Archivo de la categoría: Culto Grupos

Legion Finally Admits to Its Cultish Practices

Recently, Catholic News Agency (CNA) 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.

The Master Narrative and Thinking With The Crowd

By A ReGAIN Friend


After ReGAIN posted the recent article on Cognitive Dissonance�, a reader e-mailed us the following comment:

“As the article (on cognitive dissonance) points out, this can easily happen in a group where pressure and self-righteous feelings around lofty goals make people abdicate their sense of responsibility and of critical judgment. Perhaps the supreme example of this was the Nazi party and its capacity to manipulate the highly intelligent German people to such a degree that they basically gave up thinking, especially in the face of terrible deeds committed against Jews, etc. There is a word of Greek origin for this called “synchretist”, which means “thinking with the crowd”. ( sin= with, cretein=think ).

One way the LC has gotten round its dilemma is through escapism: “We just keep as busy as we can, and doing the great work for Christ that we have been doing up to now; we don`t waste our time with idle gossip”. (This is what two or three friends from the Regnum Christi have told me). Of course !! It`s far easier to become absorbed in routine inertial activity (even though it may be good in itself) than to confront a horrific reality which may require someone to accept that most of his/her life was engaged in a very flawed institution and as a consequence will have to embark upon a new approach requiring big and very uncomfortable change.

Another tactic has been to modify the Master Narrative.

(Ex Legionaries) are familiar with the old Master Narrative but the new one goes something like this: “Our beloved founder, Marcial Maciel, inspired to launch a congregation imbued with a militaristic zeal to defend Christ`s message, encountered opposition from the start. Expelled from two seminaries by dark forces, who spread unfounded and unverified rumours about his behavior, he nonetheless prevailed in the face of adversity, albeit with significant effects to his health. In spite of great advances in carrying out his mission, the trials and tribulations continued, causing even greater physical stress which required heavy medication. All of this culminated in the betrayal of MM by a small coterie of ambitious underlings who made many false accusations, which have never been proved, and resulting in his expulsion from the order. The Church finally reinstated him, and MM continued on for many years achieving even greater good works for the Lord, growing in followers and prestige all the while. Alas, unable to deter him from this great mission, the Evil One finally managed to pervert this great man in the last years of his life, a perversion which could also have been due to the heavy medication he needed most of his life as a consequence of his great physical suffering. Stories abound about misconduct in previous years, but have never really been proven. The greatness of our founder`s mission is manifest in the many great works and innumerable souls touched by his organization”. It may sound a little corny, but I think that’s more or less the new Master Narrative among many.

Until they get over this stuff and the cognitive dissonance, I think they will not really become a truly flexible, mature and self-sustaining organization, which does not need to rely on heavy internal controls and robotic conformity to survive and function well. Besides, by attempting to create spiritual elites with cultish secrecy I think they make Catholicism far less accessible to modern man, even to most Catholics.
Just thinking out loud……â€�

ReGAIN Comment
We are grateful to our friend for his informative and thought provoking comments and we encourage others to send us comments on any of our articles.
The “Master Narrative� continues to evolve as the unfortunate truth unravels. The narrative was forced to undergo an abrupt change in 2009, when revelations about the founder’s secret life became public. The blow to Nuestro Padre’s image as the “Ideal Legionary� was softened as much as possible by emphasizing only one of the women in his life, painting him as an irresistible romantic figure, who got involved in a long standing relationship with her.

Within the Legion or Regnum Christi walls there was no discussion regarding the sordid details of their founder’s secret life. Based on a 2010 article in the National Catholic Reporter,Click Here
there was a forty year age difference between Father Maciel and his lover, Norma Hilda Banos, who was underage when they met.

Similarly, behind the walls, there was no mention or discussion about the other mother, Blanca Gutierrez, who according to the above NCR article met the Legionary founder in 1977, (who over years posed as an international detective for oil companies) when he was 56 and she was 19 years old.

After some of the revelations became public in 2009, there were various attempts to rationalize the saintly image of the founder with the shocking facts. For a while, there was an incredible explanation that some of the more naïve members believed. Their leader had received a blow to his head that had mysteriously knocked his moral values out of him. To outsiders who were aware of Nuestro Padre’s history that included multiple credible sexual abuse claims going back at least as far as the early 1940’s, the bonk on the head explanation seemed totally ridiculous.

Within the closed environment, where everyone around you is a “believerâ€� in the Master Narrative, it becomes uncomfortable and virtually impossible to question the “party line.â€� In their denial mode, they “knew” absolutely that their saintly founder was innocent of any sexual abuse so they automatically believed that anyone who claimed to have been abused must be a liar.

Fr. Maciel’s followers are uniformly willing to admit to outsiders in a very general way that their founder was guilty of leading an immoral life. After the Vatican communique in 2010 they could no longer deny this fact. However, for many, their comprehension of his misdeeds is limited to the (hidden) Master Narrative that allows them to believe that he remained a saint in spite of any evidence to the contrary and the Holy Spirit was able to work through him to achieve something wonderful for God and His Church.

The doublethink lives on.

Cognitive Dissonance Reduction A Possible Explanation for LC and RC Perseverance? Even After Founder’s Exposure as Fraud

By ReGAIN Staff


Since 2009, many family members of Legion and Regnum Christi consecrated members have been frustrated, wondering what it would take for their loved ones to wake up and smell the coffee (as Ann Landers used to say). From an outside perspective, there has been blatant fraud, deceit and inconsistencies, yet by far the majority of members have proven their loyalty? by choosing to remain faithful? to the group.

Recent studies and articles about Cognitive Dissonance provide helpful information to explain how high demand groups are able to retain intelligent and well educated members regardless of bad news about the group or its leaders.

Michael Shermer, a monthly columnist in Scientific American, has written an article Click Here that explains how people have an innate ability to avoid cognitive dissonance, which is the feeling of discomfort that results from holding two conflicting beliefs.

When people feel distressed because they are in a situation where there is an obvious incongruity between their actions and beliefs and what they are experiencing around them, they engage in a process termed dissonance reduction.

In his article, Michael Shermer uses an analogy to explain how a typical brain is arranged in what he refers to as logic-tight compartments, which he compares to water-tight compartments on a ship. He goes on to say that people have a bias to seek consonance between their expectations and reality.

