past there have been horror stories of someone in house being appointed to dispense aspirins and other over the counter remedies as a first line of treatment. When that was inadequate there were some volunteer doctors available to provide medical treatment. Unfortunately, the women were not covered by a regular health protection plan and in many cases were required to take their chances with whomever and whatever was available.

Now that there are a significant number of the 3gf women suffering from chronic physical illness and depression, are they receiving proper medical treatment for this? Have the current leaders brought in psychological counselors to deal with cases of depression or do the women just have to tough it out. Failure to provide adequate treatment could lead to more severe cases and possibly cases of suicide.

The topic of leadership raises a significant question regarding the spirituality of Regnum Christi. It will be healthy for the women to have new leaders to govern the administrative aspects of their organization. But who will be their spiritual guides and what will it be based on? There is no escape from the fact that their founder was proven to be a false prophet. In the Book Matthew 7:15, Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets. So it is obvious that the reorganized religious movement would be foolish to choose Father Marcial Maciel’s (false prophet) teachings as a guide to devote their lives to.

If the founder, who was said by the Vatican to be immoral and whose life was devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment has been proven to be a false prophet, can there be anything from his teachings and rule that could be worthy of using as a basis for religious life? If not him, then who within the existing organization is there to step forward and become a true prophet, who could develop a unique spirituality and lead an exemplary life to be emulated by the others?

Is it reasonable for a young woman to give up everything she has in life including her sexuality, her free will and all of her money to become part of a religious group that offers little or nothing in the way of unique spirituality, inadequate provision for health insurance coverage and lack of provision for her senior years?

In recent years, the 3gf women discovered that their form of consecration was not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church even though they had been convinced over the years that the Vatican had approved everything to do with their way of life. Then they discovered that they had been deceived regarding the contents of the constitutional document that had actually been approved by the Vatican in 2004. Most of the norms and rules they had been obliged to follow had definitely not been included in the skimpy document that was approved in 2004.

In 2009, after the bombshell dropped about the fraudulent life of the founder they had idolized for so long they never skipped a beat in their recruiting and fund raising activities. There was little provision for them to mourn or to take some time out to reevaluate things or to think about the significance of what had happened. They were simply kept busy as always as if nothing had happened. When their (absolute) ruler became disgraced, there was not a new spiritual leader to replace him.

How confusing that must have been. At the time, in 2009, according to their restrictive rules and demanding schedules there was little time to think and little opportunity to openly discuss among themselves what was going on. The reform process, although painfully slow has resulted in enough positive changes that the 3gf women are now allowed to speak to each other to share their concerns and feelings and they have more access to the outside world and to their families. Now that they are being exposed to some of the horrendous truth is it any wonder that many of them are suffering from mental, physical and emotional illnesses?

Has their leadership provided adequate recognition of their situation and made adequate provision to promote healing? It is difficult to tell from the outside. However, from the information that has been provided by some of the more vocal ones of those who have left it would seem that the leaders have for the most part continued their damage control and obfuscation. The leaders have tried to soften the blow regarding their disgraced leader by emphasizing that he had a stable relationship with his women and children and deemphasized that he had more than one stable relationship at a time and that he had almost certainly over the years molested many children. Those who wished were encouraged to keep their pictures of the founder in their wallets and purses.

It was obvious from the wording of the Vatican communique in 2010 that the founder had acted deceptively and fraudulently. It is less obvious that the fraud and deception has continued after his death because the emphasis on the reform process has been focused on the immoral actions of Father Marcial Maciel and never on the current leaders even though they were selected and trained by him.

Statements made by Nieves Garcia Horcaja when she departed were quoted in the article in the Vatican Insider that provide strong evidence that there is still deception in the Legion and Regnum Christi from the existing leaders even with the Vatican overseeing them. She stated bluntly: I saw that there was a group of superiors who were not willing to seek the truth. The deception is not likely to improve after Cardinal DePaolis decides his work is done.

