Archivo de la categoría: Culto Características

Legion Finally Admits to Its Cultish Practices

Recently, Catholic News Agency (CNA) http://www.catholicnewsagency.com/column.php?n=2864 published an article about the Legionaries of Christ who have acknowledged deficiencies following their three years of reflection and the conclusion of their extraordinary General Chapter.

Following is a summary of some of these deficiencies:

  1. Re The Founder:: The Legion conclusively acknowledges, condemns, and apologizes for the sins of Fr. Maciel: sexual abuse of seminarians, concubinage with several women, illegitimate children whom he also abused sexually, misappropriation of money and religious authority, drug addiction, and stealing the literary work of others.
  2. Re Excessive Idolization of The Founder:: The Legion admits that they gave undue universal value to Fr. Maciel’s directives and that they misunderstood the concept of founder and had excessive adulation of him and were uncritical of his person.
  3. Re Renunciation of Own Will:: The Legionaries had as novices in training submitted to trials especially those that demand the renunciation of their own will.
  4. Re Pressurizing of Recruits:: The Legionaries were providing candidates with inadequate vocational discernment and help with responsible and mature decision making and pressurized recruits with a certain rush to get immediate result.
  5. Re Lack of Distinction Between (Role of )Superior and Spiritual Director : The Legion superiors habitually violated canon law by having superiors take on the role of spiritual director.
  6. Re Violation of Confidentiality: The Legion superiors habitually found ways to violate confidentiality, using personal information obtained for hidden agendas.
  7. Re Infrequent Rotation of Leadership: Once the Legion leaders obtained power they tended to remain indefinitely, which leads to having excessive power over others.
  8. Re Reliance on Statistical Reports: There was excessive pressure to inflate numbers (of membership).
  9. Re Information Control: The Legion superiors maintained a tight control over members’ access to news
  10. Re Over-Emphasis on Worldly Concerns of Prestige, Institutional Strength and Results at Any Price : The Legion superiors had hidden agendas that overshadowed concerns over spiritual matters.
  11. Re Acting Independently of Local Bishops:The Legionary superiors ignored bishop’s pastoral plans.
  12. Re Discouraging Personal Friendships: The Legionary superiors discouraged friendships and encouraged members to open their hearts up to nobody except their superiors.
  13. Re Regulation of Life: The Legion structure regulated each member’s life right down to the smallest details.
  14. Re Legion Spirituality: The Legion structure failed to follow Conciliar priorities and instead used acts of piety as means in themselves. Some still continue to cling to the founder (who has been declared a false prophet and place a lower priority on tradition and Magisterium.
  15. Re Finances: The Legion has mismanaged the finances, is in debt and some of this is due to imprudent, disordered and unbalanced expansion.
  16. Re Provision for (Consecrated Persons’ Senior Years): The Legion structure has failed to make adequate provision for their elderly and sick members.
  17. Re Manual, Liturgy and Practical Exams: The Legion has not given enough priority to making essential revisions to their spiritual literature.
  18. Re canonical Configuration for 3gf Consecrated Persons: Those who have been consecrated in Regnum Christi have never had a recognized form of canonical standing in the Church and this has not yet been resolved.
  19. Re Respect for Individual Vocations: The Legion (and Regnum Christi) failed to appreciate or promote individual vocation of each of their members. .
  20. Re Using People: The Legion structure and methodology used people instrumentally, did not know friendship or how to discuss and debate issues respectfully, rejected Conciliar priorities in prayer and liturgy, practiced empty externalism. that inspired both dissipation and an activism that vindicated itself with statistics and prestige, disrespected the freedom of candidates in discernment in the rush to get results, broke canon law in their seminaries by violating the internal forum, mishandled and imprudently spent money, sidestepped the authority of local bishops, and mindlessly adulated their founder.

ReGAIN Comment

These sort of admissions from the Legionaries of Christ have been a long time coming. For years, Father Maciel’s victims and critics of the Legion or of their founder were treated as disgruntled ex members, evil detractors and liars who were out to damage the Catholic Church or who were jealous of the founder.

Speaking for ReGAIN, the content in this website has not been altered and remains for anyone to peruse. The articles and testimonies over the years provided truthful information to educate people about what was happening beneath the charisma of Father Marcial Maciel and the shiny exterior of his creations. We never condemned the ordinary members; it has always been the structure and methodology of the Legion and Regnum Christi. Finally, it seems that the Legion and ReGAIN are more and more singing from the same song sheet.

ReGAIN has identified how the structure and methodology of the Legionaries of Christ and of the consecrated life in Regnum Christi have very closely matched those of typical mind controlling cult groups and how the founder closely matches the profile of a typical cult leader.

The net result of typical cult methodology is to systematically compromise the free will of the individual members, who gradually hand over their independence to the elite leaders, who profit from their free labor. A number of the admissions of Legionary deficiencies attest to the loss of critical thinking of members. For too many this leads to mental health issues, including depression, anxiety and even suicide.

Although we recognize there has been progress by the Legion made in identifying some of the problem areas that we have included in our articles and testimonies we remain very concerned about the lack of actual reform to date.

We wonder how a group of people, who have been subjected to long term mind control, thereby losing much of their critical thinking skills can actually decide for themselves how to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps.

For too long, the members have followed a false prophet, who ran the entire organization as an absolute dictator, making all the critical decisions and deciding what to do with all the money that was raised. Some powerful people remain on the inside. There still has been no investigation regarding which of the senior leaders worked together with the founder to enable him to lead his Catholic religious order and movement on a path he chose to suit his own agenda and lusts.

One example of unfinished business is that there remains a confusion inside the Legion and Regnum Christi between evangelization and recruitment. All cult groups overemphasize fund raising and recruitment because this is the primary reason they exist – to get money and power and an expanding membership. If the Legion and Regnum Christi believe they exist to evangelize then isn’t it time that they learned what true evangelization is all about? There are some excellent Catholic evangelists such as Ralph Martin for example, who focus their efforts on bringing people to make a free will decision to come into a personal relationship with Jesus as their Lord and Savior.

The Catholic Church has shown that for at least seven decades it has been totally incapable of recognizing a cult group within its midst and one after another of its popes and members of the hierarchy were duped by Father Maciel. Senior leaders in the Catholic Church accepted favors from the Legion leader in exchange for support to facilitate this incredible error. Isn’t it about time that the Church obtained outside expertise where needed and conducted a thorough investigation to truly reform something that has damaged many peoples’ lives and diverted many millions of dollars away from authentic Catholic apostolates?

Isn’t it also time that the Church sought advice from psychologists and mind control experts to become informed about cult groups, mind control and how groups can operate under the radar? For decades, Church leaders, even including Saint John Paul II praised and encouraged the Legion and Regnum Christi, in ignorance of the sexual, emotional, physical and spiritual abuses and victimization of its members.

Fr. James Farfaglia, Ex Legionary Priest Asks What Will Happen to the Shipwrecked Religious Order?

An article in Catholic Online written by Father James Farfaglia Click Here asks Who Is Really In Charge of the Legionaries of Christ??