The author further explains that our logic-tight compartments are influenced by our moral emotions, which lead us to bend and distort data and evidence through a process called motivated reasoning. The brain module housing our religious preferences, for example, motivates believers to seek and find facts that support what they wish to believe. He recommends some effective strategies for breaking down the walls separating the logic-tight compartments adding that Debunking by itself is not enough. We must replace bad bunk with sound science.

We might suggest here that Father Maciel’s communities continue to remain mostly isolated from most outside influences. Until the statutes and norms established by the founder have been revised, the majority of them remain in effect.

Critical thinking inside high demand groups is nearly always severely compromised and one characteristic typical of such groups is a black and white thinking mentality. In the case of the Legion and Regnum Christi consecrated life, the black and white thinking is reinforced by the illusion that everything to do with their methodology has been approved by the Roman Catholic Church and by the Pope. The leaders are able to reassure their members that even though there is some apparent confusion, it is best to follow the leadership of the Catholic Church and the Pope. Father Maciel created a false belief that members of his groups were safe because everything had absolute Church approval. The current Legionary leaders are able to continue this illusion because everyone is aware that they now have their own private cardinal in the picture ensuring that everything is harmonious with the Church and overseeing a reform process to correct any problem areas.

The International Cultic Studies Association has a wealth of information and resources. Kaynor J Weishaupt, M.S., M.F.C.C and Michael D. Stensland have co-authored an excellent article Click Here
regarding the Jehovah Witnesses that includes discussion regarding cognitive dissonance.

Following is an excerpt from this article that further explains how cult members resolve cognitive dissonance by having their reality defined according to their group’s ideals.

Psychological Issues

Locus of Control and Cognitive Dissonance
Psychological literature refers to an individual’s source of motivation as the locus of control. Locus of control is viewed as either internal–that is, stemming from inside the self–or as external, where control is attributed to sources outside the self, such as another person, group, or adopted philosophy. Studies have shown that people with an internal locus of control tend to fare better psychologically then those whose locus of control is external (Pearce & Martin, 1993; Thompson et al., 1993). Having an internal locus of control has been found to correlate significantly with feelings of happiness and self-esteem (Kopp & Ruzicka, 1993). People with an external locus of control tend to have difficulty accepting responsibility for their lives and tend to blame forces outside themselves for difficulties when they arise (Wang & Anderson, 1994).
Those involved in high-control groups have their reality defined by the group’s ideals–that is, their locus of control is external. Winell (1993), in a discussion of fundamentalist family structure, states:

Doctrinal rules are applied and fear of punishment is used for control. By adopting such a simple formula, a family can be robbed of the enormously constructive process of consciously developing family values and mores. As a result, children often fail to learn about personal responsibility or how to make complex choices. (p. 119)

The group dictates what is acceptable behavior, what and who is good and bad, and so on. Ambivalence, uncertainty, moral struggles, and conflicting feelings are tidily resolved by the group’s dictates. For the practiced member, such feelings are repressed before even being raised to consciousness.

In high-control groups such as WTS, doubt and ambivalence are seen as moral weakness.? Should doubt arise, members are exhorted to “work harderâ€� and “have more faith.â€� In many cases, the group defines how one should even feel. Certain feelings and thoughts are defined as bad, while others are seen as good. The world is perceived in black and white. Tobias and Lalich (1994) write, Cults create a world in which all the answers are known–and the cult supposedly has them. This type of thinking also serves a protective function, saving members from the anxiety of thinking for themselves? (p. 100). The individual in a high-control group does not have to struggle to develop her own beliefs and perceptions because they are defined, interpreted, and predicated by the group. Right and wrong are known, not discovered. In fact, The Watchtower plainly states that Adam and Eve lost Paradise because they wanted to make their own decisions about right and wrong? (Shepherds and Sheep, 1994, p. 16).

Friesema (1995) writes:

One of the most destructive processes within fundamentalism is, paradoxically, one of the sources of its greatest appeal: The dogmatic certainty, the good/evil, right/wrong view of the world that reduces true understanding to judgmentalism, also provides an unambiguous sense of direction and righteousness?. The promise of redemption and future salvation becomes like the alcoholic fix which mollifies fears, perplexing emotions, and unpleasant realities. (pp. 29B30)

In a high-control group, truth is presented as indisputable, solid, and reassuring fact. Questioning or deciding for oneself about right or wrong is viewed as a potentially fatal sin or as being under the influence of the devil. The danger of this certainty of experience occurs when a member cannot successfully dismiss doubt and ambivalence, or cannot repress unseemly emotional experiences such as envy, lust, and so forth. Cognitive dissonance is then experienced. Cognitive dissonance can be defined as a sense of unease or disharmony which occurs when feelings or reality fail to match one’s beliefs or opinions (Festinger, 1957). Festinger states that

The existence of dissonance, being psychologically uncomfortable, will motivate the person to try to reduce the dissonance and achieve consonance? when dissonance is present, in addition to trying to reduce it, the person will actively avoid situations and information which would likely increase the dissonance. (p. 3)

Therefore, cognitive dissonance theory predicts that once one has invested time and energy into a course of action, inconsistencies will be ignored because the advantages of continuing on course will tend to outweigh the uncertainty of changing. Festinger found that once a decision is made in a given direction, confidence that the decision is correct tends to increase, regardless of evidence to the contrary. As Friesema (1995) writes:

Either the doubt is kept hidden and an aspect of the self is split off; or there is fervent prayer and soul-searching to remove the doubt?the doubt or discontent is not seen as having validity, but as a blotch or irritant to be removed? fundamentalists do not consider perspectives that may threaten the status quo, but rather turn the dissenting voice back onto the dissenter with the injunction that he or she is weak in the faith. The doubt then becomes self doubt, and trust in one’s own perceptions is undermined. (p. 30)

A woman with an internal locus of control defines and interprets her experience by a set of internal judgments, comparison of prior to current experiences, and a singular set of moral values that has been refined and constructed over trial and error. The internally defined person will periodically experience cognitive dissonance and ambivalence because feelings and judgments are constantly being refined and adapted through experience. When conflict is successfully resolved for the internally defined person, personal growth and a higher level of functioning are achieved. When conflict and cognitive dissonance are not adequately resolved, the internally defined person may experience substantial psychological symptoms. He or she may then be tempted to turn to an external structuring system such as a high-control group to help quell uncertainty and provide a sense of direction.

