CHALLENGE & REGNUM CHRISTI INFILTRATING YOUR PARISH?
Letter from an interested Catholic mother
Behind Challenge, ECYD, and a thousand and one front groups, lies the Regnum Christ Catholic Lay Organization, and behind the RC lies the Legion of Christ founded by Fr. Marcial Maciel. This is about what to do when you feel they are infiltrating your parish.
If you're thinking about speaking up, you should realize a few things; this would sound crazy to you, if you hadn't already experienced attacks...
There is something the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi calls "discretion". It's like deception but it isn't legally lies. They make accusations that aren't really accusations, and tell gossip that isn't really a lie. I've experienced it and it's really frustrating, especially if you aren't ready for it. (Example: we got an email in which we were invited to read 1 Peter 2:1. The person didn't SAY we were malicious, deceitful, insincere, envious and slanderous, actually, but the meaning was clear. If you get this kind of stuff, parse the words as if the speaker was in the Clinton administration ;)
People in Regnum Christi don't like to admit they're in RC and they definitely don't like to admit they're part of the Legion of Christ. It sounds odd, but I guess somewhere inside they realize they aren't involved in something they're proud of? They say that it's because we won't understand, but of course the problem is that we will understand.
If you express your concerns, their response will be to attack your motives and character, in lieu of a substantive response. They will be sideways attacks, though. See their attacks on the former Legionaries. They disparage Maciel's victims as bitter, liberal ex-Catholics. As the victim of childhood sexual abuse by a priest, I know how the victims got that way, though. It makes perfect sense to me that sexual or emotional abuse would turn a devout, traditional Catholic (their targeted recruits) into a bitter ex-Catholic.
Whatever they do, it is about money and recruiting. Watch for the money or recruiting angle in all their activities. Remember above all, that Christ promised St. Peter that the gates of Hell will not prevail against this Church. If it's against God's will, this group will not stand.
Yes, Fr. "Pastor" and JPII gave the Legion approval, but our previous pastor had banned Regnum Christi from operating here, although he doesn't want to talk about it, and BXVI doesn't seem all too keen on the group, either.
They say they are faithful to the Magisterium and the Pope, but see how their statements, both on the legionary facts website and personal opinions compare Benedict XVI to Pontius Pilate. See how they cling to their belief that Maciel is really innocent, and is just a scapegoat in the abuse scandals.
We don't really have enough to "make" Regnum Christi leave, but there are enough red flags with the Legion to keep strongly recommending that people research the group before getting involved in anything "beyond our fine parishioners' Challenge program, of course"-grrr. If anyone wants more information, I have been researching the group for the past year, and I've uncovered some of Marcial Maciel's writings that are really strange. Right now, I'm more or less just waiting for problems, because there isn't a problem with Regnum Christi, until more people have trouble with them. And, there will be. They divide parishes, and take over schools. They aggressively recruit, and suddenly, parishes have money problems. They'll then start talking about unity, but to them, unity means that everyone does things their way.
You mentioned that there was someone who seemed like a "male consecrated" at a party. Well, the Catholic Church does not have male consecrated virgins. Period. Either he isn't consecrated, or he isn't Catholic. Similarly, the "consecrated women" of Regnum Christi are not consecrated according to Canon Law 604; so either they are not consecrated, or they aren't Catholic. When the 3gfs ("consecrated") give your daughter spiritual direction (which is odd in and of itself, as SD is usually given by a priest, to an adult who chooses him), she will minimize the importance of college, and encourage your daughter to discuss things she's not comfortable telling you. Later, the 3gf will tell your daughter that she can disobey you and join the "consecrated women", because "St. Clare disobeyed her parents". They of course will not point out that St. Clare got permission directly from the pope, to join St. Francis.
There are plenty of other people who dislike the Legion but, most people don't want to speak up because the Legion plays dirty. We have help, though, and more always shows up when I pray for it.
Also, keep in mind that ultimately, the truth about the Legion will come out. Some will realize it sooner than others, and when people get out, the rest of the Legion drops them like a rock. They no longer exist. We need to be ready to help when/if it happens in the parish. This is what our friends at ReGAIN experienced; they were in, remember! This is one of the reasons that I'm keeping this global; the other is that even though we know what "Regnum" is like, the RC's all suck up to the priests and they don't see anything wrong with the RC's in the parish. I went around and around with Fr. "Vicar" last year; he just kept saying, "But they're nice to me". Fr. "In residence" has reservations, though. (So don't believe any rumors you might hear about him! You'll know where they came from.)
It sounds like you and I are in a similar parish situation. I started with an email to the other parents in my address book; I just said that although the priests were supportive of this group, it has a mixed reputation and that you think parents might want to research it independently. I admitted that if I was wrong, I'd look very silly, but that's okay because that's the "wrong" I'd rather be, and that I can always use a little more humility. Remember, and point out to others, that the parishioners who are bringing Legion activities are trying to be good Catholics, but that the group's umbrella organization is what appears to be the problem. You don't want to be attacking the other parishioners; make sure that you mention their good intentions. Respect parents' informed decisions about this; there have been several parents who got involved with Challenge despite my warning, but then became alarmed about what the 3gf's were saying in spiritual direction and pulled their daughters out. Any time you're not sure what to do or say, go to confession (with only your own sins!) and then ask the Seat of Wisdom for help. You and I have the benefit of the Vatican's announcement (and in October, Maciel's great-uncle was canonized and Maciel was barred from attending it; San Rafael, the great-uncle, was a bishop in Mexico, and had kicked Maciel out of the seminary.)