Archivo de la etiqueta: Culto

Post-Cult Problems

An Exit Counselor’s Perspective
Classification of Ex-Members

There are several classifications of ex-members, based on how they left the cult. Former members usually fit into one of the following:

  • Those who had interventions.
  • Those who left on their own, or walkaways .
  • Those who were expelled, or castaways

Walkaways and castaways need the most help in understanding their recovery process. Former members who were cast out of a cult are especially vulnerable; often they feel inadequate, guilty, and angry.

Seguir leyendo Post-Cult Problems

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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.

ReGAIN webpage has been updated and transitioned to a new platform

Dear Friends of ReGAIN, INC,

on Thanksgiving Day an old friend of the organization took a hand in solving a problem with our old web host and has been mighty successful. We are waiting for the changes to “populate” so the content of articles, opinions and testimonies can be readily and more efficiently available to the public.

Since we began our mission over ten years ago the Legion of Christ order and the Regnum Christi Movements have gone through scandal, upheaval, Vatican interventions and an Extraordinary General Chapter. We would like to think that ReGAIN’s efforts, the writings and testimonies of many analytical and sharp minds of former members, parents, family members and a wide spectrum of concerned Catholics have contributed to revisions, or at least some level of self questioning.

ReGAIN’s mission is to continue to insist, in season and out of season, that Catholics be aware of the true nature of these organizations and that Church authorities stem the infiltration of dangerous cult-like groups within the boundaries of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

Mind Control Techniques Used By The Regnum Christi Movement

Steve Hassan, Cult and Mind Control Expert and Exit Counselor in his more than 30 year experience in dealing with Destructive Totalitarian Cults developed a check list to use as a tool for evaluating whether group members are subjected to mind control in the groups they belong to. He teaches that whether a destructive cult organization is focused around religion, self improvement, business, politics or military, there are only so many methods of mind control and they all utilize similar methods to take control of a person’s Behaviour, Information, Thoughts and Emotions (BITE). He says that the validity of a group’s teachings is relatively unimportant in determining whether or not it is a destructive cult. It is whether or not they use destructive mind control methods to manipulate people. Following is a comparison to show how based on my experience and research (refer to disclaimer on last page) Regnum Christi stacks up using the BITE model.

 

I. BEHAVIOR CONTROL

Regulation of Physical Reality

Steve Hassan’s Check List * see note 1

  • Regulation of individual’s physical reality
    • Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates
    • What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears.
    • What food the person eats, drinks, adopts and rejects
    • How much sleep the person is able to have
    • Financial dependence
    • Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations.
  •  Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals.
  • Need to ask permission for major decisions.
  • Need to report thoughts, feelings, and activities to superiors.
  • Rewards and punishments (behaviour modification techniques – positive and negative)
  • Individualism discouraged; “group think” prevails.
  • Rigid rules and regulations.

 

Regnum Christi Practice * see Note 2

  • Consecrated (3gf) members live together isolated from all outsiders in locations assigned. All clothing and food is provided by R.C. (no choice). Activities nearly every day throughout each and every day are tightly regulated including when to rise, when to go to bed, when to pray, when to exercise, when and what to eat. Financial dependence is total – 100%. Annual holiday visit with family is tightly restricted. Before 2005, home family visits for most were restricted to 2 days. Except for death of parents, consecrated women are unable to go home for important family events, including weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations or family reunions.
  • Daily rituals. Over and above the traditional Catholic observances, consecrated members regularly listened to Father Maciel’s tapes and read writings that had been attributed to him (it appears that the psalter was plagiarized). Mandatory retreats and other regular routines promoted “Macielism” and encouraged him to be seen as a living saint. This has of course changed since recent revelations and investigations by the Vatican but for decades there was excessive idolization of the founder.
  • Need to ask permission for almost everything including even trivial things.
  • Thoughts, feelings and activities had to be reported to superiors during regular spiritual direction sessions. This together with other practices provides the superiors with tremendous power and influence over each 3gf. There are logistical difficulties in making a real choice of spiritual director outside of their group.
  • Solemn promise of obedience has been taken very seriously. Consecrated members must account to Superior who has the power to reward or punish based on obedience and following the many Regnum Christi. rules.
  • Consecrated members are not encouraged to think or act independently of group.
  • The solemn promises and extremely rigid rules (in the 100’s) govern every aspect of consecrated members’ lives right down to the most trivial things.

 

II. INFORMATION CONTROL
Regulation of Members’ Judgment

Steve Hassan’s Check List * See Note 1

  • Use of deception
    • Deliberately holding back information
    • Distorting information to make it more “acceptable”.
    • Outright lying
  • Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
    • Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
    • Critical information
    • Former members
    • Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think and check things out.
  • Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
    • Information is not freely available
    • Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid.
  • Spying on other members is encouraged
    • Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control
    • Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership
    • Individual behaviour monitored by whole group
    • Leadership decides who “needs to know” what and when
  • Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
    • Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, video tapes and other media.
    • Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources.
  • Unethical Use of Confession
    • Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries
    • Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution
    • Need for obedience and dependency
  • Need for Obedience and Dependency

 

Regnum Christi Practice * See Note 2

  • Use of deception
    • Consecrated members are given “the party line” regarding controversial issues relating to Regnum Christi and their founder and are expected to believe it. Any outside criticism of the group or leader is systematically denied. There are many reports from ex members of deception within RC and L of C and Marcial Maciel has been referred to as the “Master of Deception”. As details about his life are coming to light, it would seem this title fits. Many conclude that at least some of the current leaders took part in deceptive practices in support of Marcial Maciel, who trained them.
    • This policy is backed up by their solemn promise to never criticize their superiors of the founder. When a member leaves, other members have been reported to be given false information, e.g. to think someone is on a special mission.
  • Consecrated (3gf) members have not normally been allowed free use of the Internet or free choice to read “unapproved” books except where special permission is provided. They are mostly not allowed to have any personal e-mail except through superior’s e-mail.
News comes primarily from R.C. approved sources or from R.C. controlled sources such as Zenith.
  • Limited contact with former members (especially “disgruntled” ones). Schedule does not allow time for discretionary reading or watching TV
  • Members are informed on need to know basis. Members often do not even know about R.C. issues or controversies from other locations. Amount of information available increases at higher levels. Solemn promise of “Humility” restricted normal desire for advancement with the group.
  • Strict adherence to buddy system whenever off premises. Members not allowed to attend courses or stray from their assigned home base unless with another member (“companion”).
  • Deviant thoughts and actions are reported to superior

“Denunciation sessions” have been used. Members accuse each other of breaking rules and each one defends her own actions

  • Consecrated women have been required to have spiritual direction with superiors (contrary to spirit of canon law) and had to go to Legionary priests for sacramental confession. There have been some reports of past sins used against members. Total obedience and dependency for every aspect of life based on solemn promises is required. Each is required to look upon her director as if she is Christ in person. It is generally understood that one of the main issues of the 2005 investigation into the founder’s life was that he misused the sacrament of confession with his victims.
  • Consecrated women’s solemn promises of poverty, obedience and “humility” have provided superiors with absolute power and control over them (refer to wording of obedience promise above). Except for a rosary, they have zero assets and zero income. They cannot desire higher office and must obey superiors in all decisions. They keep watch on and inform on each other.