ReGAIN Comment
Some readers may question why we would refer to an article about the Watchtower Society (Jehovah’s Witnesses) on a website that is focused on a Roman Catholic religious order and movement. We wish to remind everyone that ReGAIN rarely has any criticism relating to the theology of the Legion or Regnum Christi; it is always the structure andmethodology of these groups that we find to be comparable to other high demand groups.

For example, one of the co-authors of the article about the Watch Tower Society defines a high-control group by the following characteristics (most of which sound familiar to those familiar with Father Marcial Maciel’s groups).

    1. Members experience negative consequences for nonconformist behavior or attitudes (such as questioning doctrine or disagreeing with the party line).
    2. Information is controlled, especially if critical of the group.
    3. Leadership is absolute and not bound by checks and balances.
    4. Individual behavior is excessively limited by rules and regulations (legalism).
    5. Outsiders are generally viewed as dangerous or evil, and associations with outsiders are primarily in order to convert them.
    6. Members are required to give up their own interests or make sacrifices in favor of group activities.
    7. Members leaving the group are punished or shunned.

The fear of punishment varies in different high demand groups. Father Maciel established ways of making his followers totally dependent on their groups and having an irrational fear of leaving because they would be in danger of losing their salvation. Once a person is convinced that his or her eternal salvation depends on remaining with the group and that the group is faithful to the Pope and the Catholic Church it becomes relatively easy to block out any suggestion of leaving. Alternative paths to salvation and to a happy life are easily discounted no matter how reasonable they might sound.

At ReGAIN, we are aware that within the Legion and Regnum Christi, there has been extensive bending and distorting of data and evidence resulting from motivated reasoning to avoid the discomfort of cognitive dissonance.

We invite our readers to think, analyze, doubt, and discuss what we have written above with the firm conviction that only good can come from honest questioning. St. Thomas Aquinas never advocated blind faith which fears the critical mind. He defined theology as Fides quaerens intellectum, a faith constantly being challenged by reason. Jesus chose not to avoid the doubt and questioning of Gethsemane in order to reach his calling. He teaches us that The Truth will set you free.? But many of us are prevented by FEAR. We prefer the safety of our infantile unquestioning faith. Courage and maturity invite us to enter along the path of questioning, uncertainty, and the discomfort of cognitive dissonance? in order to find and encounter our destiny, The Truth.

International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Press Release

International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) jointly with Info-Cult/Info-Secte in collaboration with the University of Montreal is holding its annual conference at the Holiday Inn Select Montreal Centre Ville Downtown in Montreal, Canada.

A 90- minute presentation regarding the Legion and Regnum Christi entitled
“By their fruits ye shall know themâ€� – perhaps: how good and bad
works can deceive – the case of the Legion of Christ
will be included in the schedule.
Following is a copy of the press release issued :

Press Release

Ever since the 1978 mass murder-suicides at Jonestown in the jungles
of Guyana, when nearly 1000 people died, cults have periodically made
front-page news. Aum Shinrikyo’s release of sarin gas in the Tokyo
subway and the murder-suicides of Solar Temple members in Switzerland,
France, and Canada are two other well-known tragedies that captured
the media’s attention.

These are striking examples of cult-related harm. Many people do not
realize, however, that there are thousands of mostly small high-demand
groups, some of which psychologically and/or physically damage members
and families.

The researchers, mental health care professionals, families, former
members, and others who will be coming to Montreal for the annual
conference of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA)
share a common concern about group-related abuse. The conference is
open to the public and will take place from July 5-7. It is organized
jointly with Info-Cult/Info-Secte in collaboration with the Université
de Montréal, The International Centre for Comparative Criminology
(ICCC) of the Université de Montréal, and l’Association québécoise

Lorna Goldberg, President of ICSA, says that “the goals of ICSA’s
annual conference are to help victims and families, provide training
and support for helping professionals, and bring researchers together
to improve understanding of the phenomenon.�

Attorney Carolle Tremblay, President of Info-Cult/Info-Secte, says,
“We eagerly collaborate with ICSA on bringing this important
conference to Montreal for the first time. Since researchers consider
the province of Quebec to be fertile ground for alternative groups and
movements, we hope that many educators, mental health professionals,
and others come to the conference to learn more about this intriguing

This year’s conference will offer special sessions for former group
members and families, and will feature presentations in English or
French by more than 100 speakers from 16 countries on 5 continents.

Here are titles of some of the English sessions:

    • “By their fruits ye shall know themâ€� – perhaps: how good and bad


    works can deceive – the case of the Legion of Christ


    • Constructive activism: what can I do?


    • Manipulation and victimization by the Exclusive Brethren:


    conceptual, legal, historical, and psychological issues


    • A practical approach for law enforcement when dealing with cultic




    • Recovering your sexual self after the cult


    • From perception to reality: the case of ISKCON [“Hare Krishna�] in




    • Spiritual manipulation in pseudo-Christian cults: a panel discussion


    with former members


    • The neurobiology of belief


    • Teen Mania: exploitation in a teen cult?


    • The popularity of Christian evangelical patriarchy in the US and the


    resultant vilification and abuse of women and children


    • Listening to the still small voice: reclaiming the self after


    leaving religious totalistic groups


    • Cult-induced ecstasies, dissociation, and psychosis


    • Healing the rift between ex-cult member parents and their second


    generation adult children (SGAs)


    • The case of freedom of belief vs. freedom of speech


    • The guru pedophile unmasked


    • An indirect cult experience in psychotherapy

Here are the titles of some of the French sessions:

    • La dynamique des croyances


    • Les sectes et nos enfants : pistes pour une liberté religieuse




    • Discours sur le châtiment corporel des enfants chez les protestants


    conservateurs québécois francophones : l’influence des différences




    • Victimes de crime d’honneur : entre religion, culture et tradition


    • L’isolement social : une situation pouvant justifier une


    intervention en matière de protection de l’enfance en milieu religieux




    • Criminalisation de l’abus de faiblesse


    • Intégrisme religieux entre manipulation et victimisation


    • Comprendre l’expérience de la polygamie

The conference will be held at the Holiday Inn Select Montreal Centre
Ville Downtown.