Fr Farfaglia, who left the Legion in 1999 had been a member for twenty-one years. He speaks about an explosive? book, which has been rocking the news in Mexico. The book, which was recently written by Nelly Ramírez Mota Velasco in Spanish is entitled:
El Reino de Marcial Maciel / The Kingdom of Marcial Maciel: La Vida Oculta De La Legion Y El Regnum Christi / The Hidden Life of the Regnum Christi Legion?.

Nelly Ramirez was a 3gf consecrated member of Regnum Christi for twelve years.

According to the article, she explains in a clear objective way, without venom? how a person such as the Legion and Regnum Christi founder, who had a repugnant history of homosexual escapades since his time as a young seminarian and a young, promising founder of a new religious order could rise to the height of power, influence and success with the evident approval of popes, bishops, political leaders and thousands of the lay faithful.

She has included a chapter about Grupo Integer and the rather mysterious figure ofFather Luis Garza Medina who is said to be the actual head of the multi billion dollar financial holding company empire, although he is not listed as such.

Regain Comment

Who is really in charge of the Legionaries of Christ? is a very interesting question. Is it the old leaders who are all still around, although some have been shuffled around like the proverbial deck chairs on the Titanic? Is it the apostolic delegate, who has recently resigned from his position as head of the Vatican’s economic affairs office but is remaining on for the time being as papal delegate to the Legion?

The questions in the article by Fr. James Farfaglia and in the book lead to more questions, such as who owns the multi billion dollars held in trust by Grupo Integer? How much of the money that has been amassed will be used for Fr. Maciel’s Kingdom of Christ (for their charism, whatever that may be)?

We continue to watch and wait with interest as the answers to these questions slowly unfold.

How Did The Legion Of Christ And Regnum Christi Become Associated With The Term Cult?

Beloved, do not trust every spirit but test the spirits to see whether they belong to God, because many false prophets have gone out into the world. (I John 4, 1)

Very soon the Apostolic Visitation ordered by the Vatican will have delivered its reports to the competent authorities. The Visitation has been veiled in so much secrecy that nobody knows precisely what was being investigated in the first place. Cleaving to its mission of informing the public of the truth regarding the Legion of Christ and its Regnum Christi Movement ReGAIN has kept a safe distance from speculation. Seguir leyendo How Did The Legion Of Christ And Regnum Christi Become Associated With The Term Cult?

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women Basic Facts In A Nutshell

(What is Consecrated Life in Regnum Christi Really About And Why All The Concern?)

 

By ReGAIN Staff

 

INTRODUCTION: An authentic religious vocation is a dedication of a person’s life to know, love and serve God and to bring about positive changes in the world. For example, since 1950, Mother Theresa’s Missionaries of Charity religious sisters have ministered to the poor, sick, orphaned, and dying, refugees, ex-prostitutes, the mentally ill, sick children, abandoned children, lepers, AIDS victims, the aged and others following the beautiful example of their founder. Mother Theresa’s story is an inspiration to Christians of all denominations. She placed herself completely at the service of others. Her followers continue to serve Christ and His Church, carrying out the inspired mission that came from the Holy Spirit through Mother Theresa. The religious sisters in the community she established are legitimately considered to be “brides of Christ� by the Catholic Church.
On the surface, there seem to be definite similarities between the religious life of the Missionaries of Charity and that of the lay consecrated women of Regnum Christi, who also claim to be “brides of Christ� based on commitments that they make in a private ceremony. In both cases there is a group of traditional Roman Catholic women who claim to be faithful to the Holy Father and who have dedicated their lives to serve God. Yet there has been increasing controversy regarding the Regnum Christi Movement and their founder, in spite of some favorable outward appearances. All of the consecrated women take part in daily mass, frequent reception of the sacraments, participation in retreats and regular spiritual direction. They are well spoken and very polite. They keep in shape physically with regular exercise. They never abuse drugs or alcohol. They don’t have sex with anybody and generally are the type of woman that most mothers wish their sons would marry. So why all the Vatican investigations and controversy? It is only when you examine the structure and true under-the-surface nature and objectives of Regnum Christi and the associated Legionaries of Christ and the life and history of their common founder Fr Marcial Maciel that you realize something is very wrong.
Note that throughout these questions and answers several short form terms are used including “R/C� in place of Regnum Christi� and “3gf� for consecrated women. 3gf (‘Tercer Grado Feminino’ = Third Level of RC = consecrated)

WHAT IS WRONG WITH THE STRUCTURE OF REGNUM CHRISTI?
In a nutshell, the main problems identified by former members and family members of the 3gf women include the overly aggressive recruiting tactics, particularly on young people, the manipulative and deceptive practices utilized, the excessive isolation from outsiders including family members, the gradual and almost total taking over of free will using similar tactics to well known cult groups and the secrecy that covers the true objectives. Critics claim that the true objectives have to do with obtaining power and money for an elite group at the top based on what amounts to slave labor from the dedicated women who are conditioned to believe that they are a spiritually elite group.

BUT THEY ARE CATHOLICS AREN’T THEY?
Yes, they practice the elements of their Catholic faith in a traditional manner. Their basic belief system is in keeping with Rome. The problem again is with the structure, the methodology and the founder of the group. As the indoctrination process progresses, the women surrender more and more of their power to their superiors, who have increasing control over every aspect of their lives to the point where there is little or no free will left. The structure requires the 3gf women to surrender control over their behavior, information, thoughts and emotions. The candidates for consecration are in a vulnerable position, trusting and believing that they are serving God by conforming to an expanding set of rules they accept one at a time. When they make a solemn promise of poverty, they surrender all financial power and become 100 % dependent on others to provide for their every need.

HOW DO THEY GO ABOUT TAKING OVER PEOPLES’ FREE WILL?
They are isolated from the outside world, and live in an environment that was designed by a founder known to be a megalomaniac narcissist pedophile to fulfill his desire to be idolized as a Christ-like figure and most probably to provide access to pre-teen boys under his control. Conformity is rewarded and any individualism is squashed. Events throughout each and every day are based on a rigid schedule that provides little or no free time. Behavior is modified by hundreds of rigid inflexible rules that cover every aspect of a person’s life right down to trivialities. Open discussions are discouraged. Mandatory spiritual direction is used to identify and eliminate any lack of conformity. A “buddy system� that encourages each member to inform on others is used to ensure that nobody talks to outsiders alone. Solemn promises of poverty, chastity and obedience plus other “private� or “secret� promises to never criticize a superior are used to take away all personal power. The right to make ordinary decisions such as what to wear, what to eat, how to spend free time is removed. Total dependence is established so that all basic needs are provided by the group, including food, shelter, clothing and medical care. The women are conditioned to have to ask for permission from their superiors for all needs. Free internet access is not allowed; in fact all information is tightly controlled. Fear is used as a motivator to remain. Repetition of the group’s rules, biases and way of thinking and acting constantly reinforces the “groupthink� of Regnum Christi. The freedom to communicate with the other women who are in similar circumstances is extremely limited by the norms. The women are kept very busy with programmed activities and during times when there would normally be opportunities to share any concerns there is no conversation allowed, even during most meal times. There are procedures in place that encourage the women to inform on each other in case they notice any deviation from the rules. All these practices are typical of “mind control� or “thought reform� practices.
The most important method of keeping the women under control is spiritual direction. Each consecrated woman has been required to have regular spiritual direction from their superior and obliged to reveal all hidden thoughts and concerns. The spiritual director becomes the only person with whom one can share any private thoughts and emotions. In such sharing, the superior has all the power and the ordinary member has absolutely no power. If there is any conflict between the two, the superior is always right.