 

III. THOUGHT CONTROL
Internalizing of Group Doctrine

Steve Hassan’s Check List * See Note 1

  • Need to Internalize the Group’s Doctrine as “Truth”
    • Adopting the group’s map of reality as “Reality” (Map = Reality)
    • Black- and White thinking
    • Good vs. Evil
    • Us vs. Them (inside vs. outside)
  • Use of “loaded” language (for example “thought terminating clichés).” Words are the tools we use to think with. These special words constrict rather than expand understanding and can even stop thoughts altogether. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite platitudinous “buzz words”
  • Only “good” and “proper” thoughts are encouraged.
  • Use of hypnotic techniques to induce altered mental states
  • Manipulation of memories and implantation of false memories
  • Use of thought-stopping techniques, which shut down “reality testing” by stopping “negative” thoughts and allowing only “good”: thoughts.
    • Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
    • Chanting
    • Meditating
    • Praying
    • Speaking in tongues
    • Singing or humming
    • Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate
    • No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good or useful.

 

Regnum Christi Practice * See Note 2

  • The consecrated women were taught that the doctrine was approved by the Pope himself and therefore (for Catholics) Regnum Christi is beyond reproach (“Do you know more than the Pope?” was used to defend any challenges). As of early 2010 there have been reports that the version of RC statutes that actually were approved by the Vatican was only a fraction of the size of the version that is used to keep the consecrated women in line. They have been led to understand that the full version was approved. For example a requirement to “fully integrate the spirit of the founder into their own spirit” would be unlikely to be approved by the Vatican.

There have been reports from ex members that outside groups (e.g. other religious orders) are jealous and are out to get them and that evil “detractors” were willing to tell lies about their founder. Since the fall from grace in the winter of 2009, the party line has changed to “God is able to draw straight with crooked lines”; implying that Marcial Maciel had some faults but the religious order and movement that he founded were true to the faith.

  • The founder was always referred to as “Nuestro Padre” (meaning “Our Father” or “Our Founding Father” in Spanish). This is used by other religious orders to refer to their founders, who often are saints – not living people here on earth. It is likely that this constant reference associated Marcial Maciel with God the Father and encouraged the consecrated women to think of him as a “living saint” by association with other “our fathers” who have been declared saints.
  • Based on excessively full time schedules and rules, buddy system, ultra conservative “by the book” Catholicism, denunciation sessions, solemn promises and spiritual direction, women had little opportunity to think bad thoughts.
  • Repetition of Fr. Maciel’s teachings and routine prayers during times when the women are tired (from excessive time schedule and reduced hours of sleep) provided constant reinforcement of doctrine and Regnum Christi’s way of thinking
  • Some events that seem to be spontaneous are reported to have been orchestrated by leaders
  • Solemn promise of “loyalty” prevents any negative thoughts or words regarding controversial allegations of drug abuse, child molestation, misuse of sacrament, etc of their founder. He was presented as Christ-like because he was unjustly accused of these things and reacted as Christ did by not defending himself. The women’s understanding of events regarding their founder have been based on biased news reports from LC controlled media and restrictions on TV, Internet and other news sources.
Meditations and daily repetition of prayers enforced obedience to superiors.
  • The solemn promises of obedience and loyalty and “spiritual direction” have prevented any criticism of leadership. “Everything is approved by the Pope so don’t question it”.
  • No outside belief was seen as legitimate because their basic belief system was Roman .Catholic doctrine and Regnum Christi was supported by the Church, by most priests, parents and other Catholics. Target group for recruiting is conservative Catholics. As the statutes had been approved by the Pope everything they did was unquestionable and good.

IV. EMOTIONAL CONTROL
Manipulate and Narrow Range of Feelings

Steve Hassan’s Check List * See Note 1

  • Manipulate and narrow the range of a person’s feelings
  • Make the person feel that if there are ever any problems, it is always his fault, never the leader’s or the groups.
  • Excessive use of guilt
    • Identity guilt
    • Who you are (not living up to your potential
    • Your family
    • Your past
    • Your affiliations
    • Your thoughts, feelings, actions
    • Social Guilt
    • Historical Guilt
  • Excessive use of fear
    • Fear of thinking independently
    • Fear of the “outside” world
    • Fear of enemies
    • Fear of losing one’s “salvation”
    • Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by the group
    • Fear of disapproval
    • Extremes of emotional highs and lows
    • Ritual and often public confession of sins.
    • Phobia indoctrination inculcating irrational fears about ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader’s authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
    • No happiness or fulfillment outside the group
    • Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 incarnations, etc.
    • Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group’s perspective, people who leave are “weak”, “undisciplined”, “unspiritual”, “worldly”,
    • “brainwashed by family or counselor” or “seduced by money, sex, rock and roll”

 