For information on how to register :
or contact Info-Cult/Info-Secte at 1-514-274-2333 or at

Journalists interested in arranging interviews should contact Mike
Kropveld, Executive Director of Info-Cult/Info-Secte: 1-514-274-2333;

Extreme Mind Control

In what ways did the evil life of the founder negatively influence and contaminate the religious order and movement that he founded and the members who continue to dedicate their lives?

Based on available information, the attitudes within the Legion do not seem to be improving. It would help if the reform process were more open. From the outside, the Legion does not look much different than it did in 2009. The cloud of secrecy tends to make people fear the worst and some disturbing questions and possibilities have been put forward recently.

There is a sense that the Church is dealing with some heavy duty spiritual warfare involving deliberate cooperation with dark spiritual forces. A possible explanation for why this has been such an uphill battle for the Vatican hierarchy to deal with has been put forward and although ReGAIN does not necessarily agree with the suggestion, there is adequate circumstantial evidence to consider it as a reasonable possibility. We recognize that there are many other possible explanations but we hope to raise some awareness of the serious spiritual issues involved and provoke some questions and discussions to encourage the Vatican to bring in enough resources to overcome any forces of evil involved.

Cults rob people of their individuality, personality and uniqueness and replace it with the cult Self, which implants a cult personality in place of the person’s real self.

Cult groups exist because unscrupulous people are willing to manipulate others using unethical methods including mind control in attempts to satisfy insatiable lust for power, money and sex. Such people do not care about the damaging effects on those whom they use. In extreme cases the damage may go far beyond the emotional and psychological realms.

There is a level of evil involved in using mind control to manipulate people and to remove their God given gift of free will and of course to attempt to replace a person’s God given personality with one that closer resembles that of the group leader. When a cult leader gives himself completely over to evil to the point of becoming a servant of Satan there are signs and consequences. One sign of a person giving himself over completely to evil for a Roman Catholic would be that he would be repulsed by religious objects and would refuse the sacraments even when he was dying. The main ultimate consequence of course would be eternal damnation.

According to the only account that was made public following the death of the Legion and Regnum Christi founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado displayed some disturbing signs during the latter days of his life. Reportedly, he no longer said his daily masses; he was repulsed by religious objects and he was said to have refused to receive the sacraments offered to him. Only those who were close to him in his final moments know for sure whether he made a last minute decision to repent. In an article written by Jason Berry Click Here Father Maciel reportedly refused to make a confession when he was near death and an exorcist was summoned. Although this information has not been verified by those who were actually present with him in his final hours, the account described by Jason Berry has not been publicly denied by the Legion leaders and they have not provided details that contradict the story that has circulated. Jason Berry included the following statement in his report:

After the priests got Maciel to a Legion house in Jacksonville, Fla., he reportedly grew belligerent when Corcuero tried to anoint him, yelling, I said no! The article says Maciel refused to make a final confession, and states flatly that he “did not believe in God’s pardon.”

Assuming the above details are true, a logical question arises:

What was the state of his soul especially during the last year or two of his life and where would the spirit of this controversial man be after the time of his death? According to available information about the founder’s life after the Vatican sentenced him to live a life of prayer and repentance, in spite of the considerable evidence to the contrary he continued to claim for some time that he was innocent and that he had been falsely condemned (by the Vatican) and he did not show signs of being repentant or acknowledge or make public apologies to his victims. Although we cannot judge Father Maciel, it would be reasonable for a person to conclude that the Legionary founder, unlike typical founders of religious orders is quite possibly with the demons in Hell.

If that is the case, what would be the consequences for those persons who formally committed themselves to integrate their minds and spirits with a person who had given themselves completely over to evil and possibly become a servant of Satan? Would that open up doors and allow legal entry of evil spirits into those who have idolized such a person and even chose him as a role model and actually did make or even agree to make such an integration of their minds and spirits with his? If the good spirits of the saints are able to have a positive influence on our spirits while we are on earth, is it possible for the evil spirit of a person in Hell to have a negative influence on those who made vows or solemn promises to follow him?

One sign of this would be serious emotional problems. If for example a person were to have a demon take up residence inside he or she could display this through a multiple personality disorder. His or her good personality would be in charge at times and he or she would at most times appear to be normal. At other times, when the demon inside took control the person would be seen as having an alternate evil personality.

The following information is available on the internet and came from declassification of documents under the Freedom of Information Act.

During World War 2, the Nazis, under Adolph Hitler initiated a Project Monarch, or MKUltra that is based on mind control experiments that started in the 1940’s by German psychiatrists and scientists to be able to have a greater degree of control over people by utilizing a deeper level of brainwashing.

Some of the German scientists were brought over to the USA during the beginnings of the CIA and experiments continued. The CIA in the 1950’s wanted to discover means of conditioning people to avoid unauthorized extraction of information from them (in case they were captured by enemy forces. The CIA also wanted to be able to control people (e.g. enemy soldiers) by applying special interrogation techniques. They were investigating ways of memory enhancement for their own people and ways to prevent hostile control of their own personnel.

They investigated various ways including radiation, electric shock, psychology, psychiatry, sociology, anthropology, graphology, harassment substances, paramilitary devices and chemicals such as LSD.

Click Here

There were also investigations into using the power of occult forces. Project Monarch (like the butterfly that is transformed) sought to compartmentalize the mind into multiple personalities and utilized a satanic ritual including Cabalistic mysticism to attach a particular demon to the second personality (alter).

The above process sets up a programmer – slave? relationship. The slaves thus created are useful to the programmers, who have no scruples. Each of the victims of such reprogramming ends up having a good? personality (the original) and a bad? personality. The bad personality comes from the evil spirit (demon) who takes up residence in the host person. The host person’s original personality remains much the same as previous but shares the host’s body and at times comes to the forefront without control of the host. The programmer has ways of bringing the bad alter out when there is something the programmer wants it to do something for him. This serves as an ideal way of infiltrating a group and carrying out an ulterior agenda.