IS REGNUM CHRISTI SOME SORT OF CULT?
Many credible people have come to this conclusion, including not just ex members but most cult experts, an alarming number of senior members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy, well known Catholic theologians and canon lawyers.

BUT THEIR BELIEFS ARE ALL OKAY AREN’T THEY?
Some critics claim that there is a dehumanizing that occurs as the women progress in their “formation�. If a person has little or no free will left and all aspects of their lives are controlled does a person’s belief have much meaning?
Until the founder was exposed by the Vatican as a fraud whose life was without scruple and with no genuine religious sentiment, he was idolized by his followers. The consecrated women believed in the Holy Trinity but somehow Fr. Maciel’s role was magnified (and he encouraged this) to the point where there was excessive devotion to him that was ingrained into the candidates in their formation that carried through indefinitely. The founder for many decades was treated like a rock star by his followers. There was a duplicity that included Fr Maciel as a sort of “savior� as well as a model. For example he was nearly always referred to as “Nuestro Padre� (Our Father) by his followers. When a person constantly refers to a human person as “our father� throughout a typical day and also is often repeating the “Our Father� prayer regularly this is likely to result in an association between the two “our fathers�, the one which is being portrayed as a model to follow and the other the God and Creator of the universe. A number of senior members of the Roman Catholic Hierarchy issued public statements that idolizing Fr Maciel was unhealthy and several bishops and archbishops banned the Legion and Regnum Christi partially or totally in their dioceses. Christian doctrine in healthy environments is based on devotion to One Lord and Savior, Jesus Christ. Although the 3gf women do maintain a personal relationship with Jesus, for decades they were conditioned to idolize Fr Maciel as a special saintly god-like figure and were required to “integrate� his mind and spirit into their own.

WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE BETWEEN R/C AND A TYPICAL ORDER OF SISTERS?
Regnum Christi is a lay religious movement. Its place in the Catholic Church is comparable to other lay movements such as the Legion of Mary or the Charismatic Movement. It is not a religious order of nuns.
Catholic religious orders and movements each have a “charism� – a special inspired purpose for existence and usually an exemplary or saintly founder who was inspired to provide some special service to serve God and humanity in a unique way. The communiqué issued by the Vatican on May 1, 2010 identified that there were serious problems with the founder and with the charism. Although the Legion and Regnum Christi tried to defend his innocence for years after he was investigated and sentenced to a life of prayer and repentance by the Vatican the truth about his activities including his double life with mistresses and children could not be held back. When they were challenged regarding their charism or lack of one, the Legion and Regnum Christi came out with different versions of what their charism actually was. It was common for them to claim that “charity� was their charism. But charity is a basic Christian virtue that is required of everyone who claims to be a Christian. Regnum Christi has no unique claim to this virtue.
Religious sisters profess irrevocable vows in a special ceremony presided over by a bishop. There is direct accountability to the Vatican, which specifies certain essential protections and rights so that they cannot be taken advantage of by their religious order and that they are provided with adequate health care and financially for their senior years. The lay consecrated women make promises (not vows) of poverty, chastity and obedience in a private ceremony officiated by members of the Legion and Regnum Christi only and these promises are not necessarily permanent. On extremely short notice a woman may be told that she no longer has a vocation and she may be instantly dismissed. Her “consecrated state� is not recognized outside of Regnum Christi, so a person is left in a spiritual limbo. Many women have expressed that they were afraid to leave because they were led to believe that they would lose their souls if they gave up their vocation and all the people that they could have saved could be lost. There have been frightful cases in the past of inadequate or amateur health care in the Legion and Regnum Christi.

BUT DON’T THEY DO A LOT OF GOOD WORK IN THE CHURCH?
Like many other similar non Catholic groups, critics claim that the sole objective of nearly all activities of R/C revolve around fund raising and recruiting. Because R/C are very selective in their recruiting there are good people (remember it is the structure and methodology and founder that are the issues) but the good people are manipulated by the superiors to recruit and raise money. The women believe that they are evangelizing when they provide spiritual direction for the children in the apostolic schools. And it may well be that some good does come out of this but the issue again is with the true objective behind the activities. Through spiritually directing children, it is possible to find out about the family, their wealth and their influence. It is possible to select potential future Legion priests or R/C members and to start the indoctrination process. Desirable (wealthy, gifted and attractive) candidates are encouraged and undesirable ones discouraged from making deeper commitments to the Legion and R/C in future. It is also possible to exclude potential candidates based on their race, their appearance or intelligence.
Fashion shows promote modesty in dress and other good Catholic values. They are also excellent fund raising events and provide opportunities to interact with wealthy influential people and to recruit. Children’s programs provide opportunities to make a good impression on potential benefactors and to identify good recruits for apostolic schools or for the Legionary priesthood or consecrated life with R/C.
Remember that the founder who was found to have been lacking in spirituality and scruples was the one who organized the entire structure for his own personal objectives.

BUT THE FOUNDER IS DEAD NOW SO HAS NO MORE INFLUENCE DOES HE?
Fr. Maciel, a manipulative narcissist, and pedophile had absolute control of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi from the time he founded these until he resigned in 2005 following the investigation into his life by the Vatican. He established the Legion and R/C, made up the rules, chose the superiors, ran the show his way from inception until after he had to step down. As an indication of the influence and power he had, consider that after he was sentenced by the Vatican to live a life of repentance and prayer he convinced his followers that he was being unjustly persecuted (by the Holy See and “false� accusations) just as Our Lord Jesus had been. It was not until after he died and when evidence of his extraordinary double life and his misuse of funds to support his family members that the leadership of the Legion and R/C finally accepted that he had led a very immoral life. But his imprint remains throughout the Legion and R/C. It is now generally believed that he arranged the rules and organizational rules to achieve personal power and riches and opportunities to satisfy his sexual lust (with child seminarians entrusted to his care) and his love of self.
He was known to have taught his followers that the ends justify the means and this philosophy is still evident in the leadership. His indulgent lifestyle required cooperation from upper echelon of his organizations to cover their leader’s deceptions. He surrounded himself with those who were willing to go along with his sinful way of life that was the opposite of how he presented himself to the outside world.

BUT DIDN’T THE VATICAN APPROVE ALL OF THE R/C STATUTES?
There is considerable controversy regarding what was “approved� by the Vatican. Even years before 2004, R/C members were taught that “everything we do is fully approved by the Pope�. This statement provided comfort to those who were in formation but it was deceptive. The Vatican did approve a version of the constitution that covered only a fraction of the rules that govern every aspect of the consecrated women’s lives. Regnum Christi members were led to believe that the entire version of statutes and norms that they were obliged to follow had been approved. This was not the case. Based on information available out of the 1057 points of the 3gf statutes and norms only 128 actually received Vatican approval.
In 2010, Jason Berry, a respected religious writer indicated that Fr Maciel, the founder of the Legion and R/C had obtained protection from the highest levels in the Vatican through influence peddling and offering lavish gifts.