Regnum Christi Practice * See Note 2

  • Members are reported to be told to always appear happy, especially whenever outsiders are around and to not burden parents or outsiders with negative feelings such as depression or discouragement.
  • Parent to child style of relationship with superior, who has total control of women’s lives and obedience promise automatically puts someone in a submissive role. Promise of loyalty meant that the leader was never wrong.
  • Excessive number of rules (over 1,000 altogether?) plus the solemn promises plus spiritual direction and denunciation sessions make it impossible to ever live up to what is expected. This keeps the women in a submissive role, never quite able to please completely.
Past infractions are not necessarily forgotten according to some members, for instance:
“If you leave Regnum Christi all the souls of the people you could have saved might be lost as a result of your selfishness” has been reportedly used to make people feel guilty and selfish about leaving.
  • Total reliance on leaders for all basic needs tends to make one fearful of displeasing them in any way.
A fear of the evil “detractors” out there, who are trying to destroy R.C builds distrust of outside friends and family members. .
The consecrated women have no power – there is total reliance on superiors and so to remain at peace they must believe everything they say and be very obedient.
  • Consecrated members are taught that they are Jesus’ spouses, that they are very special in God’s sight and that they are saving many peoples’ souls from damnation. This gives emotional highs. Emotional lows come when they feel discouraged because they are being selfish or not measuring up.
  • Members have been required to take part in denunciation sessions (a form of public confession with peers relating to R.C. rules).
  • If you question the leaders you are endangering your own position in the group and you may be breaking a solemn promise of loyalty.
If you consider leaving, you are afraid of appearing to be weak and unspiritual and not pleasing to God.
If you actually do leave you may lose your salvation and all those you could have saved. With no money you would have to find someone else to rely on completely at least for a while.
There are reports that people are manipulated in spiritual direction to remain in the group or else bad things will happen to the group and to them. Family members are considered to be well meaning but they cannot understand what it is like to be a consecrated person and they don’t understand the sacrifices made. Consecrated members are encouraged to keep in contact with family members (and encourage them to make donations) but discouraged from discussing controversial issues with them on the basis that the truth needs to come from “approved sources”.

 

* Note 1: Source is Steve Hassan’s THE BITE MODEL checklist, quoted from his book “Releasing the Bonds” published in 2000 by Freedom of Mind Press, Somerville, MA. The BITE checklist and a wealth of related information has been provided also on his website http://www.freedomofmind.com/

*Note 2: The information provided on Regnum Christi practices is based on personal observation of the writer of this article plus information from personal testimony from others including mostly ex members of RC and L of C.

Disclaimer: The information that the writer has listed under “Regnum Christi Practice” is based on my own personal experience as a father of a 3gf “consecrated” daughter and research plus my own opinions formed by research of available testimonies from ex members. Because of the high level of secrecy surrounding the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, it is difficult to obtain 100 % accurate details of what goes on behind the closed doors where the consecrated women live and the only source of some information is from ex members. Typically the testimonies provided by ex members coincide very closely with information that comes from well respected religious writers, conservative Catholic theologians and members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Some changes are in various stages of implementation since the Vatican carried out an investigation of the founder’s life and took disciplinary action against him, restricting him to a life of prayer and repentance before he died. Further changes are being implemented as the Vatican visitation into the Legionaries of Christ proceeds but there seems to be an attitude that the old ways will continue unless new ways are forced upon them by Vatican authorities. Some of the above claims above have been based on experience up to the year 2007.

 

Critique of Regnum Christi

Last but not least, we would like to present an in-depth critique of the Regnum Christi. Decades have passed since Fr. Cronin’s discovery of those cult-like features. Today the father of a consecrated member presents a brand new study based on decades of experience with his daughter, her superiors, and the organization.

Regain staff believes that the above evidence makes a strong case for identifying both the Legionaries of Christ and the associated Regnum Christi Movement as destructive cult groups. This opinion is not based solely on what others say about these groups. Many of the men and women with past and present association with the Regain family have endured damaging personal experiences and most are in an ongoing recovery process. Our conclusion is that that the cat is out of the bag re the Legion as a controversial High Demand religious order characterized by information control, isolation from family and friends, secrecy, persuasive “Spiritual Direction” and other potentially dangerous methods.

REGAIN, INC. hopes these articles will help members and “outsiders” better understand the true nature of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement and thus make more informed decisions regarding investment of time, energy, financial resources, and emotional and spiritual involvement.

The Master Narrative and Thinking With The Crowd

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.....]

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 naive 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 believer in the Master Narrative, it becomes uncomfortable and virtually impossible to question the party line. 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.

Parsing Orthodoxy: What are the Priorities of the Legionaries of Christ?

Just for the record, Sean Hannity really is a dissenting Catholic and a public scandal to the Faith. He should be rebuked by his pastor or bishop, not by me, but since that has not been forthcoming in his decade or so of public dissent on radio and TV, somebody in authority had to say something. Hannity, as we know, is shameless on birth control, and judging from the interview, he hasn't even the vocabulary to rationally defend his position in the face of his Church's clear teaching (2).

Now it should be noted that Fr Euteneuer is the head of a widely honoured (or vilified) organization, Human Life International (3), which works tirelessly to fight against abortion, the sex slave trade, and promiscuity around the world. Its track record is highly visible and consistent, supporting Church teaching as well as the dignity of women and children, and constantly on guard against government programs which undermine the family.

While conservative Catholics were peeved at the rough handling of this clergyman - by one who was himself a former seminarian and member of the Church, they were stunned when Fox analyst Fr Jonathan Morris, LC piled on, defending Mr Hannity from what he called the - shockingly poor judgmentof his guest. He continued, noting:

The unfortunate event reminded me of the bigger question of the fast-eroding credibility among religious leaders in our nation and its causes (4).

That comment alone beggars belief, coming as it does from an ardent follower of Marcial Maciel, LC, founder of his religious congregation who on that very day was under subpoena in Mexico. Maciel and the present head of the Legion, Alvaro Corcuera were both solicited to answer 38 questions about troubling trends of sexual conduct still associated with the Legionaries of Christ, culminating specifically with the recent alleged abuse of a four year old boy. This is the same founder, previously hailed as a model for youth,who is now stripped of the ability to act as priest in public for credible accusations of child molestation himself. This is the same order that led to roughly one hundred testimonies to be given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning sexual improprieties, spiritual manipulation, and possible illegal drug use.

And yet, in Fr Morris' sunny world, it is not the publicly censured Maciel who has contributed to the erosion of credibility of religious leaders - rather it is the inappropriate and ill-considered words of priests such as Fr Euteneuer who are the problem. This was truly a baffling display of hypocrisy.

A particular dimension of this heated exchange involves the important element of fraternal correction and how it is properly administered. Specifically, Fr Morris attacked Fr Euteneuer for not admonishing Hannity in private, resulting in an explanation from Fr Euteneuer that he indeed had made an effort to do so (5). But that allowed Fr Euteneuer to bring up an important point:

May I also point out that you did not employ with me the same standard of fraternal correctionthat you expected me to employ with Mr. Hannity. I at least made the attempt to speak to him about this issue in private without success; you, in contrast, went immediately to the internet to take me to task. I do not intend to understand your motives; I can only evaluate what I see in your actions (6).

Fr Morris responded quickly that he had indeed made such a private attempt, which Fr Euteneuer firmly denied. Thus we have one priest saying, Yes I did,while the other maintains, No you didn't - and we must fall back on the question of the established credibility of both men.