There are five levels of programming utilized including Alpha, Beta, Delta, Theta and Omega.
The Alpha programming is

ALPHA. Regarded as general or regular programming within the base control personality; characterized by extremely pronounced memory retention, along with substantially increased physical strength and visual acuity. Alpha programming is accomplished through deliberately subdividing the victims personality which, in essence, causes a left brain-right brain division, allowing for a programmed union of L and R through neuron pathway stimulation.

BETA. Referred to as sexual programming. This programming eliminates all learned moral convictions and stimulates the primitive sexual instinct, devoid of inhibitions. Catalters may come out at this level.

DELTA. This is known as “killer” programming, originally developed for training special agents or elite soldiers (i.e. Delta Force, First Earth Battalion, Mossad, etc.) in covert operations. Optimal adrenal output and controlled aggression is evident. Subjects are devoid of fear; very systematic in carrying out their assignment. Self-destruct or suicide instructions are layered in at this level.

THETA considered to the “psychic” programming. Bloodliners (those coming from multi-generational Satanic families) were determined to exhibit a greater propensity for having telepathic abilities than did non-bloodliners. Due to its evident limitations, however, various forms of electronic mind control systems were developed and introduced, namely, bio-medical human telemetry devices (brain implants), directed-energy lasers using microwaves and/or electromagnetics. It is reported these are used in conjunction with highly-advanced computers and sophisticated satellite tracking systems.

OMEGA. A self-destruct form of programming, also known as Code Green. The corresponding behaviors include suicidal tendencies and/or self-mutilation. This program is generally activated when the victim/survivor begins therapy or interrogation and too much memory is being recovered.

GAMMA. Another form of system protection is through “deception” programming, which elicits misinformation and misdirection. This level is intertwined with demonology and tends to regenerate itself at a later time if inappropriately deactivated.

In another article written in 2005 by Jason Berry, Click Hereone of the complainants (Father Maciel’s original sexual abuse victims) in the Vatican suit, said that Macieladmired Hitler as a military man. He admired Francisco Franco. He told us to salute each other, saying Heil, Jesus.?

Is there a possibility that Father Marcial Maciel would have used such an extreme form of mind control on his followers to get them to follow his bidding? If, as reported above, Adolph Hitler was in some way a role model for the founder and if he had completely given himself over to evil and been willing to serve Satan then anything would be possible and such a possibility merits consideration because of the terrifying possibilities.

We do not profess to be experts in this field and we are not claiming that the above controversial information necessarily applies to those who accepted the Legionary founder as a role model and integrated their minds and spirits with his or that anyone in the Legion or Regnum Christi has used extreme mind control techniques. Based on information available from cult and mind control experts, we have offered opinions about the Legion and Regnum Christi concluding that the founder and other leaders have employed conventional mind control techniques as used by typical cult groups to control their behaviour, information, thoughts and emotions. Various articles and testimonies on this site have confirmed that former members have experienced varying degrees of emotional problems that can affect them for years and in some cases even for life.

The Vatican communique, issued May 1, 2010 Click Here did identify some things about the Legionary founder as follows:

The very grave and objectively immoral actions of Father Maciel, confirmed by incontrovertible testimonies, in some cases constitute real crimes and manifest a life devoid of scruples and authentic religious meaning.

Regarding the more extreme forms of mind control that have been available since the time of Adolph Hitler, we can only offer circumstantial evidence that it is a reasonable possibility for those affected (and those who care about them) to consider.

We suggest that people who did commit themselves in any way to integrate? their lives and spirits with Father Maciel would be well advised to seek out a knowledgeable spiritual director who is experienced in dealing with evil spirits and deliverance prayers, possibly exorcism and secondly with qualified trained and experienced psychological counselors if they wish to find spiritual and emotional healing.

There is a prayer of renouncement entitled Renouncing the Tie For Good provided on Life-After-RC at Click Here that is suggested for those people who leave the Legion or Regnum Christi. It is a deliverance prayer, intended to bring spiritual healing to a person who has been exposed to evil influence.

The suggested prayer is likely to be somewhat helpful in some cases but when dealing with evil spirits, spiritual healing and deliverance usually require a stronger form of intervention by qualified experienced individuals. God’s power is stronger than that of any demon but the demons are fallen angels and have powers much stronger than our own human capabilities and they are not to be trifled with. The first step in obtaining spiritual healing and deliverance is to recognize that there may be a serious problem that needs to be dealt with by people qualified and experienced in deliverance prayers. There are experienced Roman Catholic groups and individuals such as Francis and Judith McNutt at Christian Healing Ministries in Jacksonville Florida and they offer training in the field of deliverance prayers.

Exit counseling by qualified psychological experts familiar with mind control is also essential to encourage healing for emotional and psychological damage cause by destructive cult groups.

Those whose lives have been negatively affected by association with the Legion or Regnum Christi or with Father Maciel have a right to question Church authorities about the above issues and to insist that they recognize the enormity of what they are dealing with and commit enough resources to bring true justice and reform.

Associated Press Impact Statement Re Zombie Like Regimented Life in Regnum Christi

By NICOLE WINFIELD – Associated Press Writer


“No one can give away a basic component of his or her humanity and renounce totally his or her ‘decision-making capacity’ – unless (they) want to become a zombie,” Orsy said in an e-mail. “It opens the way for an ignorant and unwise superior to mislead and to harm – seriously, permanently – his subjects.”


The AP article by Nicole Winfield points out the cult-like conditions that the consecrated Regnum Christi women live under, being made to adhere to *Vatican-approved statutes that require them to “voluntarily renounce the use of their capacity for decision-making” — pledging unswerving obedience to their superiors.

Four current members acknowledged problems with the way women were recruited? adding that 18-year-olds shouldn’t make lifelong promises after a six-week candidacy program?.
The article quotes canon lawyer, Peter Vere who comments that the women are placed in a vulnerable position, because Regnum Christi is not committed to providing for health care or for their needs in their old age. The women may be discarded at any time.
To see the full article:
Click Here-

* ReGAIN comment re Vatican approval of statutes:
In 2004 the Vatican did approve an abbreviated version of the Regnum Christi statutes, which contained less than 10 % of the total regulations that govern every aspect of the consecrated women’s lives.