ARE THE 3-GF WOMEN “BRIDES OF CHRIST�?
There are five forms of consecrated life recognized by the Church (in the Catechism) including Eremitic Life, Consecrated Virgins and Widows, Religious Life, Secular Institutes and Societies of Apostolic Life. The 3gf women in Regnum Christi do not fit into any of these five categories.
Authentic consecration of a woman to God mirrors closely the sacrament of marriage and there is a liturgical rite of consecration presided by a bishop and permanent vows are made.
Although the “consecrated� women of Regnum Christi sincerely believe that they are in fact “brides of Christ�, there is no recognition of this status by the Church outside of the Legion and Regnum Christi. Because they are essentially lay people who are members of a religious movement (not an order) they exist outside of canon law protections, there is no obligation from the movement to provide food, clothing, education, health care, old age security or to be protected in any way by the Vatican. The local bishop is not involved in the R/C consecration ceremonies and in some cases would be unlikely to even be aware that they take place. Participation of the parents of the 3gf women is not essential; in fact for many years they were not involved in any way and not even invited to the ceremony. There is inadequate preparation and discernment prior to committing ones life, sometimes as little as a few weeks or months. And of course there is the fact that such relationship may be broken very easily simply by writing a letter to the local bishop indicates the lack of permanence. Is it reasonable to think that Our Lord would have “exes� around who used to be married to Him but who overnight with the stroke of a pen walked out on Him or were cut off from Him?

WHY DID THE VATICAN INVESTIGATE THE LEGION BUT NOT REGNUM CHRISTI?
The Legionaries of Christ is a religious congregation that is authorized to ordain priests. The Vatican oversees all such religious orders and congregations.
Religious movements such as Regnum Christi are not normally overseen directly by the Vatican. They are essentially groups of people who have a common belief or charism that calls them to serve God through the Church in a special and unique way. Such organizations come under the authority of the local bishops. It would be extraordinary for the Vatican to conduct an investigation into a Catholic religious movement.
After the 2010 investigation into the Legionaries of Christ had been taking place enough of the women of Regnum Christi requested that the Vatican carry out a similar investigation for them. The Vatican complied with this request and have initiated such an investigation to start in the fall of 2010. The Legion and Regnum Christi are like Siamese twins, having the same founder and similar practices and statutes. When the Vatican conducted the visitation to the Legionaries, they could not help but discover disturbing facts about Regnum Christi.

WHY SHOULD A YOUNG WOMAN AVOID ENTERING CONSECRATED LIFE IN REGNUM CHRISTI?
There are many red flags and one should be extremely cautious and do due diligence before having any involvement with Regnum Christi. The issues mentioned in the Vatican communiqué of May 1, 2010 regarding the Legion apply also to Regnum Christi. The founder (for both) was found to be devoid of scruples and of religious sentiment. His fraudulent lifestyle completely belied his public image as a spiritual leader. There is a lack of unique purpose that goes beyond recruiting and fund raising. There are legitimate questions regarding their cult like practices even to the point of claims of them being “female slaves�.
Yes there are some wonderful dedicated 3gf women. But for the time being there is a huge cloud over the Legion and Regnum Christi. The Vatican is striving to make essential changes to improve the questionable practices. But this will take much time to achieve if it can ever be achieved. The Vatican has agreed to make revisions to the constitutions for the Legion and it is reasonable to assume that they will encourage similar changes for the Regnum Christi consecrated women. As of October 2010, the Vatican has not given much indication that they will make radical changes in the (cult-like) structure of the Legion or of Regnum Christi. The commissioner who has been appointed by the Vatican has special expertise in dealing with financial matters (the Legion is believed to have at least $ 30 billion worth of assets). The team of assistants (including a Legionary bishop) who have been appointed have special expertise in canon law. They are tasked with redefining the charism and amending the constitution of the Legion. Such reforms will be helpful in removing any direct contraventions to canon law. But there is increasing concern from critics and family members of consecrated R/C members that the reforms may not significantly change the degree of control the current leaders have over the 3gf women.
The most precious aspects of our human nature as a special gift from God are our intellect and free will. To place oneself in a situation where control of his or her behavior, free will, thoughts and emotions is handed over to such a controversial group, which was founded and directed for over six decades by a person whose private life the Vatican agrees was without scruples or authentic religious sentiment and which fails to provide the protections of the Church that are normally provided for religious persons does not seem to be a wise decision.
For those who wish to consecrate their lives to the service of God in the Roman Catholic Church there are many other options that offer an authentic, clear unique purpose, a long standing track record and provision for sickness and old age, without total surrender of free will or personality.

George Weigel Comments on Next Acts in the Legionary Drama

By George Weigel

 

George Weigel has commented in First Things regarding the Vatican Statement following the apostolic visitation with some suggestions that include:

– dismantling of the “grand narrativeâ€� of Legion history within both the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi

– a recommendation that the Holy See publish an account of Fr Maciel’s double life, with his specific crimes described individually and then distribute this to every member asking them to sign an affidavit certifying that they have read and understood it.

– putting and end to the “moral blackmailâ€� by informing the members that they are free to leave without sin, guilt, shame, or remorse.

– replacing the current leadership at the international and regional levels with appointed interim superiors who will serve at the pleasure of the delegate

– immediate suspension of all vocation recruitment, including vocation retreats and postulancy programs until receiving permission from the Holy See to resume.

– instruction to bishops around the world to more closely supervise the work of the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi within their dioceses

– repudiation of the founder

For full article:

George Weigel-CLICK HERE

Legion of Christ Milks Founder Maciel’s Conspiracy Theories

By TJC

 

The writer refers to the Legion of Christ Catholic religious order and to its lay branch, the Regnum Christi Movement. These conjoint bodies, under unified leadership at the Legion headquarters in Rome, are also referred to as “The Movement� by Fr. Maciel and his followers

The following reflection is in response to a note received by the author, insinuating that he is part of a conspiracy group looking to harm the “Movement”.
contact the author at tjc1975@gmail.com

 

Dear XX,

Thanks for your email. I think what you have been told is just another one of the Legion of Christ’s conspiracy theories. I’m surprised that they didn’t say that I am a gay, communist, feminist, Zionist Jew (guilt by association because I’m a lawyer) who is trying to destroy the Legion-Regnum Christi Movement and thereby destroy the Church. Some variation of those groupings is what Maciel and many Legion of Christ members have used over the years to explain away any criticism of the Legion-Regnum Christi.

I don’t recall the level of conspiracy theories that we were told in the Apostolic School, but in the Novitiate (and even more beyond), especially in the letters that Maciel allegedly wrote and conferences that we either listened to in person or on tape, he would go on and on about the various conspiracies: the Jews, the gays, the communists, the World Bank, etc… all out to get him, the Legion, the Movement and, thereby, destroy the Church. According to the theories, the “enemies” of the Church realize that the Movement-Legion are the hope of the Church and therefore seek to destroy them in order to destroy the Church.

