Why Regnum Christi Is No Longer Viable

In www.life-after-rc.com Giselle posted her opinion regarding the viability of the Regnum Christi movement in light of recent events on her blog.

The Regnum Christi Movement was founded by Marcial Maciel many decades ago as a lay association of his Legion of Christ, and it has served as a fund-raising and recruiting arm for his congregation. Its spirituality echoed that of the Legion, being contemplative and conquering, although its mission was packaged in various ways over the years.

There are three degrees of membership, with the second degree also having three divisions in it, though the lowest ranking recruits are usually unaware of the middle category. The third degree has both men and women, and live a quasi-Religious life without the actual vows, having taken promises of poverty, chastity and obedience (to their in-house superiors).

The areas of apostolate have been focused on youth programs, schools, families and mass media apostolates — each specifically designed to draw potential recruits into the houses of formation, which house boys and girls as young as eleven in some places. In retrospect, the calculation of MM’s creation makes perfect sense, because it centres on the impressionable young, distracts the parents into intense apostolic work, slips in high-pressured recruiting tactics in all interactions, and papers over its outer image in the media outlets it either has created or infiltrated.

Very few would argue with the past reputation of the group, at least those who have accurately sized up the founder and pieced together why he needed such a lay group to undergird his duplicity with the clergy. Where the remaining argument lies is in the future: Can this group continue to exist as a vibrant and full-fledged member of the wider Mystical Body?

My reasons for concluding in the negative are as follows (in no particular order):

This group was hatched from the mind of a depraved pervert with depraved and perverse motives. The communique noted that Maciel was devoid of religious sentiment — he didn’t have a confused sense, or a crooked sense, or a mixed bag of religious sentiment, but d. e. v. o. i. d. That’s harsh. Thus anything that appeared to be religious was not. That requires slow, deliberate meditation to really understand.

This group existed for decades to both prop up a scam, but also to give cover to it. The genuine good will of the members who were innocent of duplicity were the poster children for the religious sentiment that was lacking in the founder. They helped him to fool the world, they carried forward the scam by confusing outsiders who knew them to be sincere, generous and full of authentic religious sentiment.

This group bore within it the seeds of Maciel, who wanted to multiply himself. And in a mysterious way he did. As Bishop Watty said, There are many elements from Father Marcial’s personality that have taken root, and the Legion must be freed from them. This goes for the methodology of RC as well.

The RC doesn’t have a particular charism beyond the universal call to holiness. They add nothing unique to the Church, because the congregation to which they are attached has to be rebuilt. Now everyone doesn’t have to have a charism (your local DRE being a case in point) but in order to work as a group this way, you have to have a mission. If the mission is simply to help the pastor at the local parish, then RC isn’t necessary. Join a Bible study or prayer group for nourishment and volunteer where needed.

But what if the methodology is effectively purged? If that is possible, the scandal remains. In the words of one recent commenter: It’s as if everyone who stays with RC/LC is saying to those who have been hurt: ‘I don’t take you that seriously. I mean, clearly you’ve had bad experiences; I’m sorry about that. But I don’t honestly think it’s that big a deal. I have no problem associating myself with those who hurt you and the Church. There are two categories: the people MM abused and the Church that he insulted with his behaviour. Both are insulted again if the group carries on.

It is entirely possible that the Maciel affair will create an impasse over the beatification of John Paul II, since he was also effectively duped by this con artist. The continued work in the name of MM by RC members essentially says that’s unfortunate but irrelevant compared to their need to exist — not just as loyal Catholics but as Regnum Christi. That’s awkward.

The Legion affair ranks with the Irish Crisis, the Boston Scandal, the various German prelates and the other details that Benedict XVI is mopping up in his advanced age. Embattled around the world, with the Church the butt of jokes, he has said that the most horrific part of this is the undertow in his own ranks, in that very Church. The continued existence of RC is a constant reminder and twist of the knife to our own beloved Pope.

There will never be complete trust of RC members because of the past actions of the Movement. Even if they scraped themselves to the bone helping in parishes, catechising the faithful, if they do it in the name of MM’s group, their motives will always be suspect, their formation will always be a cause of concern. This is almost a moot point, because there is nothing they can do to win trust. They will always be a sketchy step-child if they insist on meeting and working collectively in the name of Maciel.