Miles Jesu Apostolic Visitation – Similiar Situation

By ReGAIN Staff


Controversial Founder of militant Catholic religious group investigated by Vatican, removed and replaced by Vatican Commissary; overly aggressive recruiting tactics; questionable use of sacrament of confession, controversial spiritual direction; practices and customs require complete revision….. Have we heard these types of things about an orthodox Catholic religious group lately? Nope – not the Legion this time.


In 2009, Fr. Barry Fischer, C.PP.S., was appointed as Commissary for Miles Jesu and invested with full authority. His mandate was to write a new Constitution which defines the charism, spirituality, and apostolic nature of the Institute; to develop adequate vocational discernment and formation policies, to review the financial policies and generally to completely revise all its practices and customs.

The founder of Miles Jesu (Soldier of Christ) was born in Spain. He had founded the Ecclesial Family in 1964 and was judged unable to continue in his position as Superior General in the spring of 2007 by Catholic Church authorities, reportedly due to serious mental and physical health problems?.

Based on unconfirmed sources, the situation regarding Miles Jesu sounds quite familiar for those who have followed the Legion saga. It involves a militant orthodox Catholic religious group with a similar name (Miles Jesu translates to Soldier of Christ?). They had a controversial and authoritative Spanish founder. They have reportedly been accused of coercive recruiting practices, violations of spiritual practices, especially having to do with the sacrament of confession and spiritual direction and there have been questions regarding their financial practices. The group has been accused of keeping its lay members in a state of poverty without adequate health insurance while expecting them to recruit money from wealthy benefactors.

Details regarding the visitation and the recent Vatican action to reform Miles Jesu may be found on their website at: Miles Jesu Click Here

There is a statement at the above site issued July 28, 2010 by Fr. Barry Fischer, C.PP.S. the Commissary who has been given full authority of Miles Jesu during a period of reform.

Those of us who are interested in the current situation with the Legion will be watching with interest, concern and prayers to see how successful the Vatican is in the program of reformation of a similar group.

How to Vaccinate your Children against High Demand and Controlling Groups

Positive Steps to Becoming Less Vulnerable to Influence and Authority


By Sharon Presley


Vol. 7, No. 3, July/August 2006 edition of the reFOCUS Forum: An Internet Newsletter for Recovery

reprint from Free Inquiry, Vol. 15, No. 1, Winter 1994, Page 29

reFOCUS is a network of referral and support for former members of closed, high demand groups, relationships or cults.


Mindless obedience to authority has contributed to social destructiveness of frightening proportions in this century. The Holocaust, the My Lai massacre, the mass suicides of the Jim Jones cult in Guyana, and the debacle at Waco (where both sides were mindless) are only the most obvious examples – there are untold millions more. These kind of examples garner public attention, but others, quiet and almost invisible (beating down of children’s minds into docile and unquestioning lumps in schools and churches, for example) are also matters of grave concern.

As humanists, it’s easy to agree with this diagnosis, easy even to be a little smug about it, to see mindless obedience as something “they” do. Those Germans, those soldiers, those cult members, those fundamentalist Christians. “I’m not the sort who would go along with a guru or an authoritarian leader,” you might be saying. “Only pathetic, insecure people with low self-esteem get sucked into mindless obedience.”

You might be right; there are individuals who are highly resistant to the blandishments of obviously authoritarian demands. The mind manipulators, however, don’t all wear uniforms, armbands, or robes. There are thousands of little influences that can seduce us all:

* The “expert” we believe because we like her or his ideology so we don’t look critically at what’s really being said.

* The television or magazine commentator whose analysis we accept uncritically without looking at other points of view.

* The boss who is doing something we consider immoral but we fail to speak up.

* The physician whose diagnosis and prescriptions makes us uneasy but we don’t question.

Psychological research on obedience to authority and social influence, in fact, shows how readily ordinary, decent people can be manipulated into obeying destructive authority or uncritically accepting supposed experts. And not necessarily because of personal weakness. One of the biggest mistakes many people make in thinking about the reasons for obedience to unjust authority, for example, is to assume that only “bad” or “weak” people obey. Social psychologists call this kind of mistake the “fundamental attribution error.” In plain English, it means that people, in trying to explain another person’s behavior, tend to overestimate the influence of personality factors and underestimate the influence of social or situational factors.

A classic example of the power of situational factors is provided by Stanley Milgram’s famous study on obedience to authority. Ordinary people solicited from the community around Yale University were asked to participate in an experiment ostensibly on the effect of punishment on learning. They were willing to continue administering what they thought were increasingly higher levels of shocks to another subject (actually a confederate) simply because the experimenter said to do so. The results, in fact, were so “shocking” that they made Milgram the most famous social psychologist in the world. Fully 65 percent of the subjects continued to obey the experimenter to the end of the experiment even when they thought the victim was getting dangerous levels of electric shock, and when he asked them to stop.

Milgram’s study elegantly demonstrated the influence of situational factors by varying one factor at a time in each different version of the experiment. He found, for example, that the closer the victim, the lower the rate of obedience; and the more diffuse the responsibility for administering the shock, the higher the rate of obedience. The study also demonstrated the powerful pressure of the authority figure. Nothing the victim said or did had as much influence as what the experimenter said.

Another example of the power of social factors is the Zimbardo prison simulation study. Ordinary male college students, all screened for psychological health, were asked to role-play prisoners and guards in what started out as a two-week study conducted in the basement of a building at Stanford University. Though they were deliberately not told how to act out their parts, what they did was unconsciously play out scripts of bad prison movies. The “guards” were arbitrary, sometimes mean, treating the “prisoners” as if they were less than human. The prisoners became increasingly docile and passive, even turning on one prisoner who tried to protest the actions of the guards. (Zimbardo had to call the experiment off after only six days.) Thus, rather than thinking about what were the most appropriate and reasonable behaviors, the subjects all unthinkingly fell into social role expectations they had unconsciously learned in the past.

In neither study did personality factors play a major role in predicting the outcome.