So, the newly elected leaders for Regnum Christi will certainly have their work cut out for them. In some ways they will have to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps to not simple replace previous leaders but to build a religious movement from square one, develop a charism, provide saintly example, develop an authentic form of consecration and make radical changes in direction all the while dealing with the chaos confusion including chronic illnesses and depression. There is another handicap that will be like a huge ball and chain impeding every step. Like a Siamese twin, Regnum Christi is joined at the hip to the Legionaries of Christ, having identical founders, charism (or lack of) and sharing the same pot of money.

We have not been hearing the party line that God is able to draw straight with crooked lines as much lately but that may be their only hope at this stage because some of the lines they are trying to draw with are badly twisted.

At ReGAIN, we support the 3gf women with our prayers and our thoughts and genuine concern. We believe that they are generally good and devout women who genuinely wish to serve God. We have no axe to grind with the women and believe they were of good character and formed in their faith before they became involved with Regnum Christi. We wish to emphasize that it is the (cult like) structure of the Legion and Regnum Christi, their hidden agendas and their manipulation and excessive control of people such as the 3gf women that motivate us to bring the truth that shall set people free. We wish for the 3gf women to ReGAIN their lost serenity that La Stampa refers to.

A Cult Conference Presentation Regarding the Legionaries of Christ Religious Order

When Faith is Corrupted Into a Coercive Ideology – The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors


By Xavier Leger


The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

A Presentation Regarding the Legion of Christ Religious Order at the International Cultic Studies Association’s Annual Conference in Barcelona, July 8, 2011,

By Xavier L?ger

The following presentation was one of several included in Session 2 of the recent International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference entitled:

Are there Cultic Aberrations in the Catholic Church?



A Cult Conference Presentation Regarding the Legionaries of Christ Religious Order

When Faith is Corrupted Into a Coercive Ideology – The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

By Xavier Leger

When Faith is Corrupted Into a Coercive Ideology – The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

A Presentation Regarding the Legion of Christ Religious Order at the International Cultic Studies Association’s Annual Conference in Barcelona, July 8, 2011

By Xavier Léger

The following presentation was one of several included in Session 2 of the recent International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference entitled:

Are there Cultic Aberrations in the Catholic Church?


I would like to share with you a short extract from the famous French Novel: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

What does it mean to be ‘tame’? asked the little prince.

It is an act too often neglected, said the fox. It means to establish ties.

To establish ties?

Just that, said the fox. To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world

The fox teaches the little prince that any relationship is the result of a long period of taming. To tame, according to the fox, means to establish ties, to build relationships, to make someone become unique. In other words, it means that human relationships are built over time and that they require several steps, because we need to know each other to be able to appreciate the other. We all have this experience in our lives.

But what is true for people is also true in our relationship with God. The greatest mystics of the History of the Church have taught that the spiritual life is a journey. And so, we are traveling from one place to another. And this journey is directed towards a progressive encounter with God, which can be discovered in the Scriptures, the sacraments, the prayer and the people we meet along our journey.

The image that is often used by these mystics is the image of the bride who is looking for her beloved. God creates a desire in peoples’ hearts. He never imposes himself; otherwise it would mean that He contradicts himself, by denying the freedom He has entrusted to us. There are verbs, indeed, that do not support the imperative form. We cannot say love!, since the act of love is created, not by the strength of the will, but by the lovability of the object.

This idea ties into the very foundations of Christian anthropology which is drawn primarily from the Aristotelian philosophical tradition. It finds also many parallels in Holy Scriptures. Many exegetes have worked on this idea, showing how God created a spousal relationship with the Jewish people throughout the centuries and how the story of Revelation, during two thousand years is indeed a long pedagogy of taming.

But what is important to understand is that the biblical tradition, as well as the philosophical tradition, both show clearly that any spiritual life begins as a journey, which implies an act of freedom on the subject’s part. This journey, which is infinitely respectful, is indeed the very essence of any religious life.
But within some new groups in the Church it appears that this process of taming is totally eliminated. Now if you eliminate this stage, religious life loses its proper sense and herein lies the threat of cultic behavior. Where religious life lacks its proper driving forces, founders with guru pretensions will use other means to retain their members and to make their community grow including:

  1. a misuse of guilt to create an atmosphere of stress and coercion
  1. turning true Christian faith into an ideology