There is no reason for Fr Euteneuer to lie - and he has been known for his integrity for years. On the other hand, Fr Morris has a checkered past in this area, most notably with a public censure from angry Muslims.

Representatives of an east London mosque used by several of the terror suspects reacted angrily yesterday to what they called a sick stunt by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel. Mohammed Shoyaib, the imam of the Musjid-e-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, complained that he and other elders were tricked by a representative from the cable channel, a priest who said he was working for the Vatican and wanted to talk peace.

He introduced himself as priest working in Rome, said Mr Shoyaib. - Then he said he was working for peace in the world, that all faiths should work together for peace, that he needs a united message of peace for the American people. Only later he said he was from 'a sister network of Sky News', but never mentioned Fox.

The man spent several minutes conversing on camera with the imam and elders, but they reacted furiously when they learned he was Father Jonathan Morris, a religious pundit for Fox News! Mr Morris denied he had misled the local community but, in the face of criticism, he hastily left the scene (7).

First of all, being the vice-rector of a Catholic seminary (which Fr Morris is) can in no way be confused with working for the Vatican.We could allow for the fact that non-Christians could assume that the city of Rome and Vatican City are interchangeable, but the misrepresentation was more than his Church credentials it involved his employer's identity as well. Fr Morris disputes the details, maintaining that he was more forthright, but eventually agrees that he hadn't mentioned his Fox affiliation at the outset. (Additionally, it is interesting that his vocation is to work for peace in the world,(8) rather than to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It may have been a mental reservation for the sake of ecumenism, but perhaps his mission is different than that of most Catholic priests.)

A subsequent response of Fr Morris included the following admonition to Fr Euteneuer, reminding him of how difficult it is for all religious leaders to be taken seriously.

When we hear television evangelists wonder out loud whether Ariel Sharon’s stroke might be God’s judgment on him for making territorial concessions to the Palestinians, we lose trust. When, year after year, we listen to self-proclaimed prophets predict the day and the hour of the end-times,we lose trust. When we turn on the television and hear preachers promise heaven on earth if we give, give, give to the Church their church we lose trust. When we hear mainline Protestant pastors and their associations throw Biblical tradition to the wind and make wishy-washy statements about faith and morality, we lose trust.

The non-Christian religions are in even worse shape regarding leadership credibility. Is there a single Muslim imam who stands out today for his national leadership toward peace?What Muslim scholar can we trust to speak with scholarly proficiency and universal authority about the alleged peaceful nature of Islam?

The Jewish community in America is so splintered and disjointed on themes of dogma and religious tradition, it is difficult to find anyone who speaks for the majority, or even for the masses (9).

And yet, after such statements attacking the religious leaders outside the Catholic Church, Fr Morris claims to be swamped with support from the very people he criticized:

Particularly interesting were the hundreds of messages I have received yesterday from non'-Catholics, including many pastors, and non'Christians. In these notes you expressed your commitment to collaborate with both of us as we strive together to build a civilization of truth and love (10)

The civilization of truth and loveis a nearly trademarked statement of John Paul II, whom Fr Euteneuer loyally follows on every topic. Why would non'Catholics and even non-Christians side with Fr Morris to pursue John Paul II's dream &#45 against one of the most orthodox of priests who promotes solely the Catholic view of human sexuality - . It is a complete non sequitur and makes no logical sense. I don't believe that Fr Morris got those emails not ten, and certainly not hundreds. Not for the sake of the civilization of truth and love.

The sordid drama continues with a public back-and-forth on the internet, between the two priests and among the lay faithful who are bewildered by the surprisingly unorthodox position of a priest from such an orthodoxcongregation. Men and women are having difficulty explaining the compromised action of such a loyal member of the clergy, and thus this is where it is important to remind them of some important unorthodoxdecisions by the Legionaries of Christ.

Shrewdly Advancing the Kingdom

Politically, the Legion has always been very astute discerning who the power brokers are in a given time and place and ingratiating themselves with them. In Chile, Augusto Pinochet was a highly controversial figure tied to repression not only of the poor in his country, but also of the Church. He was clearly tied to the assassination of at least six Catholic priests and the torture of many more priest, nuns, and lay faithful.

While the Vatican's Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, rebuffed efforts of the persecuted Church to give testimony to John Paul II, the Legion of Christ also turned a blind eye to the military dictator, choosing rather to seek vocations among Chile's wealthy Catholic families who may have been loyal to Pinochet. The Legion's access was dependent on Cardinal Sodano, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Chile during Pinochet's regime, and with whom Maciel had a close relationship.

The people know of (Sodano's) reports to Rome and of his excessive attachment to the military regime. Also well known are his biased criteria in recommending the appointment of new bishops. In the offices of the nuncio black lists operate, there are rewards for services rendered, people seeking promotion, people falling in and out of favour (11).

I personally heard testimony of the tremendous success of recruiters in Chile years ago - a success that would have been impossible without the favour necessary from the compromised Apostolic Nuncio. While one might say that the Legion was simply being wise as serpentsto use such access to build the Kingdomunder the nose of repression, the overall result was intense scandal by those Catholics who were sorely persecuted by their lack of favour within the halls of power.

Moving to Mexico, the Legion had the ear of Marta Sahagun, the wife of Vicente Fox, who is a member of the Regnum Christi Movement. This was impressive to many ardent RC members, who saw such a highly visible citizen in their ranks and committed to the same apostolic works on which they worked so diligently. Unfortunately, although her first marriage has subsequently been annulled (in 2005), Fox's first marriage was not, and neither Vicente nor Marta were free to marry when they wed privately in 2001. Her irregular situation didn't seem a problem to the Legion in view of her tremendous visiblity - which must have added its own scandal to the loyal Catholics struggling to emphasise the importance of Church teaching on marriage to their own children and grandchildren (12).

Another highly visible ally of the Legion will be visiting Atlanta this summer for the Youth and Family Encounter, Eduardo Verastegui (born Jose Eduardo Verastegui Cordoba).

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Say his name in Mexico, and everyone will know who you are talking about. Now he’s making his breakthrough in the States. His name is Eduardo Verastegui. He has tons of fan clubs and thank goodness Google translates pages since the majority are in Spanish (13).

Besides his steamy soap operas and modeling career (which even included posing nude), he has recently had the chance to work with Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) which delighted him. He is a man of contrasts - wearing a rosary and insisting the he prays regularly, dancing with seductive women in sensual videos, and hoping for marriage in which he will fulfill his dream of having exactly three children (not exactly a Catholic view of collaborating with God to unfold His plan) (14). But the Legion now has access to a hot and rising star who can combine devotion to the Blessed Mother with participating in the very troublesome industry that causes Our Lady so many tears.

