On the 2nd anniversary date of the death of Fr. Marcial Maciel, there were two different postings in the comments on Life-After-RC Click Here to See Posts ,
one by “Jose” an ex-Legionary priest who “decided” to join the Legionaries of Christ at the age of 13 and one by “This Little Light”, another ex Legionary priest.
“Jose” tells of his experience with the Legion, including the difficulties he went through 11 years later when he decided that he no longer wished to belong to the Legion. He had advised his spiritual director of his decision and was made to wait for a period of two years to get the permission that he needed from the General Director, Fr. Marcial Maciel. During this waiting period, he was made to feel that he was abandoning his vocation that he had been called to from all Eternity and he was urged to be “more generous” and “to be more patient and pray”.
Jose says that he was coerced through his vow of obedience into reluctantly renewing his vows for another two years, even though he had clearly stated he wanted out.
When he finally did receive Fr Maciel’s permission to leave he was pressured to keep it a secret from everyone. He was whisked away without notice to the airport in the middle of the night without an opportunity to say goodbye to any of those he had lived in community with for eleven years.
“Jose” shares how during his years with the Legion, he was forbidden to share his sufferings and true feelings with any family members or friends.
“This Little Light” provides a disturbing account of how frequently there were mental breakdowns among candidates, some of whom he believes had to deal with terror and extreme stress. He gives an account of how the Legion dealt with one such case. Instead of taking the person to get medical or psychiatric treatment, the person was relocated from Connecticut to another Legion facility in New York State (Rye), where he was locked in his third floor room and left alone to deal with his own problems. When they finally checked the next morning to see how he was doing, the person had “escaped” and taken a bus to his home.
Without such testimonies courageously offered from those who have lived on the inside it would be difficult for those on the outside to understand the true cult structure of the Legion and Regnum Christi. When people know some of the current members, who are wholesome, attractive, well spoken, sincere devout Catholics they are unable to believe that there is anything wrong with the religious order or movement that these good people are part of. ReGAIN and similar websites do not exist because the members are not good people. It is the spiritually and emotionally toxic environment they exist in and the true motives of the Legion and Regnum Christi that we believe need to be challenged.
The details of life as a Legionary or “consecrated” 3gf Regnum Christi member are kept extremely secretive and the members are isolated and alienated from outside influences including their own beloved family members. The rules for the “kingdom” were established and tightly controlled for decades by the disgraced founder Fr. Maciel (who was found by the Vatican to be “devoid of religious sentiment”). Tales of anguish and difficulty in leaving the Legion and restricted availability to medical care recur in several former testimonies on this site and elsewhere.
It requires discernment to evaluate the type of testimony given by ex members because it is usually only available anonymously on the Internet. So each person needs to discern the truth. One factor that lends credibility to the many hundreds of stories similar to the two that are outlined above and to others that are found here on ReGAIN, on Life-After-RC blog and on other similar websites is the consistency from one testimony to another. Each one reinforces the next ones and previous ones that provide a similar message that comes from a variety of different sources. Another litmus test is to compare the details of each story with any details that the reader already knows to be true.
It is a helpless feeling when you have someone living on the inside to gradually discover that the person you love is gradually losing his or her precious free will and being manipulated by deceitful and inhuman practices into a life of mind numbing subservience, naively believing that they are an elite group of superior Christians.