Guilt and ideology are the true main driving forces behind the cultic behaviour of fake religious groups

The First Driving Force: A Few Words About Guilt

  • In six years of life in the Legion of Christ, I never heard anything about discernment, but only about final perseverance.
  • Through conferences, retreats, homilies, teachings, they tell you again and again that God has chosen you from all eternity to accomplish this particular mission that nobody else can fulfill. If you decide not to fulfill your mission, then you are putting your eternal salvation in jeopardy.
  • Four times every day a Legionary is required to do an examination of conscience: the first one during the Morning Prayer, to remember all his personal commitments of human and spiritual personal reform. The second one occurs after the meditation, to examine his prayer. The third one is done before lunch, at noon, to examine how many sins he committed since the prior examination of conscience. And a last one is carried out during night prayers.
  • Every Sunday, he is required to do a written examination of conscience, which lasts half an hour. Let me provide examples of some of the questions taken from the handbook of this examination:
  • Have I ever serious doubts about my vocation? Are they frequent?
  • In these moments, have I sometimes thought that I had no vocation? Have I accepted this thought?
  • So, as you can see, in the Legion of Christ, the simple fact of discernment is already a sin.
  • When a religious makes a decision to leave the Legion, he must leave without saying goodbye to his fellow companions, even if he spent 20 or 30 years in the order. He leaves during a day when the community is out. When the community returns, the other members discover that brother X has disappeared. Nobody tells you officially that someone has left the order. And members are never allowed to speak about the departure of a brother.

So ? and I dare to say it, because I came through the same process when I left the Legion ? the aura of anxiety, phobia and shame that has been created around this decision to leave is so violent that you end up lying to yourself, justifying your decision by any kind of reasoning.

The Second Driving Force: Ideology

In the atmosphere of Catholic religious groups, the misuse of guilt immeasurable damage to the psychology of followers including anxiety, phobias, spiritual wounds and frustrations. These effects are more visible than others.

But guilt is only one form of coercion that is utilized by the Legion. The second driving force is the idealization of faith, acting on the will, by means of fanaticism.

Let me establish right away a fundamental distinction: the Christian faith is not exactly an ideology, but an adherence of the mind and of the heart to a person, and not to an idea. An adherence implies a sort of abandonment, of letting go.

I would like to try to show you how, in the Legion of Christ, the spirituality and the religious discipline not only do not leave any room for a personal path but even destroy the spiritual aspirations of the believers.

  • At first, I will analyze the issue of the ideology as such: how an ideology can exist inside the Catholic Church?
  • Secondly, I want to explain how the ideology is applied in the Legion centers.
  • Thirdly, I will deal with the consequences of these abuses: the impact of a destructive ideology on the spiritual life.

1- The Ideology As Such: How Can An Ideology Exist Inside The Catholic Church?

By ideology, I mean a simplistic way of thinking, which has all the answers, separating the world in two camps: The Church and the enemies of the Church. A speech without any nuance, written with a chainsaw.

In the Legion, the object of faith gets disembodied and becomes a kind of haunting ideal, which is to establish the Kingdom of Christ. Let me read some short excerpts of letters of Father Maciel, which will help you to understand what kind of literary semantics is generally used in the Legion of Christ. (There is still a debate whether the writings of Father Maciel may continue to be read. The dilemma is explained on Regnum Christi LiveClick Here that despite the weaknesses of Father Maciel, his works were miraculously good. For your information, for the moment, we know that Maciel was an abuser, perverse, a pedophile, bisexual, incestuous, a criminal, drug addict, plagiarist, intriguing, manipulative, charlatan, thief, sacrilegious and produced apostasy.