Of course, the Legion cannot be held accountable for all the private decisions of its members, but in the case of Marta Sahagan de Fox and Eduardo Verastegui there is no explanation of limited support, of separating the virtuous actions from the questionable actions, or even acknowlegment of moral challenges to their elevated vocations. They are exploited in sum for their visibility and used as fodder for Legionary recruiting.

Another troublesome ally of the Legion is Mel Gibson, an ardent Catholic although out of communion with the Holy See. Legionary priests hovered about the set of The Passion of the Christ, running errands and ingratiating themselves to the cast. This familiarity never led to offering Mass, because of course Gibson never participates in the Novus Ordo liturgy to which the Legion must dedicate itself. Nevertheless, the Legion used this proximity to offer insideinformation on the meaning of the crucifixion of Christ (for those who may not know about the basic tenets of the faith), to be included in the closing credits, and ultimately to set up an office at Icon Productions back in Los Angeles.

Again, while Mel Gibson offers an extraordinary example of using faith in the arts and standing up for unwelcome message in Hollywood, the Legion never offered an explanation of why they would collaborate with a schismatic Catholic, or when such collaboration is allowable. They allowed the celebrity of the vehicle to bring them into contact with other power brokers despite confusion and scandal over the method.

Orthodoxy Presumes Basic Integrity

The Methodology of the Movement is its greatest strength, according to its members, and it emphasises the growth of its own ranks at any cost because, to the Legion, the end justifies the means. There are consistent, well-documented cases of the following methods used regularly by members:

  • Misleading guests about the sponsorship of various events (LC/RC is so misunderstood, we couldn't let it get in the way!)
  • Lying to others in order to get journalistic access to their true motives (hey, everyone in the business does it!)
  • Bait and switch tactics in order to recruit potential members (once they're in the door, we'll reveal why we really invited them!)
  • Using in-house school directories for promoting RC apostolic activities (when these girls encounter Jesus, they won't care how we got their phone numbers!)
  • Using fabricated stories to solicit funds from benefactors (God will reward them for their generosity, despite how we use the money!)
  • All of these have been cited numerous times by those who have had associations with the Movement. Rather than saying that small lies are justified for the sake of the greater good, one should rather ponder the words of Jesus, Who said, - For if you are not faithful in that which is little, how shall any one give you that which is great? (Luke 16:11).

    Additionally, the Movement is dedicated to targeting particular souls for the good of the Kingdom, and thus the ulterior motives of the recruiters allow for a utilitarian view of friendships, which undermines authentic charity. From the Constitutions of the Legion, we find their modus operandi:

    (quotes removed by Court Order)

    This five segment approach - called captation - was part of every section, and members are accountable monthly to show a list of recruits, indicating the stage where each person was. Recruits were carefully selected for their wealth, status, or other gifts that would benefit the Legion, and then won over - ostensibly to Christ, but always through the Movement. It is hard to imagine complete sincerity when an ulterior plan governs relationships in such a discreet, utilitarian way.

    Of course a friendship is not normal when one side has an end-game and the other is in the dark. To assume to know what the vocation of another person is requires more than self-assurance - >it requires holy omniscience, smacking of pride.

    The Legion also exercises pride when it pays lip- service to an action of the Holy Father, while knowing betterthan he about what is true. This has been the response of the Movement from the top down after the May 2006 communique suggesting that, due to outstanding and credible charges of molestation, the founder would be best served by a life of penance rather than undergoing a trial. All members have been instructed in how this is a misunderstanding of a holy man, is redolent of the Church's persecution of Padre Pio, and which places them - if not materially, then spiritually <- at odds with the finding of the Bishop of Rome. The outward obedience shot through with their spiritually obtuse attitude must surely disappoint the Vatican officials who made the judgement (15).

    Thus, this orthodoxcongregation has consistently exemplified dishonesty, pride, manipulation, and rampant duplicity - for the sake of building the Kingdom. It has chosen fidelity to the founder over sincere loyalty to Rome, high-pressure apostolates at the expense of family unity, and relationships with celebrities and power brokers over defending Church teaching. What is baffling is how outside observers consistently assume - because their outward acts of piety conform to traditional practices - that everything about them must be straight arrow. It has been the effort of many over the years to try to explain that the window dressing lacks substance.

    Ultimately, the only thing surprising about the words of Fr Jonathan Morris, LC is that he displayed his hand so forthrightly. There is no doubt that the Legion approved all his columns and positions beforehand (it's standard procedure for all public statements or papers) and now they must be reeling at the negative response. So be it. Despite their next move, kindly ponder this one, and consider whether it reveals a pattern of shallowness and intrigue rather than the action of a true friend of the Church.


    (1) http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=usTWwSbpWRc&eurl=

    (2) http://spirit-and-life.blogspot.com/

    (3) http://hli.org

    (4) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258291,00.html

    (5) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258501,00.html

    (6) http://www.hli.org/article_open_letter_to_fr_morris.html

    (7) http://www.guardian.co.uk/terrorism/story/0,,1844066,00.html

    (8) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,208282,00.html

    (9) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258291,00.html

    (10) http://www.foxnews.com/story/0,2933,258501,00.html

    (11) http://www.chile-esmeralda.com/documents/vatican_opts_for_impunity-%2099.htm

    (12) http://www.sectas.org/Secciones_Especiales/visitajpii/david_Petesburg.htm

    (13) http://www.yfe.org/program.html

    (14) http://www.eduardoverastegui.com.ar/ingles/noticias/noticias_ingles_pag_01.htm

    (15) http://regainnetwork.org/article.php?a=47245965

The Legion of Christ, Trojan horse in the City of God USA: “What’s going on inside The Legion of Christ”?