Here is a short letter he wrote from 1949 that I found on the http://www.exlegionaries.com site which illustrates my point:

“Tlálpam D.F., 24 de Junio de 1949

…Ahora estoy perseguido a muerte por el partido Comunista y bajo la dirección de la embajada de Moscú. Esto me resulta divertido y francamente me resulta más llevadero que las persecuciones de los buenos y la incomprensión y poca correspondencia de alguno de los nuestros…

Tlalplam, Mexico City, 24th of June , 1949

… Now I am persecuted to death by the Communist Party directed by the Moscow Embassy. This is amusable to me and frankly it is better than the persecutions from good people and the incomprehension and little correspondence [conformance not mail…] from some of our own men… “

PS This is the letter in its entirety as it appears in the CNP (Cartas de Nuestro Padre = Letters of Our Father)

This illustrates the way in which, as far back as that time, Maciel started with the conspiracy theories. Since that time, anything that has happened to Maciel and-or the Legion that has been negative has been caused by one of the various conspiracies. Apparently, from the time the Jesuits had him kicked out of Montezuma, they were also part of the conspiracy. They have always been out to get him and the Legion, at least according to the Legion and Maciel. Indeed, he blamed the sex abuse allegations that surfaced against him again in the 1990’s on the Jesuits. He claimed that the then Cardinal O’Connor had looked into the matter and told him (Maciel) that the Jesuits were behind it.

So, I guess it now appears that I am part of one of the aforementioned conspiracies that exist to destroy the Legion-Regnum Christi Movement and thereby the Church? I find that pretty outlandish; however, when I was in the Legion, I believed many of Maciel’s conspiracy theories because I was naïve. So I suppose that I shouldn’t be surprised that members of the Movement and the Legion buy into them. They are easy explanations. The conspiracy theories attempt to explain why people criticize the Legion-Regnum Movement: “It’s not because there is anything wrong with us, but precisely because we are doing everything right that they attack us and seek to destroy us… because we are faithful to the Holy Father.”… I’m assuming that’s how it goes for them in their minds. If they didn’t have the conspiracy theories, they might actually have to face the fact that there are some very serious defects in the organization-structure, as you point out.

The Legion-Maciel-Regnum-Movement has hidden behind the “infallibility” of the Pope and tried to hijack the Church, so that any criticism of the Legion-Regnum Movement is a criticism-attack on the Pope and the Church. A lot of people buy into that, and it is actually a smart move by the Legion-Regnum Movement-Maciel, but it is simply not true.

Of all of those former members of the Legion-Regnum Movement who actively criticize-expose the defects of the Legion-Regnum Movement, I do not know of any one individual who does so out of some desire to attack the Pope or the Church. I don’t know of anybody who thinks that by “destroying” the Movement-Legion, they can thereby destroy the Church-Pope. At least nobody has told me that is their intention, and their actions have not given me reason to think otherwise.

As for me, I will be honest and say that I am socially very liberal on almost every issue (with the exception of abortion). I give to socially liberal causes, and I have campaigned for socially liberal political candidates. Some of my postings on http://www.exlegionaries.com involved socially liberal issues, which probably weren’t the correct place for expressing those views, but none of those posting were criticisms of the Legion-Regnum Movement’s official doctrinal views, which are essentially the same as the Church. I don’t think I have ever criticized the Legion-Regnum Movement for the doctrinal stances-views they take, nor will I ever do so. Instead, my criticism has always focused on how PEOPLE are TREATED and the other defects that lead to the way people are actually harmed by the Legion-Regnum Movement.

When I left the Legion, I went to morning mass everyday throughout college. In fact, virtually all of my close friends from college are very conservative, faithful, orthodox Catholics. My grandmother raised me, and she is the same. Some of those friends are actually now in Opus Dei. We disagree now on many social issues, but I don’t try to change their minds on doctrine, and I don’t go after them for being in Opus Dei (or after Opus Dei itself). My biggest issue with the Catholic Church is that it hasn’t done more to prevent the harm that the Legion-Regnum Movement cause, although it is starting to do so now. I once told Bishop Ricard (of the Tallahassee-Pensacola Diocese) that I thought the bishops in the U.S. were hypocrites in the sense that they knew that the LEGION OF CHRIST caused a lot of harm yet did nothing to stop it. He did not disagree with me. That’s probably the closest I have come to criticizing the Church, I believe.

As far as my personal relationship with the Church goes, I have friends who are faithful, orthodox Catholic priests and friends who are faithful, orthodox Catholics. However, I do not go to mass on a regular basis. You could probably say that I don’t go to mass on any basis. When I lived-worked in Manhattan, there was a Catholic Church next to my office. I would go there nearly everyday for a quick visit to say a few prayers and just to be, but I didn’t go there to go to mass, etc… I think my experience with the Legion has turned me off to organized religion forever. I don’t have anything against organized religion, and I certainly am not out to destroy any such institution, the Catholic Church in particular. I try to live my life in accordance with the Gospel. I follow my conscience, and I try to be fair and just and to speak the truth always, even with respect to the Legion-Regnum Movement (and not based upon some alleged agenda or conspiracy). Since I’m no longer a practicing Catholic, I don’t really care what the Church teaches, and I am certainly not out to destroy it because of whatever it teaches. I simply don’t care.

I realize that there are very good, well intentioned individuals in both the Legion and the Movement. Very few things in the world are entirely evil or entirely good. I am not very familiar with the Movement, so I only speak (have spoken) with respect to the Legion, which I know first hand. There are many well intentioned Legionaries who enter the Legion with great aspirations and who continue in the Legion trying to do good. However, at some point, without probably fully realizing it, they end up working to build the Kingdom of Maciel instead of the Kingdom of Christ. In the Legion, the means justify they ends, so even well intentioned Legionaries do things that they shouldn’t, which harm people. The mission and goals are placed before humanity. That’s the problem, not any doctrinal beliefs of the Legion. It’s about the way people are treated, not what those individuals believe about a particular doctrinal, social issue.

Like you, there are a number of Legionaries that I like (or at least about whom I have nothing negative to say). I think I have only said negative things about Legionaries with whom I have had personal negative experiences. Sometimes the experiences of former Legionaries have varied. For instance, some people have had very bad, painful experiences with Anthony Bannon. I, on the other hand, had nothing but good experiences with him, and I dealt with him frequently. The same is true of Fr. Jesus Maria Delgado in Spain, who is now the Territorial Director for Spain. I don’t vilify all Legionaries, and I don’t want to throw the baby out with the dishwater.

I simply want the Legion-Regnum Movement to make major organizational-structural reforms, including the closure of the minor seminaries. Did you know that in Spain they enter as early as 10 years of age (at least that is what they were contemplating when I was still in)? They do not let them graduate from their equivalent of high school until AFTER they have finished the novitiate and taken their first vows. I once asked the Rector in Salamanca (the aforementioned Fr. Jesus Maria) why they did not have them finish high school first; his very honest response was “because otherwise they would leave once they graduated.” The same is true of the Apostolics from Mexico, who also have to finish their high school after the novitiate, after taking their vows.

To be clear, I don’t think that any of its doctrinal-social positions should change. To the extent it is Catholic, it should espouse the doctrine of the Catholic Church and be faithful to the Pope. That, I do not question.