The concerns and mistrust of outsiders will feed a perverse mentality within, with the victim status being confused with actual martyrdom for the faith. As a poster notes, Won’t that, of psychological necessity, cause RCers to huddle closer to each other and feel ‘attacked’ and ’embattled’ and ‘misunderstood?’ In fact, this will distract enormously from the actual mission and dissipate the energy necessary to carry forth the hard work of doing God’s will in a indifferent and often hostile world.

The existence of RC in the future will be divisive, no matter how much members wish it weren’t so. It’s like the daughter of a divorced couple who is trying to plan her wedding. No matter how much she wants it to be a peaceful event, her father’s subsequent marriage to his mistress is complicating things, and the seating arrangements are proving a nightmare. You cannot choose your family or control their actions — but you can choose your lay associations. Insisting on your good will and sincere motives isn’t enough. RC will always be the dog in the manger.

With a wealth of other apostolic initiatives springing from purer motives, any particular worthy religious activity can be pursued apart from this group. With RC’s history of either competing with or infiltrating existing groups, a good reparative move would be to bury RC. As long as RC exists, a fear will remain in the other groups that the RC-affiliated member is there on a stealth mission to co-opt the group. With no RC, there is no fear on that account.

At the heart of RC as it stands is an unhealthy clericalism. At first it was tied to Maciel, then it was shifted in the recent campaign to help parishes and launder the RC image. Now it dangles by the odd thread that Benedict alone can decide their fate and those on the inside wait with baited breath to see what to do next. As many in this discussion have discovered upon leaving the Movement, we don’t need that kind of hand holding. Mature Catholics can pray and discern on their own — and those who need guidance should be able to find enough in the recent communique to realise that this Legion-shaped cross on Benedict’s back will be made lighter as people leave the group and integrate with the larger Church. Let’s do something FOR Benedict instead of making him spell out the obvious.

I may update this with more reasons as they occur to me, or as other commenters bring them up in the combox. Many excellent points have already been made on other threads (and you’re welcome to reproduce them below) but I’ve decided to press this point for the good of the Universal Church. The Legion is a canonically protected congregation with men in various levels of sacramental preparation. The Regnum Christi is nothing more than a free and voluntary lay association — including the third degree members. They were free to join, and now are just as free to disband. I strongly urge them to consider doing so.

[As a final push, perhaps another blogger will do the necessary work to engage us all in the Great Novena for and end to this unfortunate mess.]

May 13, 2010 in LC/RC personality

The Cost of Father Maciel

A Web Exclusive From First Things Online
By Joseph Bottum in First Things

Joseph Bottum in First Things evaluates the damage of the scandals of the Legion of Christ and specifically the enabling role of Cardinal Sodano, the Dean of the College of Cardinals referring to him as “an ongoing embarrassment to the Church he serves”, and later adds that “everyone inside the Church needs to be taught that there are consequences for scandalous mistakes”.

Steve Skojec – Some Observations on the Legionary Situation From Inside Catholic May 03, 2010

Steve Skojec shares his experience with LC / RC
By Steve Skojec – Inside Catholic.com
Certain events (in his experience with the Legionaries) led me to the inescapable conclusion that that I had become a party to and a victim of their manipulation and deception. I left and became one of their most vocal critics?.
To read more about Steve Skojec’s experience with and opinions about the Legion and Regnum, Christi his article may be seen at:
Steve Skojec-CLICK HERE

Rome Has Spoken

COMMUNIQUE ON VISITATORS OF LEGIONARIES OF CHRIST
VATICAN CITY, 1 MAY 2010 (VIS) – The Holy See Press Office today published the following communique:

To view this document on Vatican Information Services Website Click Here

  1. On 30 April and 1 May, the cardinal secretary of State chaired a meeting at the Vatican with the five bishops in charge of the apostolic visitation of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ (Archbishop Ricardo Blazquez Perez of Valladolid, Spain; Archbishop Charles Joseph Chaput O.F.M. Cap. of Denver; Archbishop Ricardo Ezzati Andrello S.D.B., of Concepcion, Chile; Bishop Giuseppe Versaldi of Alexandria, Italy; and Bishop Ricardo Watty Urquidi M.Sp.S, of Tepic, Mexico). The meeting was also attended by the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, the prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, and the substitute of the Section for General Affairs of the Secretariat of State.