1. The Legion’s Appeal to Traditional Catholics.

The Legion gets members, money and support mostly from very Traditional Catholics because: it aligns itself unequivocally with the Pope, or Catholic Orthodox Doctrine as reflected in Papal Documents (in contrast to the questionable Vatican II!) Legionary clergy are seen as exemplary priests in their teaching, in the their appearance and in their activities. The Legion also presents itself as very Conservative on all moral questions such as birth-control, abortion, euthanasia, female priesthood, gay marriage, and homosexuality. Nevertheless, an ex-member of the Ladies Regnum Christi explains that LC priests can flex Papal teaching on birth control if a member is sufficiently rich or important. In a subtle way - and the LC/RC is usually subtle, and/or sly - it projects the image, attractive to Conservative Catholics, that it does not tolerate gays in its seminaries or in its ranks; though stories of pedophilia and sexual abuse in minor and major seminaries continue to dog the Legion. Their handsome, young and clean cut priests, chastely sacrificing heterosexual(?) love for Christ and the Church, are admired, adored by and very attractive to conservative Catholic females. Legionaries also follow the official Roman rubrics in an almost obsessive-compulsive way when administering the Sacraments, hearing confessions, and saying Mass holding the Host up for nerve-wracking extra seconds while they stare at it intently-. Thus they appear very devout? to the faithful. The Legion/Regnum also flaunts its devotion to the Blessed Virgin Mary, just like Pope John Paul II?, and promotes praying the Rosary, the Stations of the Cross, Adoration of the Blessed Sacrament, etc. This also appeals to Traditional Catholics who are hungry for these devotions of which they feel they were deprived by liberal post Vatican II priests, parishes and orders.

2. Essence of problem with Legion and its practices:

A number of ex-members, dissenters and/or critics, believe that the Legion of Christ is cult-like, not in its doctrine but in it modus operandi: in the way it recruits, isolates, retains, and lets members go -see ex-member testimonies and relevant critique on Regain website regarding cult-like characteristics exhibited by the LC/RC; that it uses coercive mind control in a subtle way under the appearances of great Catholic orthodoxy; that, despite these appearances, it is at variance with several essential aspects of true Catholicism and Canon Law. Question in point is how the Legion blurs the distinction between Superior, Confessor and Spiritual Director. This distinction, fundamental to safeguard a trainee/seminarian’s freedom of conscience and ensure the discernment process, is ignored by the Legion and Regnum Christi formation practice.

3. Stories from Cleveland, Houston, Detroit, Sacramento, Los Angeles:

We hear about young men and women being forcefully recruited by the Legion for the seminary and the RC consecrated life, against their parents’ wishes; the LC/RC recruiters quickly committing these young men and winning them over to the cause?, in such a way that the young people disregard their parents’ wishes and values; we believe that these young people go through a hurried and flawed discernment process which favors their premature recruitment to the Legion. Once they are in it is very hard for them to leave; again because of the coercive indoctrination of the Legion/Regnum formation? system which quickly convinces them they have a God-given vocation to the Legion they must be faithful to at all costs. As Legionaries or Regnum Christi consecrated members, who during formation have very little access to the outside world, they are likely to continue in their vocation until ordination or taking promises of perpetual consecration. Even so, many young men and women leave the Legion/Regnum Christi Movement. They are often afraid or reluctant to speak out about their negative experiences because of shame of failure or because they are still under the influence of their previous indoctrination. After ordination, members have more freedom and exposure to the outside world?. We believe that then they may question their allegiance to the Legion/Regnum. Hundred of members leave during their training and dozens after ordination.

4. What about defections from the Legion priesthood?

Here again the principle of discretion?, or secrecy, rules whereby the Legion controls all outgoing and incoming information, preventing outsiders from access to any objective data. We believe the Legion under-reports the numbers of priests exiting and also employs other strategies to keep defections under covers. Some newly ordained men unsupervised for the first time in over ten years- leave the Legion and the priesthood, while others seek to prolong their ministry in the diocesan ministry. Even then they are often afraid to criticize the Legion lest they be perceived as disgruntled ex-members this might jeopardize their incardination into a diocese and/or their new Church careers; others fear the Legion might take reprisals against them, perhaps revealing some peccadilloes known to the superiors /confessor /spiritual directors if they criticize the Legion or do not do what they are told during their exiting. This fear will usually keep priest ex-members effectively muzzled. Family members of Legionaries or Consecrated lay members, young men and women, will abstain from criticizing the Legion for fear of retaliation against their family member in the ranks: s/he could be reassigned or sent away as a result of such criticism. The above reasons answer in part the question about why so few people want to go on record criticizing the Legion.

5. A story we hear is how some people from the Legion owned-schools have sued the Legion

For deceiving them after they signed up: the parents had committed money to tuition before they realized that the school was run by the Legion, or the Legion changed the bylaws after it took over, without consulting with parents. They sued the Legion and won; but the stress and expenses of the trial, where the Legion was defended by a lawyer from their Regnum Christi organization, was so severe it left the family in financial ruin. The Legion often makes a gag order a part of the settlement.

6. Another type of story is where one of the spouses is gung-ho Regnum Christi and the other not.

They begin to disagree about the intensity and style of their children’s Catholic upbringing?, or, rather, fanaticism?. The Legionary or Regnum Christi spiritual director supports the RC gung ho member. The spouses become estranged, may even go to court over custody, and some end up splitting, i.e. divorcing, in the name of Christ.

7. His Holiness the Pope supports the Legion and the Founder, Fr Maciel?

Yes, but maybe not to the extent the Legion/Regnum Christi would have us believe. The LC propaganda machine has exploited every single contact with JPII. They have an excellent web page, a news agency in Rome, Zenit, and a Catholic paper in the USA, the Register…So they milk all contacts to the maximum, exploiting photos of Fr Maciel with the Pope…embracing or kissing his Holiness. An article on Regain, Not the Pope’s Favorites?, explains how the John Paul II did not mention either Fr Maciel, or the Legion, or the Regnum Christi in his recent memoir, Rise, Let us be on our Way, when discussing his relationship with current Catholic Lay Movements. Naturally, JPII was impressed by the Legion’s numbers of recruits, ordinations, institutions and financial strength. To further impress the Pope, the Legion for the most part ordains its priests in Rome, in some prominent Basilica, instead of in the priests’ home countries. That way the propaganda value is increased.

8. Maciel exonerated?

Hardly. In May 2005 the Legion very cleverly delivered a pre-emptive strike not to the investigation but to reporting on the investigation, by stating Maciel had been exonerated. The audacity and timing of their press release -a kind of bare-faced lie- caught many reporters and agencies off guard. At that time Regain discerned and held firmly to the truth amidst a storm of misleading reports: It is simply not true that Maciel has been exonerated. The investigation is still underway by the corresponding Vatican body, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, which does not make statements until its investigation is over and the case is founded or unfounded; similar to the way Child Protective Services operate in most jurisdictions in the USA.?