What actually bothers-concerns me is that young adolescents do not finish their equivalent of high school until after they have finished their novitiate and taken their vows, by which time they are much older than they would have been if they finished in the normal educational process. It concerns me that far too many former legionaries leave at an older age (early 30s or even later) without a college degree or any marketable skills and with little help-guidance from the Legion on how to pick their lives up and build new lives. It is especially problematic when those individuals have been in the Legion since the age of 10, 11, 12 when they are no longer close to their family and lack the minimal social skills required to function outside the Legion. It bothers me that former Legionaries cannot-should not contact current Legionaries, including writing to them (except for the chosen few superiors or those designated to be contacts for former Legionaries). It bothers me that Legionaries are not allowed to speak of those who have left or attempt to contact former Legionaries (unless they are told to do so for some specific reason). It bothers me that Legionaries are not allowed to tell other Legionaries that they are leaving the Legion, not even to say a simple good bye to those whom they have known for so many years. It bothers me that Legionaries leave with very little. It bothers me that Legionaries have their mail censored. It bothers me that Legionary communities cannot communicate with one another. It bothers me that the news, particularly the newspapers (even Catholic papers) are censored on a daily basis by a superior. It bothers me that the Legion lies to its members; It bothers me that Legionaries are instructed to lie to others. It bothers me that the Legion lied to so many on so many occasions. It bothers me that when a priest would leave the Legion we would be told that such priest was “on a special mission for Nuestro Padre” instead of being told the truth. It bothers me that Legionaries are not allowed to speak about the allegations against Maciel. It bothers me that I had to have a brother kicked out of my examining room by a doctor because the brother (now a priest) claimed to have his orders to stay with me at all times, even when I had to drop my pants. It bothers me that I was not allowed to speak to my doctors in private. It bothers me that the Legion puts the mission-Kingdom of Maciel above all else, including human beings and the good of the Church–Legionaries and members of the Movement are simply a means to an end, small pawns in their game of chess. Whenever someone is deemed no longer useful for whatever reason, because he questions too much, etc.. then that person is discarded aside. It bothers me that Maciel had a man who repeatedly sodomized one of my friends in the apostolic school ordained a priest KNOWING what he had done to my friend when he was a brother in the Apostolic school (as a superior there). The list could go on, but those are many of the things that bother-concern me about the Legion, none of which involve doctrine or social positions. Those are the things I want changed, rectified. Too many people have been hurt over the years for things to stay the same.

With respect to the Movement, I actually don’t know enough about it. I was never in it, and I don’t have relatives in it. I also never really dealt with many members of the Movement while I was in the Legion. I’ve heard that the 3gfs have the same issues as the Legion, but I don’t know that from firsthand experience (ovbviously). The only things I have heard about the Movement are that far too often the Movement ends up breaking up a family because one spouse is in the Movement and the other is not (and opposes it). Those have ended in divorce. Those are the only things I have heard about the Movement. I don’t doubt that there are very well intentioned individuals in the Movement. If you would like to speak with a former member of the Regnum Christi who tends to speak to other former members, I can put you in touch with her. She is a very conservative, faithful, orthodox Catholic. She’s on the complete opposite side of the so-called “gay agenda” (whatever that term means, although it seems to be used frequently on Fox news). Indeed, I think most (if not all) of the former members of Regnum Christi whom I know are still very conservative, faithful, orthodox members. Among former legionaries, we tend to be all over the place.

However, we are all working together, regardless of our social-doctrinal differences, with the sole goal of exposing the structural-organizational defects of the Legion-Regnum Movement. Among the conservative, faithful, orthodox Catholics amongst us, they also tend to work because they believe that the Movement-Legion actually harms the Catholic Church they love. In a conversation with a former Legionary a couple weeks ago, we both noted and marveled at the fact that such a diverse group of people, who in the regular, outside world would never really hang out together let alone work together, are able to work together because the problems with the Legion-Regnum Movement are so large and important that they overcome our differences.

It sounds like you may benefit more from talking to a former member of Regnum Christi. If you wish to do so, I can put you in touch with her. Also, please feel free to send this email to whomever told you about the alleged conspiracy theory and to whomever else you wish.

Thank you for asking for my side of the story; this is it. Please let me know if you have any other questions or would like to discuss further. Let’s pray for each other and our families.

God bless,

TJC

One Vow to Rule Them – How the Legion Lives Gospel Charity

The Legion of Christ Sues ReGAIN in Virginia Court

 

By Giselle Sainte Marie

 

More information from ReGAIN to come soon, including press release

 

Having been a member of the Regnum Christi Movement associated with the Legionaries of Christ, I can attest to the emphasis that the group put on “Gospel charity.� It was presented as the paramount virtue, essential to the smooth operation of the mission of the Legion, and deeply imbedded in our way of life through spiritual direction, confession, and apostolic dialogue. Gospel charity was so important that the priests took a private vow (and consecrated members made a “promise� before God) in addition to the evangelical counsels of poverty, chastity and obedience. Thus were they bound to its practice in a two-fold way: they promised never to criticize the Legion, and to report to their superiors anyone who did.

Even the rank-and-file members enthusiastically embraced this aspect of the “charism,� making sure not only that fellow RC members were entirely positive in their relationship to the Legion, but also pointing out to their directors Catholics friends outside the group who may not have “appreciated� the gift that the Movement offered the Church. Knowing how back-biting and idle gossip wounded Our Lord, we complied readily – for any criticism of a work of God (approved by the Church, we were always reminded) bordered on blasphemy. “Building the Kingdom� meant flushing out its enemies, who could be recognized by their words and attitudes.

Bullying Critics in Order Safeguard Love

Having explained Gospel charity as interpreted by this group, we come to an extraordinary application of it, in that the Legionaries of Christ have just sued a group called ReGAIN, offering a $1.5million bond for access to its data. ReGAIN – a loose association composed of former Legionaries and RC members as well as concerned family members and friends – offers assistance to anyone negatively impacted by this Movement, is being accused of undermining the Legion’s mission by means of discussing the rules and methodology of the group.

The action doesn’t come in a vacuum, of course, since the Vatican has in recent years taken much time to deliberate over the accusations against the Founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel. After taking scores of depositions concerning his alleged sexual abuse of minors, his manipulative way of guiding souls, and his duplicitous way of “building the Kingdom,� the Church acted in May of 2006, issuing from the Holy See Press Office a Communiqué that eschewed a trial of Maciel, because of his advanced age, but retired him to a life of prayer and penance.

A key phrase in that Communiqué which both sides seized upon was the following:“Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association ‘Regnum Christi’ is gratefully recognized.” Legion supporters insisted it was a blanket endorsement of the Movement consistent with the support it had always enjoyed in the past. Others put more emphasis on the word “independent,â€� surmising that the support would now be contingent on the Legion’s effort to separate its mission from the personality of the Founder.