I have always dreamed the Legion that way: as a strong instrument, invincible in front of the enemies of God (CNP December 24, 1957)

There, we find the originality and the contribution of the Legion to the religious and priestly spirituality: A NEW TYPE OF MEN, of religious, of priests and apostles. The Legionary, as I have always conceived, is a man opposed to pride, avarice and lust. A man who lives polarized by the mission that the heavenly Father entrusted him: to establish the Kingdom of Christ in the world. (CNP, January 3rd, 1976)

Strangely, this kind of speech does not fit with the traditional teaching of the Christian faith. Jesus never called on people to conquer a Kingdom on earth for him. On the contrary, when people tried to make him their king, he withdrew from the crowd (Jn 6,15). When Pilate asked him about his kingdom, he replied: My kingdom is not of this world(John 18, 36). Jesus did not speak about an earthly kingdom, but about the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13, 24-43). He compares the kingdom of heaven to a tiny grain of mustard seed that grows into a huge tree, meaning that on earth, the Kingdom is only like a seed starting to germinate.

The spirituality of the Legion of Christ does not give room for any personal discernment. It is a black or white spirituality. No grey is accepted. You must accept the Legion’s version of Jesus as your Lord, and then you bow down in front of his divine will (which, of course, the Legion interprets for you).

2- How Is Ideology Applied In The Legion Centers?

Life in the Legion is an absolute, an ideal that Maciel dreamed of to make real on earth. After having laid out himself the principles of the perfect life, Maciel taught his followers that their paths to holiness consisted in living in his concept of this idyllic world. There was no room for debate or for doubts or for discernment. There was no room for critical thinking. His concept of holiness did not consist of free expression of personal will but instead a self denial that required fitting into a rigid structured way of life in the group.

The more you deny yourself, the holier you are.

But we cannot live on earth as if we were already in Heaven. In fact, this attempt to have a perfect life could actually serve as an image of Hell. The Center of Studies of Rome is the achievement of the perfect life pictured by Maciel: all is perfect. It is a world in itself, where everything is clear, nice and orderly. There is no need to go outside, since everything you need is inside: even two swimming pools, a dental practice and a gas pump. Life in the Legion is designed like the mechanism of a clock. It’s as if we were using Jacob’s ladder to build the tower of Babel.

If some day, you have a chance to visit a center of the Legion of Christ, you may be very surprised and impressed by the beauty of the place, the kindness of the members and the feeling that everything is clean and orderly.

Behind the scenes, the wonderful world is only made possible by thousands of norms and rules as well as a repressive system that encourages mutual surveillance and denouncements.

Legionaries follow a crazy rhythm of life and all their daily activities are scheduled.

They are told how to carry themselves, how to introduce themselves, how to walk, how to smile, how to greet a guest. Everything is subject to norms, that are very detailed. Thus, the legionaries are not allowed to climb the stairs two by two; they are not allowed to run with their cassocks; when they sit, they must approach the chair by the left side and leave by the right side when they stand. They are not allowed to bite into their chips; they must eat them with a fork. They may not twirl spaghetti around their forks, nor peel oranges with their fingers. There are rules that govern about almost every single action.

Daily life in the Legion of Christ is so demanding and the atmosphere of surveillance makes it difficult to develop personal human relationships between Legionaries within such a formal environment. You know quite well that the smiling brother you are speaking with during the times allotted for conversation may be the one who will denounce you if you make any mistake or even a small critique about the Legion or the superiors.

Let me tell you this little story: after the novitiate, I came to Spain for the Juniorate (Humanities). I had not seen any movie since I had entered into the Legion, two years previously. So I was very happy the day of our first movie as I am fond of cinema. But the movie was very poor and I came out disappointed. In a discussion with others religious, I told them I did not appreciate the movie. A couple of days later, I was called into the office of our superior, who accused me with an icy smile, to have criticized the choice of a superior.

In any case, Legionaries are not allowed to have particular friendships with any other members, nor to speak about personal issues with anybody else other than the Spiritual Director.
When I lived in the enormous center of Rome, surrounded by four hundred companions, I felt lost in the flock, alone, desperately alone. I joined the religious life with the dream I would establish ties: ties with God and with like minded companions. It ended up being a process of isolation that eliminated all ties with anybody, even with God.

3- The Impact Of A Destructive Ideology On The Spiritual Life.

The Legionary totalitarian system, so fascinating and seducing from outside, is nothing more than a means of crushing individual personalities and generating frustrations. The perversity of the system is evident in the fact that the more you pray the more you move away from God ? a strange contradiction that I have experienced in many testimonies.