9. The investigation into Fr. Maciel and the Legion of Christ in Rome

As we were initially drafting this article in May 2005, one more Regain member was called to Rome to present a statement to the Vatican investigator. No doubts, maybes, or ifs?. We know. We bear witness and hope in the Church that things that were hidden will come to light. The light shines in the darkness, and the darkness has never mastered it. [John 1, 5] The widely reported Vatican statement one year later bore us out. Because decisions are hermetically sealed it has been impossible to learn officially whether the Vatican has imposed other private - sanctions on Legion Founder, Fr. Maciel, and on the superiors and institution. It can be held that the Vatican invited? Fr. Maciel not to continue as Superior General in December 2004. Regain, however, is very skeptical about internally motivated changes in the Legion and Regnum Christ. The new Superior General, Alvaro Corcuera, was personally parented from early adolescence by Fr. Maciel. He has publicly expressed his total filial adhesion to his father. Fr Maciel groomed Alvaro in Ireland during his adolescence and through his entrance into the male consecrated life. The real Legion power-holder appears to be the Rev. Luis Garza, L.C., who has worked closely with Fr. Maciel for decades. So, in this sense, there is no changing of the guard?.

10. Some speculate that the Vatican may carry out an internal audit? of the Legion

An Apostolic Visitation, similar to that in 1956-8, which was foiled by the Founder’s mind control of his subjects. Insider information reveals that Legion superiors have in fact been required by the Vatican to abolish the private Vows?, specifically the rule about not criticizing the superior and squealing on whoever does. But our experience as former Legionaries, confirmed by inside the insider information, tells us that Legionaries will - in keeping with the founder’s intention - continue to follow the spirit of the vows?. Even more, Legionaries believe in their heart of hearts that Ratzinger was wrong and that another pope will re-establish the good name of their Beloved Founder.

The Wanderer chimes in: Legion of Christ Founder’s Public Ministry Suspended

Father Marcial Maciel, founder of the Legionaries of Christ, one of the fastest-growing priestly communities in the Church, has been officially restricted by the Holy See in his public ministries, according to officials of the Holy See.

The restrictions, to be released officially by the Holy See perhaps as early as the week of May 21, essentially will conclude that at least some of the sex abuse accusations against Fr. Maciel are well founded. A source to the Vatican said that more than 100 interviews have been conducted by Msgr. Charles Scicluna, the Vatican's promoter of justice and investigator in the Maciel case.

At press time, May 18, after a request for an interview, Legion of Christ spokesman Jay Dunlap said, We know nothing about this. We do not have anything to say.

While priestly laicization is an extremely rare canonical step, this action, approved prior to Easter by the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith, is very serious, and will limit Fr. Maciel's public activities such as offering Holy Mass publicly, giving public lectures and presentations, and giving media interviews, among others.

John Allen, of The Word from Rome, initially reported this story, with an unnamed Vatican official saying the action against Maciel should not be read as an indictment of the Legionaries of Christ or its lay branch, Regnum Christi.

However, with more than 100 essentially corroborating interviews from the U.S., Mexico and Ireland, the statement issued in a Legion of Christ news release last Fall (not dated on their website), had their newly-elected general director, Father Alvaro Corcuera Martinez del Rio, 47, saying the following: I wish to express my desire to remain faithful to the charism of the congregation and to the person of the founder, and to continue his work at the service of the Church.

The questions that some former members of the Legion of Christ's lay apostolate, Regnum Christi, are raising appear to question the prudence and wisdom of the Legion's new general director in remaining to lead the congregation of priests in the charism of the person of the founder. The Legion news release cited Fr. Maciel's age as one of the reasons he declined re-election last Fall on the heels of news that the Congregation of the Doctrine of Faith was continuing interviews with new alleged sex abuse victims.

The late Pope John Paul II often praised Father Maciel publicly, especially for the tremendous growth of his priestly congregation. It has been speculated that the Pope's upbringing under Communist rule made him automatically disregard any allegations against priests or others regarding homosexuality or sexual abuse, as this was a common smear tactic employed by Communists to ruin the reputations of their enemies. Indeed, as late as 2004, Pope John Paul II wrote a letter to Fr. Maciel thanking Fr. Maciel for 60 years of intense, generous and fruitful priestly ministry.

The ReGAIN Network, an organization for former Legion of Christ priests, seminarians and members of Regnum Christi, the lay apostolate, was formed to assist those recovering from psychological, spiritual and sexual abuse within the priestly and lay groups.

Author Genevieve Kineke is a former women's section head of Regnum Christi, and was in the apostolate for 7 years: Members of Regain are delighted with this first step, understanding that laicisation of elderly priests is extremely rare, she said. The Holy See's acknowledgement of probable misdeeds become magnified considering the stature of Fr. Maciel, she said.

It causes all members of the movement to consider the long-term suffering of the accusers who have been rebuffed and dismissed for so long, Kineke said. This first step will never ameliorate their pain, but it is a measure of balm for them to be taken seriously after so many years, she said.

Back in 1997, after an initial group of nine ex-Legionaries reportedly filed canonical lawsuits and made public accusations against the Legion, the Legion's crisis communications plan time was quickly disseminated throughout the Legion and its lay apostolate. After a hastily-called meeting of nearly all of Legion of Christ priests in North America to categorically deny the charges, they were instructed to relay to their Regnum Christi lay members the message that this was a modernist, liberal, anti-Church plot by those who hated the Church and wanted to destroy Fr. Maciel. The Legion of Christ website with details can be accessed here.

After the past several years of the hundreds of cases of sex abuse among clergy becoming public, perhaps the perspective that many Catholics need to move away from is that this happens only to liberals and to dissenting dioceses and priestly organizations. Perhaps the time has come for adult Catholics to realize that sin exists everywhere, and this problem is not limited only to liberal, homosexual-infested dioceses and religious priestly organizations, even if it may be more prevalent.

Father Maciel's apparent unwavering support by the late Pope John Paul II has perhaps confused the faithful, and it is essential to understand how papal support was simply a clever bulwark employed by the Legion against criticisms, Kineke opined. It allowed the Legion to dismiss all complaints about the Legion's as attacks on 'orthodoxy'.

Catholics need to understand in their very being that so-called orthodoxy, although necessary and desirable, does not shield anyone from sins of the flesh. Original sin and concupiscence are real and are just as much of the spiritual warfare for orthodox Catholics as they are for others. The other lesson may be that Catholics need to learn their Faith in its fullness and understand that infallibility and orthodoxy and even suspected holiness of popes, like Pope John Paul II, does not extend to every public word the pope utters nor necessarily to an endorsement of everything about a particular movement or movement's founder, nor its charism.

Mike Petrik, 49, is a corporate tax attorney in suburban Atlanta, who cautions against drawing too many initial inferences from this apparent action against Fr. Maciel directly with the rest of the Legion or its lay apostolate, Regnum Christi. It is important to remember that St. Augustine said: 'God judged it better to bring good out of evil.

