Are Regnum Christi Third Degree Females Brides of Christ?
Recently there has been considerable debate concerning the true status of the 3gf consecrated Regnum Christi women in the eyes of the Church. It is generally recognized that the women themselves are sincere and dedicated. But the structure of the Legion, the life of their founder, the statutes and the charism have been brought into question by the Vatican, who will soon be conducting a visitation on Regnum Christi, which has the same founder, similar statutes and similar charism (peculiar gift/specialization).
Life-After-RC has recently had ongoing discussions on this topic of the status of the 3gf women.
There are credible claims that the 3gf women consecrated status is not recognized by the Vatican based on issues that include the following arguments:
- Instead of taking part in the Rite of Consecration, the 3gf women make private promises in a private Regnum Christi ceremony.
- The ceremony is administered by a Legionary priest; the local bishop is not involved.
- There are no solemn religious vows for 3gf women (they make solemn promises). The term solemn promises is confusing as “solemn is usually associated with the term vows”, which these women do not take.
- There is no spiritual bond with the local diocese. The 3gf women have a bond only with their own religious movement.
- The 3gf consecration is not necessarily permanent. It can be undone simply and quickly by either party. At any time, the Regnum Christi religious movement can suddenly decide that one of their consecrated woman no longer has a vocation and must leave immediately. The fear of this happening to a person in a vulnerable position, e.g. no assets, few marketable skills can be intense. A consecrated woman may be relieved of her promises by simply writing a letter expressing this intent to her local bishop.
- There is no obligation by the Church or by Regnum Christi to provide basic needs for the 3gf women in poor health or old age. They may be terminated without notice or obligation at any stage in their lives and sent home.
There are several other issues and arguments discussed at the above site and on other blogs that lead one to believe that the 3gf women have been deceived into believing that they are Brides of Christ, while there is no such recognition for them in the Church.
A real consecrated virgin, who has taken part in the Rite of Consecration to a Life of Virginity provides relevant information on her blog regarding what is required to be considered to be a consecrated virgin as recognized by the Catholic Church. The home page of this blog takes a contrary position regarding the consecration of the women in Regnum Christi and other Catholic groups.
This will be a thorny issue for the Vatican to adjudicate when the visitation to Regnum Christi takes place starting very soon. If the 3gf women have been deceived into believing they have some special status (i.e. consecrated Brides of Christ) and are advised differently by the Vatican, where does this leave them?
We hope and pray that this issue will be fully resolved during the visitation period. Regardless of how the decision goes, we hope that the Vatican recognizes the need for the women to be provided with accurate information, adequate health care and security during their active years as well as their senior years.