But how is that possible? How can a religious order take you away from God?

The vision of God and of His mercy is twisted. The Legion leads its members to admit that God has a singular way-of-life for them. If so it means that, in the end, God does not really take care of me or love me for myself. In some way, I am nothing but a means to an end, a simple tool.

Our understanding of God was damaged because of that. Who is this God who wants me to suffer like that? Who is this God who wants me to pray three hours a day, while I lack sleeping, I feel bitterness and I suffer with a strong headache? (If you have a headache you are supposed to offer your suffering to God). Who is this God who wants me to follow, day after day, this dry methodology of prayer that does not seem to fit?

Prayer, a place of encountering God, becomes a place of forced love. In other words, it is a kind of rape.

And the worst thing about rape is that when it happens to a woman she struggles afterward throughout her life from a psychological wound because the act of love always reminds her of the violence of her rape.

There is something obscene about the methodology of prayer in the Legion of Christ because there is no place for any spontaneity or originality. Everything is already written in the handbook of prayers. If prayer is the place for encountering God, such a dry and accurate methodology detracts from any sense of poetry. It is as if, before making love with a woman, you would follow a handbook explaining step by step the procedures to fulfill correctly the sexual relationship. I think you would agree with me this would not be very exciting.


After being tamed by the little prince, the fox told a secret to the Little Prince. I would like to share this excerpt:

And he went back to meet the fox.

Goodbye, he said.

Goodbye, said the fox. And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

What is essential is invisible to the eye, the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

It is the time I have wasted for my rose. said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

Men have forgotten this truth, said the fox. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.

I am responsible for my rose, the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

The secret of the fox is maybe the real solution to the issue. From the very beginning of its history, the Legion of Christ has always been able to escape and manipulate all the investigations and to defeat the immune system of the Catholic Church. Today, the Legion is certainly the most influential congregation of the Church. Legionaries are extremely present in the Vatican, and occupy some of the most important responsible positions there. Think for example about the information in the Vatican that is almost entirely controlled by the Legion of Christ.

Since 2001, every year, the Congregation for Bishops organizes a week of training for all recently ordained bishops from all over the world. And Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re wanted this training to take place in the Legionaries, Center for Higher Studies. Why? Because he wanted all the new bishops to see the example. The Legion formation system is the model that the Church puts forward: This is what we want for the Church!

How did we get to this point? Why does the Church continue to refuse to open her eyes to the very serious cultic behavior in the Legion of Christ?

An Apostolic Visitation was initiated two years ago, and we hoped that the nightmare would stop. But once again we discovered that the conclusions of this Visitation were decided upon before the visitation began. And we can prove that.

The Legion has been designed by its founder to be a machine to seduce, where nothing is done but for the show. So, if you want to understand something about the Legion, and not be dazzled by the smokescreen, take seriously the secret of the fox:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

New Prefect of Consecrated Life Expresses Concerns About Legion Authoritarianism

John Allen on his recent blog on National Catholic Register – Click Here provided some interesting comments made by Brazilian Archbishop Joao Broz de Aviz, 64, who was appointed in January as the new prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.


When he was questioned in an interview with the prestigious Italian journal 30 Giorni, about what the scandal surrounding the founder of the Legionaries of Christ meant to him, he spoke candidly about the authoritarianism in the Legion’s structure. He said that when he was Archbishop of Brazil, he had removed seminarians from the Legion seminaries. He had noticed a lack of trust in personal freedom in the Legion structure that sought to dominate everything with discipline.


ReGAIN Comment:


The frank commentary provided by the new prefect for the Institute of Consecrated Life demonstrates some understanding of the most serious issues with the structure of the Legion and Regnum Christi. For those who have been waiting to see some signs of life in the reform process, this represents a welcome change from the new prefect’s predecessor, Cardinal Franc Rode, who had provided strong support for the Legion and Regnum Christi and for their founder.


ReGAIN editors share the valid concern about people using their God given free will in an environment where every aspect of one’s life is rigidly controlled in a militaristic structure that dehumanizes its members. We look forward to seeing if the new prefect will be able to influence those who are able to bring about positive changes for all of those who have been adversely affected.