Former Member, Nieves Garcia Asks Why
Nieves Garcia, a former member of Regnum Christi has questioned why so many of the Regnum Christi consecrated women have left over the last three years and states that it is overly simplistic to blame this massive departure on the Maciel scandal.
Ms. Garcia suggests several reasons why so many women have left including:
- Lack of real discernment before entering formation (i.e. forced vocation)
- Generosity mistaken for vocation
- Physical and / or psychological illness develops as a result of imbalanced lifestyle
- When they asked for answers, they received half truths of lies, and eventually chose truth.
- Some waited in vain for the Church to bring about real renewal.
Nieves Garcia explains that some of the women were made to leave against their will; they wanted to remain but were suddenly told to leave even though some had been there for decades and were unprepared to return to the outside world.
Until three years ago, the conditions in the structure of the consecrated life were similar to that of any of the other well known cult groups.
Until 2009, the founder Nuestro Padre was idolized; the members? behavior was tightly controlled through the excessive rules; their contact with the outside world was tightly controlled (mail opened and read, phone calls monitored); they were not allowed to have personal e-mail accounts; they were isolated from their families (except for annual 2 day visits home); their critical thinking ability had been compromised; their time was rigidly scheduled: they were obligated by solemn promises to never criticize any superior; they were required to have regular spiritual direction from superiors; they were in a position of being virtually totally dependent for their every need.
Although the reform process has proceeded at a painfully slow pace, the day to day conditions for the consecrated women have gradually changed to be less cult like under the watchful eyes of the Vatican. It is not surprising that as the mind control conditions are relaxed and the women are finally allowed to start to question things that they realize that they got a bad deal.
Yes, their founder turned out to be anything but a saint, even though their superiors had stubbornly defended him until his wives and children started coming out of the woodwork. Then they discovered that their form of consecration was not recognized as such. Then they discovered that there was (and still is) controversy about whether or not they or the Legion had a valid charism. Until three years ago, within their environment, under watchful eyes they were never encouraged to question any of these things. They had been warned of evil or jealous people on the outside who were trying to prevent them from dong the good they were doing. Some were afraid that they would lose their salvation if they were disloyal to the vocation they had been called to since the beginning of time.
The Vatican has done what it is able to do to create conditions for a real reform to happen. The Delegate has indicated that he is not going in with a big stick to clean house and use his power to make reform happen. He has stated that it is up to the Legion leaders to reform themselves. So far (after years now) this does not seem to be happening.
A big question arises from this situation. The Vatican has exposed that the founder had no genuine religious sentiment. One of the key elements of the reform is to identify the Legion and Regnum Christi charism. If after all these decades, there has been a poorly defined spiritual purpose for the Legion or Regnum Christi then what was / is the real purpose of the Legion and Regnum Christi?
Now that the consecrated women are allowed to ask this question many are discovering that they do not like the answers they are getting and are opting to relocate where they can find a vocation to devote their lives to a genuine spiritual cause.