Instead, most of the subjects mindlessly succumbed to situational influences or unquestioningly went along with comfortable, familiar and cliched expectations about how to behave. As in real life, the authorities exerted their influence not through using force but by making use of the human penchant for unthinking compliance.

Should we despair? No, we are not robots. We can change, we can learn to be mindful, we can protect ourselves against the seduction of authority. There are personal factors that predict resistance to authority, research that suggests that we need to encourage the cultivation of willingness to question authority and the development of independent moral judgment based on respect for individuals. There is social psychology research that provides suggestions we can use to make ourselves less vulnerable to the lures of unjust authority and negative social influence. Here are some of those suggestions.

Seventeen Suggestions for Becoming Less Vulnerable to Influence

1. Cultivate a sense of self-worth. Keep in mind your special talents, the times when others thought you were special. Nourish a secret “inner core” of self that cannot be violated. If you feel good about yourself, you’ll not be as vulnerable to manipulation and emotional appeals by others.

2. Know what your values are. Develop and maintain a sense of commitment to principles that are important to you. Understand why they are important. Have a sense of purpose in your life.

3. Build your critical thinking skills. Practice analyzing and discussing arguments; look at the pros and cons of important issues. Build creative arguments and counter-arguments.

4. Read diverse opinions from different kinds of sources. Don’t just read what you agree with. Be as well-informed about opinions you disagree with as your own. Analyze the pros and cons of these opinions. Be open to the possibility of changing your opinions.

5. When watching television news or reading a newspaper, remember to ask questions and be critical of what you see or hear. Be more aware of what the media selectively reports, distorts, and leaves out. Remember that the media don’t represent “the truth,” only certain perspectives.

6. Teach yourself and your children or students to watch out for persuasive manipulation and tricks in advertising and news reporting.

7. Join with others who are willing to stand up for the values that are important to you. Find allies at work or school. Join an organization that supports your values.

8. If there’s a social or political issue that’s important to you, get active. Join a group and work for social change. But be careful not to get mired in dogma. Remember that people with views different than your own are not stupid or “evil.”

9. Before joining any religious, political, social, or self-help group, check it out. Get outside perspectives and criticisms. Make sure they don’t have a reputation for being dogmatic, authoritarian, secretive, elitist, intolerant of outside opinions, etc.

10. Develop and maintain a sense of humor. Be willing to laugh at yourself as well as others. Humor deflates dogmatism and pomposity. But nourish a sense of humor that pokes good-natured fun, not one that is mean-spirited or based on humiliation of others. That kind of humor encourages seeing others as “bad” instead of merely different.

11. Try to encourage independent thinking at work, school, or groups you are in. Encourage and support diverse opinion and dissent. Don’t make fun of or attack people within these groups whose views are different from your own or who are different from the majority.

12. If you see something inappropriate, troubling or potentially harmful going on in your workplace, school, or other social situation, talk about it with someone outside that situation whom you trust. Seek allies within the group.

13. Maintain outside interests and sources of social support. Reject appeals that claim that devotion to the cause requires severing relations with others outside the group. Religious converts, battered wives, and people in institutions and prisons are often victims of impoverished connections to outside systems.

14. Watch out for attitudes you may have that reflect negative attitudes or stereotypes about others who are different from you – in race, ethnicity, religion, lifestyle, or politics. Learn more about the history, culture, traditions, or values of those different from you in these respects. Attend cultural, social, or other events of these groups. You’ll be less vulnerable to attacks on these groups or emotional appeals that see them as “the problem” or “evil” if you have seen them as ordinary people and not just some faceless monolithic group.

15. If you have trouble being assertive in the face of authority or are overly timid or passive, find an assertiveness training group, a counselor with a background in such training, or at least read a book on assertiveness training. In a nonthreatening situation, practice using the techniques you learn so you won’t feel so awkward or timid when you really need to stand up for yourself.

16. If you lack self-confidence or have excessively negative attitudes, fears, or anxieties that make you vulnerable to pressures from authority, seek professional counseling, or at least seek advice from an appropriate book (books based on cognitive therapy usually offer sensible and effective techniques that can help you change negative beliefs).

17. Practice going against social rules or conventions when no harm will occur as a result of breaking them. For example, dress differently than you normally do or differently than a social group you participate in, play devil’s advocate in your social, political, or religious group. You may find out that the consequences of being different are not as catastrophic as you imagine. Even if you get flak, it’s a psychologically stretching exercise.

Sharon Presley is a social psychologist. Her Ph.D. dissertation on political resisters to authority, chaired by Stanley Milgram, demonstrated the role of critical attitudes toward authority and highly developed moral judgment as factors in resistance to authority. She is currently executive director of Resources for Independent Thinking, a non-profit organization that provides educational tools to help people think for themselves and increase their critical thinking skills. Its address is 4067 Hardwick #129, Lakewood, CA 90712-2324.

Comments, questions, and suggestions: email us!

reFOCUS, P.O. Box 2180 , Flagler Beach , FL 32136 386-439-7541

Web site:

The reFOCUS Board of Directors consists of:

Carol Giambalvo, President/Secretary
Rick Seelhoff, Vice President
Mary Krawiec, Treasurer
David Clark
Maureen Griffo
Nancy Miquelon
Vanessa Weber
Advisor: Madeleine Tobias


Catholics of the Archdiocese of Detroit, Mich.: Beware!

The Legion will be soliciting in your area starting July 19th.


The Archdiocese of Detroit, Michigan has sent the following letter to parishes in the archdiocese:
click here for link


Please remember that the primary objectives of the Legion of Christ are donations and vocations. These brothers are in your parish looking specifically for donors (the wealthiest) to fill their own bank accounts at the expense of parish collections and young men and women who they can get to go to their seminaries and formations schools as young as 12 years of age.

The Legion always sends very good looking and suave young men (akin to the Mormons) to “work” parishes. Do not be fooled:
Challenge them with questions and do not be satisfied with pat answers.
Ask about the founder and why the church was convinced of his guilt and if the Legion has properly disavowed him yet, and why not.
Keep your children from them. They want to take them from your home and put them in their seminaries. They are especially desperate this summer since the Vatican action against Marcial Maciel has lowered their numbers in their postulancy program.
They will try to convince 18 year olds and older to join this very summer.
Please, give your money to your parish and to those Catholic organizations that you trust and which have no connections to pedophiles.