The Legion very quickly indicated what “independent of the person of the Founder� entailed. The response of members world-wide ran in sadly predictable streams. His devotees gathered about him in solidarity, comparing him to any number of saints and even Jesus Christ Himself, subject to another Passion – this time at the hands of Benedict XVI. The Register added to Maciel’s hagiography, noting, “He has always reacted the same way: seeing the cross as coming from God, refusing to defend himself, bearing malice toward none.�

Another stream of support launched a strong offense on his behalf, decrying any who could possibly think that the Legion’s methods were troublesome or that the Founder was capable of pederasty. Having been coached in Gospel charity for years, members of the Movement knew that defense of the Church often required a convoluted attack to undermine critics of its most esteemed congregation.

What Does the Legion Want from ReGAIN?

The Legion accuses ReGAIN members of “stealing’ various documents, such as letters from Maciel to his followers (many of which outline his intentions to prioritize recruiting and fundraising through established schools and apostolates), the Legion’s constitutions, and documents listing their “norms� of behavior (such as etiquette, mandates and prohibitions) – which the Legion of Christ insists must remain private. The complaint filed in an Alexandria, VA court states:

To carry out this mission, like any organization, the Legion creates and relies on proprietary materials, including letters and other documents compiled by Legion members intended only for internal dissemination and discussion. Certain of those private and proprietary materials have been stolen from the Legion, and portions of those stolen materials, including internal principles, norms, and private letters of the Legion’s founder are known to be in the defendant’s possession. In fact defendants, along with other co-conspirators, have intentionally taken out of context excerpts from many of the stolen materials and posted them on the internet as part of a concerted effort to wage a malicious disinformation campaign against the Legion.

The Legion lawyers seem to have sidestepped arguing a copyright violation for two reasons: because there is no doubt that the use of the material for discussion entails a fair use of the documents, and because they would not want to be grilled on who actually wrote the material, which is highly debatable. To keep the case in state court, the Legion must prove that the letters were stolen, which is highly problematic, given that they were written at the time for the very members who now comprise ReGAIN’s board, that they’ve been widely circulated for years as a part of the “patrimony� of the Church, and that they’ve often been packaged and sold or given freely as gifts to certain members of the Church in past decades.

The constitutions pose a unique problem, in that the Legion hides them even from its own members as much as possible. While countless other congregations make their constitutions available to the public (even posting them online), men who join the Legion are not given access for years into their formation, although they are specifically charged with sharing the “spirituality� of the group. Later they are allowed to see portions of them – after already taking vows in the group (or making promises, in the case of the Consecrated).

Bishops in the dioceses where the Movement exercises ministries have a right to see the constitution, and withholding them from the local bishop is legitimate grounds for expelling the Legion from a diocese (an option that various bishops have had to exercise in the past). Personal anecdotes of Legionaries have confirmed that doctored versions have been supplied to bishops and cardinals in individual cases, which points to the fact that revealing the actual contents could pose serious credibility problems for the Legion. It has been ReGAIN’s contention that the constitutions are arbitrarily applied within the group, that they were changed several times over the years without following proper canonical procedures, and may not be in fact the document that the Vatican actually approved initially.

“Whistle-blowers� Must be Revealed

But the Legion wants more. It demands that the court seize computers belonging to ReGAIN members and that the leadership reveal the names and addresses of all who have corresponded with Legionaries over the years. What this underscores is that the Fourth Vow described above is still in effect – despite its dubious canonical status and rumors that the Vatican has recently released all members of the Movement from its constraints.

This reveals that the true motive of the lawsuit is to find detractors. It has been made clear that there is no official tie between ReGAIN and the Ex-Legionary discussion board, only a link from one page to the other because of the obvious shared interest. Moreover, the anonymity of the contributors to the discussion board is an essential element so that they feel safe enough to speak freely and work through their experiences with the group, which many found traumatic. The lawsuit mandates that these anonymous contributors be exposed because their criticism runs contrary to Legionary norms. The Movement insists that such discussions be banned because of the deleterious effect on its recruitment and fundraising. To that end, the Legion says to the head of ReGAIN: “Please produce all correspondence between you and the Legion.� In that way, the Legion will know who in its ranks have broken the Fourth Vow and collaborated with “enemies of the Church.�

ReGAIN has addressed the troublesome nature of such a methodology in a previous press release:
After research and several consultations on the matter, we have found that no other religious group has ever threatened suit in this way against anyone who has published their “spiritual writings,� with the sole exception of Scientology, which is considered by many to be a cult. Indeed, no other Catholic institution has ever done so.

However, if the writings of the Legion of Christ and its Founder are reserved for a “members only club� or for those few who are sufficiently enlightened to truly understand them as they climb the ladder of membership (degrees of Regnum Christi, stages of formation in the Legion), the Legion of Christ is creating a Gnostic Cult within the Church.

Most importantly, the “Cease & Desist Letter� [and now the ensuing lawsuit] only proves the point that ReGAIN has been making for years now: The Legion of Christ has cult-like qualities and is obsessed with secrecy, not with the saving of souls in communion with the Catholic Church.

“Independent from the Person of the Founder� is Impossible

The year that has passed since the Communiqué was issued has shown that the Legion will not let go of Maciel. LegionaryFacts.com defends itself and the Founder through extended excerpts his writing to explain the mission of the Legion. The recent conferences and retreats offered by the Movement have all had his quotes in the margins of their invitations, his directives at their heart, and his person praised as their driving force. Even at the largest yearly event, the Youth and Family Encounter, which was held in Atlanta, GA this summer, witnessed a key reference to the directive of the Founder:
This prayer of Christ could yield long and rich reflections, but I will limit myself to stopping briefly on the petition that is your motto: “Thy Kingdom Come.� Fr Marcial Maciel always taught you that this had to be the strongest desire and purpose in your lives and apostolates as Regnum Christi members: Thy Kingdom come! (Cardinal Rode).

This lawsuit indicates as strongly as any other action that the Legion insists that to carry out their mission effectively, the Legion relies on keeping certain letters of Maciel out of the hands of outsiders, guarding the Constitution that contains within it a mechanism to protect him from “calumny,� and intimidating by means of cult-like tactics any who dare criticize the methodology.

The Legion of Christ, rather than detaching from their indicted Founder, reveals that its mission is unalterably tied to his corrupt and corrosive personality, which has caused psychological damage to so many. Stating their love of Christ, their Founders intention not to defend himself, and the importance of secrecy, the Legion of Christ offers a dubious methodology by which to build a curious Kingdom.

In conclusion, let’s review the salient points:

• The Legion states: “The Legion property is invaluable to its continued mission of service and ministry throughout the world. However for the purposes of this action, the Legion pleads that the property is worth at least $750,000;�
• The property in question has been in circulation in a variety of venues for decades, since the Letters have been published, the Constitutions have been shared and purportedly approved in one version or another;
• A federal lawsuit is deliberately avoided because “fair use of copyrighted material� has clearly not been breached; rather the members of ReGAIN are accused of theft and undermining the Legion mission;
• The inclusion of a demand for all emails and names of anonymous posters on a discussion board reveals that the Fourth Vow is still in operation and detractors from the Legion’s mission will be flushed out;
• The timing and nature of this lawsuit – in late August with a hurried demand to seize property of members of ReGAIN – reveals the Legion’s effort to harass ex-members with intimidating legal complaints;
• The success of the Legion’s mission by their own admission is contingent on secret communications, in-house policing of criticism and a recruiting plan that cannot be exposed without damage to the cause;
• The Founder’s personality permeates a methodology months after the Vatican directed the group to carry on its worthy apostolates without him.