The Holy Father was present at one of the sessions, at which the visitors presented a summary of their reports, which had already been previously delivered.

During the visitation more than 1,000 Legionaries were interviewed, and hundreds of written testimonies examined. The visitors went to almost all the religious houses and many of the apostolic works run by the congregation. They heard, orally or in writing, the opinion of many diocesan bishops of the countries in which the congregation works. The visitors also met many members of the Regnum Christi Movement – although it was not the subject of the visitation – especially consecrated men and women. They have also received a great amount of correspondence from lay people and family members of those involved in the movement.

The five visitators spoke of the warm welcome they received and of the constructive spirit of co-operation shown by the congregation and the individual religious. Though each visitator acted independently, they came to substantial agreement and a shared viewpoint in their assessments. They testified to having met a great number of exemplary religious who are honest and talented, many of them young, who seek Christ with genuine zeal and are offering their entire lives to spread the Kingdom of God.

  • The apostolic visit was able to ascertain that the behaviour of Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado has had serious consequences for the life and structure of the Legion, such as to require a process of in-depth revision.
  • The very serious and objectively immoral behaviour of Fr. Maciel, as incontrovertible evidence has confirmed, sometimes resulted in actual crimes, and manifests a life devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment. The great majority of Legionaries were unaware of this life, above all because of the system of relationships created by Fr. Maciel, who had skilfully managed to build up alibis, to gain the trust, confidence and silence of those around him, and to strengthen his role as a charismatic founder.

    Not infrequently, the lamentable discrediting and dismissal of whoever doubted the correctness of his behaviour, coupled with the misguided conviction of not wanting to harm the good the Legion was doing, created a defence mechanism around Fr. Maciel that rendered him untouchable for a long time and made it very difficult to know his real life.

  • The sincere zeal of most Legionaries, which emerged in the visits to the houses of the congregation and to many of its widely-appreciated apostolic works, has in the past led many people to believe that the allegations, which gradually became more insistent and widespread, could not have been anything other than calumnies.
  • Thus, discovering and coming to know the truth about the founder has caused the members of the Legion surprise, bewilderment and deep pain, as the visitators have made clear.

  • From the results of the apostolic visitation the following elements, among others, have become clear:
  • a) The need to redefine the charism of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, preserving its true core, that of the “militia Christi”, which characterises the apostolic and missionary activity of the Church and which is not the same as efficiency at any cost.

    b) The need to review the exercise of authority, which must be linked to truth, in order to respect conscience and develop in the light of the Gospel as authentic ecclesial service.

    c) The need to preserve, through appropriate formation, the enthusiasm of the faith of young members, their missionary zeal and their apostolic dynamism. Disillusionment concerning the founder could call into question this vocation and the core of the charism which belongs to and distinguishes the Legionaries of Christ

    .

  • The Holy Father wishes to assure all Legionaries and members of the Regnum Christi Movement that they will not be abandoned. The Church is firmly resolved to accompany them and help them on the path of purification that awaits them. This will also mean dealing sincerely with all of those who, within and outside the Legion, were victims of sexual abuse and of the power system devised by the founder. They are in the Holy Father’s thoughts and prayers at this time, along with his gratitude to those of them who, even in the midst of great difficulties, had the courage and constancy to demand the truth.
  • The Holy Father, in thanking the visitators for the sensitive task they have accomplished with skill, generosity, and profound pastoral sensitivity, reserves to himself the task of soon instructing how this assistance will be organised, beginning with the appointment of a delegate of his own and a commission to study the Legion’s constitutions
  • .

    The Holy Father will send a visitator to the consecrated members of the Regnum Christi Movement, who have insistently requested this.

  • Finally, the Pope renews his encouragement to all the Legionaries of Christ, to their families, and to all the lay people involved in the Regnum Christi Movement, during this difficult time for the congregation and for each of them. He urges them not to lose sight of the fact that their vocation, which originates in Christ’s call and is driven by the ideal of being witnesses of His love to the world, is a genuine gift from God, a treasure for the Church, and the indestructible foundation upon which each of them can build their own future and that of the Legion.
  • OP/ VIS 20100503 (1040)