Contact ReGAIN via the menu on the left if you need further assistance or if you have suggestions. We will consider adding them to this article. Please let us know if the Legion is doing this shameless soliciting of money and youth in your diocese this summer. Keep checking here for updates and more information.

ReGAIN Staff

Click here for our LOCAL CHURCH page for more information

Please read the following article:

Vigilance called for when Legion priests visit

A reader from the Southwest e-mailed recently to inform us that two priests who are members of the Legionaries of Christ recently celebrated Mass at his parish. This reader was concerned that the order might have designs — as it has demonstrated elsewhere — on taking over a parish school.

The fear is justified. In too many cases the Legion has moved in with congregations unaware. We have reported on several instances where the order has taken over a school, revised curriculum, set up some rather strange ways of getting their message across and fired long-standing professionals — from administrators to teachers — who raised questions (NCR, Nov. 3, 2000).

There are, undoubtedly, good and sincere priests who belong to the Legion.

There are also, undoubtedly, good reasons why several bishops have banned the order and its ancillary groups from operating in their dioceses. Too often those groups come off as sneaky and underhanded in the way they operate, and some of the practices that have been reported in the way they run their schools are bizarre.

Any bishop or pastor who invites the Legion in should require that the order practice maximum transparency, being clear about its aims and informing education officials and the bishop of all of their activities. Parishioners should have a say in whether a school would be placed in control of the Legion, and there should be opportunities for public dialogue if the order intends to propose changes in personnel or curriculum. Given past history, any involvement of Legionaries’ clergy or Regnum Christi members in a Catholic school ought to be disclosed. No one should wake up feeling that the Legionaries have “taken over� their child’s school.

That kind of disclosure is especially important these days in the U.S. church, which is still battling the effects of continuing revelations of the sex abuse scandal and the secrecy with which the scandal was handled.

It would be unfair, of course, to judge all Legionaries by the founder of the order, but it is not unfair to understand that for many the order has also become a symbol of all that is wrong with the church’s response to that crisis. The order was founded by Fr. Marciel Maciel Delgollado, a priest who has been credibly accused of sexual abuse of young seminarians by a growing list of former seminarians and priests of the order (NCR, June 3).

Any bishop or pastor has to know that the order, whatever good it might do, works under a pall of suspicion. It has yet to deal in any significant or honest way with the accusations. Instead of defending Maciel with fanciful theories of far-flung conspiracies, the order should be advocating a full Vatican investigation into the accusations.

The Legion has already shown itself to be a powerful and well-funded example of one expression of Catholicism. It has to know, however, that any good it does is accompanied by a cloud that threatens its integrity, a cloud that will not be dispelled until the wider community can trust that the charges against its founder have been fully investigated and, if necessary, adjudicated. The Vatican is reportedly investigating and would do everyone a favor by dealing with this case in a timely way.

In the meantime, pastors and bishops should exercise due diligence: Demand transparency and accountability.


Article Review of The Pope’s Armada: Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious and Powerful New Sects in the Church

By Kevin B. Fagan
Article Review of “The Pope’s Armada: Unlocking the Secrets of Mysterious and Powerful New Sects in the Church”
By Gordon Urquhart. Amherst, NY: Prometheus, 1999. 490 pp.
Reviewed by Kevin B. Fagan, Ph.D.

Journal of Church and State
42.4 (Autumn 2000): 865-66
“Doctor, heal thyself,� is Gordon Urquhart’s appeal to Pope John Paul II. Instead of preaching to the city and the world the Church’s defense of human rights, he ought look down on his own troops in St. Peter’s Square. Rather than scour the Vatican archives for public repentance of the Church’s past evils, a glance over his shoulder inside the sacristy would reveal troubling conduct today in the name of Christ.

While traditional religious orders lose ground and members, several Catholic cult-like organizations gain prominence and power with the apparent blessing of the Holy Father. Urquhart analyzes three of these movements – Focolare, Communion and Liberation, and the Neo-catechumenate, – while admitting they are not alone in present-day papal benevolence. However, from a perspective of the typical characteristics of a “sect,â€� all graduate with straight “As.â€�

By their fanaticism you shall know them. The visitor, or rather recruit, is “love and faith bombed� with aggressive proselytism; an insistence to adore God above all else is translated as absolute dedication to this exclusive group; secrecy is kept on the real rules and controls therein; gradual isolation from outsiders, especially family, becomes total; freedom of movement, correspondence, and information, is severely monitored to avoid contamination from the “sinful� world; faceless authority is exercised as direct electronic mail from the Holy Spirit; control of food, dress, and recreation, leave no time for individual initiative; a personality cult to the canonized-in-life Founder is fostered; criticism of authority is outlawed by reprimand or worse; intolerant elitism is shown towards the unlucky folks beyond our walls; refugees are feared the fate of Judas.

Why does the Pope seemingly love those Movements, and they love him? Urquhart suggests a virtuous circle of mutual devotion and support. In an age of dissent and disorder within the Church, His Holiness finds in these groups docile proselytizers of his teachings and rulings. Nevertheless, the distinction orthodox message-immoral method remains intact. Furthermore, all is not black and white with the Holy See’s seal of approval. Voices in the Vatican and bishops around the globe whisper concern at this ideology of secretive gnosticism and manichean dualism. These divinely selected few, saintly defenders of orthodoxy, bless the Lord to be far from the mad evil world outside their walls. However, are their real gods not the idols of power and wealth, rather than the Gospel of love that sets us free?

Gordon Urquhart may be easily dismissed as another “disgruntled ex-member,� but where else can one find the inside story? Educated Catholics, familiar with Church history and Dante’s Inferno, tear no garment in scandal with either pope or pauper. And, as for contemporary Catholic behavior, we remember the convert Cardinal Newman’s dictum: “Catholics did not make us Catholics: Oxford did.� Urquhart admits the weakness of his book: a mere exposé of wolves clothed as shepherds. Maybe Christ crucified constantly calls, like to Francis, to “rebuild my Church�. As for this “invincible� Armada, Gordon no doubt would send it to the sea bottom.

Kevin B. Fagan, Ph.D.