The case calls to mind the disturbing story that Christ related about a wicked steward. He owed his master an exorbitant amount of money, which he could not pay. Pleading for mercy, he was relieved when the master graciously wiped away his debt; and yet he turned around and abused a fellow servant who owed him a mere fraction of that amount. One could imagine an application to the Legion, whose Founder was found to be credibly accused of grievous sins. Rather than suppressing the group or ending its work in toto, Benedict graciously allowed them to continue with the Church’s blessing – if they will simply separate themselves from their troubling Founder. Instead, the Legion touts the blessing, while continuing to use the Founders’ strongest weapon against his victims: the Fourth Vow.

No one may criticize the Legion, and those who do will be found out and punished. Poverty, chastity, and obedience are important – each in their own way, but one vow shall rule them, and it will not end as long as there is a Legion.

Life with the Great Santini

By Giselle Sainte Marie

 

…Maciel…the “Great Santini,” outwardly a beacon of discipline, responsibility, and heroic virtue – stepping in to save the Church much as the Marines are seen as the backbone of the military. His “children” are model citizens of the Kingdom, smart, talented and obedient – but inwardly they are oppressed, misunderstood, and degraded.

To discuss this article or give feedback, contact the author at gisellestemarie@yahoo.com

 

Perhaps you are familiar with the excellent movie, The Great Santini. It was about a Marine Corps fighter pilot (played by Robert Duvall), married with four children, reassigned from the West Coast to a base in the South. Rather than living on base, he buys a rambling home in town, where he wakes up early each morning to have breakfast in the local diner. He fulfills his job as one of the commanding officers in a squadron, and enthusiastically follows his son’s basketball career at the local high school.

To this town, who doesn’t know him, he’s a “hale fellow, well met,” fitting in nicely with the locals, performing his military duties impeccably (all the way down to drinking with the guys at the Club after hours and instigating ruckus pranks) and appearing to be the ultimate family man. The wife (played brilliantly by Blythe Danner) made all things possible, supporting his career, running interference with the children, and drying the tears in his wake – because he was not what he appeared.

For whatever reasons, he was a tyrant behind closed doors. Outwardly affable, to those who lived with him he was wildly dysfunctional – treating his children like recruits, forcing them down paths they didn’t want, and squashing their individuality through shunning and ridicule. He awoke them all early each morning like a drill sergeant, pushed his son to play in a sport beyond where his natural interest led him, ignored his older daughter and her legitimate emotional needs, and dictated all decisions without input from or interest in his family’s desires. With the mother’s help, they were to be the perfect military family – well turned out, masters of self-control, and conformed to his vision of order.

One scene bears special interest, based on a friendship that the older son made with the son of the family maid. The two boys, one black and the other white, got along very well and shared many interests, despite the black boy’s stutter and other idiosyncrasies. When the pilot’s son discerned that there was trouble brewing and that the local boys were going to attack his friend, he wanted to intervene – but his father insisted, “It was not their business.” He disobeyed his father and went anyway, but was unable to save the boy from dying at the hands of the gang. The trauma of it all only added to their estrangement.

What this has to do with the work of Regain is that this movie is an excellent analogy for the Legion of Christ. It would not be a stretch to see Maciel as the “Great Santini,” outwardly a beacon of discipline, responsibility, and heroic virtue – stepping in to save the Church much as the Marines are seen as the backbone of the military. His “children” are model citizens of the Kingdom, smart, talented and obedient – but inwardly they are oppressed, misunderstood, and degraded. The fellow officers adore Santini for his contribution to the Corps, just as other priests and bishops in the Church admire Maciel (unless they take the time to look too closely), and yet the formation that really takes place in his ranks is highly dysfunctional and lacking respect for the dignity of his children. The wife sees his defects, but covers for him – just as the Church has covered for Maciel and perversely glossed over or explained away the abuse in her own home.

The unsettling scene of the racist attack on the innocent black boy – where Santini tried to keep his son from intervening – reminds me of the numerous testimonies of Legionaries who were ordered to ignore the homeless, to step over the beggars (with a smile), or to focus exclusively on their own projects despite glaring needs in other areas. Mass media apostolates, family centers, and rubbing elbows “efficiently” with well-heeled and influential Catholics is the business of the Legion, not helping others – or even tending to the crushed families in their own wake. Women who have pressing needs with difficult children, fallen-away husbands, or unforeseen illnesses in their families are not supported, but used for the little they can offer the Legion, and then dropped.

Children in Regnum Christi aspostolates are not encouraged to develop their unique talents and interests, but herded into vocation discernment events and pressured to “be generous with God” – through the Legion, of course. Those who try desperately to communicate with their spiritual directors about their inability to sense a vocation are ignored, called selfish, or sent home in disgrace with a profound feeling of failure. It calls to mind the scenes where Santini wouldn’t listen to his son, but walked behind him – yelling insults and bouncing a basketball off his head; or the heart-rending conversation the daughter had, which ended with her screaming at her father, while he calmly read the evening newspaper, ignoring every word.

In no way do I mean to denigrate the military and the excellent service they provide. My family has its share of officers who served their country. Likewise, the Church needs disciplined priests and generous apostles – but one cannot be fooled by shiny shoes, a good haircut, and a crisp demeanor alone. It’s what forms an army that matters. You can create it one of two ways: through inner discipline, joy of service, and human respect – or by badgering, fear, and crushed spirits. Both methods will put a contingent of men and women on the ground ready to take orders, but the former will be ranks of healthy souls using their freedom in the proper way, while the latter will be just as dysfunctional as the formator – slaves to appearances with the integrity of dust.

Reflections on the Legion of Christ

By Dr. Michael Langone, PhD, executive director of International Cultic Studies Association.

 

Could The Legion/regnum Christi Be Considered A Cult Or Intra-eclesial Sect?

As a Catholic you may be inclined to dismiss this charge a priori. How could a bona fide Religious Order approved by the Pope? But remember, cultism is not related to the doctrine of a group -some groups are downright whacky- but refers to the ideology and especially the methods used by the group to reach its, often lofty and idealistic, goals.Janja Lalich’s new book updates the definition of cult. Clearing away the animus of the anti-cult movement from earlier decades, in her hands the concept becomes less ugly and threatening. Read this free excerpt defining cults and compare your past or present group experiences:

click here for link

The buzz at ICSA’s Denver conference this past June was that Janja Lalich, author of “Captive Hearts, Captive Minds” one of the most useful and easiest to read publications on recovery, had a new book. While reprising her earlier bestseller, the new book is updated and totally revised.

Take Back Your Life: Recovering from Cults and Abusive Relationships (Paperback)
by Janja Lalich, Madeleine Landau Tobias

click here for more information on this book

While not endorsing each and every piece of content-Lalich is not, nor does she pretend to be, infallible- Regain recommends this book to all its members and to those in the wider public-Catholic and otherwise-recovering from cults, high-intensity and authoritarian groups, intra-ecclesial sects and harmful relationships; naturally, this includes persons exiting the LC & RC, their friends and families.