Petrik explained that it is quite common for religious orders to extol their founders, and it would be a serious challenge for the Legion of Christ to be able to overcome the practical difficulties associated with attempting to distance itself from its founder.

It is understandable that there are people who welcome this apparent new development, Petrik said. I just hope that such responses are grounded in the desire for justice for any victims and the genuine love for truth rather than some disproportionate animosity for an order that by most accounts has brought many people closer to Christ and His Church, he said.

Lee Podles is a journalist and author and is currently writing a book entitled, Sacrilege: Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church. His reaction to the current news against Fr. Maciel was the following:

The Legion is disliked and even hated by some Catholics, and not only liberal Catholics, because of its secrecy and strict control of its members, tactics which are both foreign to the American and the modern mentality, he said.

A successful attack on Maciel would discredit not only him, but also the Legionaries, he continued.

The bishops and the Vatican tolerated abuse by obscure priests for decades; the bishops and the Vatican would have an even greater motive to cover up allegations against Maciel, Podles said. The Legionaries are a large and rapidly growing organization, extremely important in keeping Hispanics in the Catholic Church; the Vatican to this point has not been eager to discover any evidence its founder might be a pederast and homosexual.

Top Cult Expert Steve Hassan Interviews ReGAIN’s Paul Lennon

Following the international cult conference held in Barcelona, cult expert Steve Hassan interviewed our own Paul Lennon regarding his experience with the Legionaries of Christ.

Steve Hassan, M.Ed., LMHC, one of the presenters at the ICSA Conference has been educating people about mind control and destructive cult groups since 1976. He is a Licensed Mental Health Counselor (LMHC) in the Commonwealth of Massachusetts and a Nationally Certified Counselor (NCC).

He has written two excellent and highly acclaimed books on these topics, including “Combatting Cult Mind Control: The #1 Best-selling Guide to Protection, Rescue, and Recovery from Destructive Cults” (1988) and “Releasing the Bonds: Empowering People to Think for Themselves” (2000).

One of many interesting topics in Steve’s books includes an explanation of the “BITE” model, i.e. control of Behaviour, Information, Thoughts and Emotions. He has an informative website at http://freedomofmind.com/stevehassan/ and he has included some information regarding the Legionaries of Christ on his site.

Paul Lennon, MDiv, LPC, a licensed professional counselor, also one of the presenters at the ICSA Conference in Barcelona in 2011 and one of the original founders of ReGAIN, has been an outspoken critic of the cult like structure of the Legion and Regnum Christi based on his long term personal experience as a Legionary priest. While he was with the Legion, his feisty Irish temperament and his strong desire to know and make known the truth were unsurprisingly at odds with the narcissistic powerful leader of the Legion, Father Marcial Maciel. Fr. Maciel decided upon a quick and easy solution to deal with the upstart Irishman and sent him on a special assignment to a remote mission in Quintana Roo to silence him. Feisty Irishmen are sometimes difficult to silence even in such extreme circumstances as Paul found himself.

Although he enjoyed his assignment in the remote Legionary mission territory, Paul eventually left the Legion and continued his search for exposing the truth. Most people avoid situations such as battling with a multi billion dollar organization that is embedded deep into the Roman Catholic Church. But Paul is not easily deterred and he shares some of his story in his 40 minute interview with Steve Hassan.

The interview may be seen http://vimeo.com/26457285

Vatican Proposes Autonomy For Women In Cult-Like Group Within Troubled Legionaries of Christ

Nicole Winfield, religious writer with the Associated Press has written an article commenting on the preliminary remarks made by Cardinal DePaolis, Vatican appointed commissioner of the Legion following a year long visitation that was requested by the women of Regnum Christi.

The A.P. article <a href=http://ca.news.yahoo.com/vatican-proposes-autonomy-women-cult-group-within-troubled-204234011.html>Click Here</a> contains interesting comments about concerns that continue to plague the Church as well as the organizations created by Fr Maciel until they are resolved.
<ol>
– <q>Of particular concern is that they have no legal status in the church</q>.
– <q>The Vatican has proposed giving hundreds of women who live like nuns within the troubled Legion of Christ order greater autonomy</q>.
– <q>The women described emotional and spiritual abuse they suffered if they questioned their vocation, and of how they would be cast aside if their spiritual directors no longer had any need for them</q>.
– <q>One of the great scandals about the consecrated women is that they were told the Vatican in 2004 had approved a set of over 1,000 rules dictating how they were to behave when, in fact, the Vatican approved only about 150 general norms</q>.
– <q>Up until recently, some 18-year-olds would make their lifelong commitments to being consecrated after a mere six-week candidacy program</q>. </ol>

The article also contains a testimony from the mother of one of the current consecrated women (3gf’s) sharing her feelings of ongoing daily grieving for her daughter.

<b>Regain Comment:</b>

The pace of the reform process has increased finally from dead stop to painfully slow but there is some hope that it is at least going in the right direction.

We applaud any effort made to find a truly unique God given charism for the consecrated women that is independent from the Legionaries of Christ and the progress that has been made to loosen the iron grip of the Legionary upper echelon over the women of Regnum Christi.

Arguments (not very good ones) have been presented by Legion and Regnum Christi spokespeople defending the validity of their style of <q>consecration</q> claiming that it is included in Canon Law along with <q>other forms of consecration recognized by the Vatican</q>.

Finally, the plight of women who have entrusted everything they have in life to their superiors, believing that they will be looked after for better or for worse is being recognized. If they become too sick or too old, there is no commitment from the Church or from their movement to keep them around in worst case scenarios.

There is some hope that the aggressive recruiting techniques that lead to force vocations are being reviewed and some day will be changed so that young people will not be taken advantage of.

Although the women were supposed to be able to choose their own spiritual director within or outside the Legion or Regnum Christi, it has been impractical for the consecrated women (who have no money, almost no free time and who live in a regimented environment with over a thousand rules and who have had limited access to the outside and who have had to be accompanied everywhere they go) to make a free will decision to actually select and get to any outside spiritual director on a regular basis.

The reform process has shown some signs of life as family members such as members of the Tattle family continue to grieve for their formerly <q>young and vibrant, intellectually alive and athletic daughter</q>. Our thoughts and prayers are with these family members and all of those who are waiting and watching as the process inches its way forward. In the meantime, the consecrated women continue to be committed to follow the Vatican approved (in 2004) statutes that were developed by their founder, Fr Marcial Maciel.