ReGAIN webpage has been updated and transitioned to a new platform

Dear Friends of ReGAIN, INC,

on Thanksgiving Day an old friend of the organization took a hand in solving a problem with our old web host and has been mighty successful. We are waiting for the changes to “populate” so the content of articles, opinions and testimonies can be readily and more efficiently available to the public.

Since we began our mission over ten years ago the Legion of Christ order and the Regnum Christi Movements have gone through scandal, upheaval, Vatican interventions and an Extraordinary General Chapter. We would like to think that ReGAIN’s efforts, the writings and testimonies of many analytical and sharp minds of former members, parents, family members and a wide spectrum of concerned Catholics have contributed to revisions, or at least some level of self questioning.

ReGAIN’s mission is to continue to insist, in season and out of season, that Catholics be aware of the true nature of these organizations and that Church authorities stem the infiltration of dangerous cult-like groups within the boundaries of the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic.

Regnum Christi 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) Continue reading

Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Invade Marquette University

In addition to University Ministry, Marquette’s main campus spiritual resource provider, there are several Catholic student groups on campus, e.g. Catholic Outreach, Bellarmine, and Schoenstatt. Moreover, beyond these organizations, there are a few non-university affiliated Catholic groups that are becoming increasingly popular among students, such as Opus Dei and Regnum Christi. These groups have presented themselves as alternatives for students seeking different ways to enhance their faith.

Continue reading

Mind Control Techniques Used By The Regnum Christi Movement

Steve Hassan, Cult and Mind Control Expert and Exit Counselor in his more than 30 year experience in dealing with Destructive Totalitarian Cults developed a check list to use as a tool for evaluating whether group members are subjected to mind control in the groups they belong to. He teaches that whether a destructive cult organization is focused around religion, self improvement, business, politics or military, there are only so many methods of mind control and they all utilize similar methods to take control of a person’s Behaviour, Information, Thoughts and Emotions (BITE). He says that the validity of a group’s teachings is relatively unimportant in determining whether or not it is a destructive cult. It is whether or not they use destructive mind control methods to manipulate people. Following is a comparison to show how based on my experience and research (refer to disclaimer on last page) Regnum Christi stacks up using the BITE model.



Regulation of Physical Reality

Steve Hassan’s Check List * see note 1

  • Regulation of individual’s physical reality
    • Where, how and with whom the member lives and associates
    • What clothes, colors, hairstyles the person wears.
    • What food the person eats, drinks, adopts and rejects
    • How much sleep the person is able to have
    • Financial dependence
    • Little or no time spent on leisure, entertainment, vacations.
  •  Major time commitment required for indoctrination sessions and group rituals.
  • Need to ask permission for major decisions.
  • Need to report thoughts, feelings, and activities to superiors.
  • Rewards and punishments (behaviour modification techniques – positive and negative)
  • Individualism discouraged; “group think” prevails.
  • Rigid rules and regulations.


Regnum Christi Practice * see Note 2

  • Consecrated (3gf) members live together isolated from all outsiders in locations assigned. All clothing and food is provided by R.C. (no choice). Activities nearly every day throughout each and every day are tightly regulated including when to rise, when to go to bed, when to pray, when to exercise, when and what to eat. Financial dependence is total – 100%. Annual holiday visit with family is tightly restricted. Before 2005, home family visits for most were restricted to 2 days. Except for death of parents, consecrated women are unable to go home for important family events, including weddings, funerals, baptisms, confirmations or family reunions.
  • Daily rituals. Over and above the traditional Catholic observances, consecrated members regularly listened to Father Maciel’s tapes and read writings that had been attributed to him (it appears that the psalter was plagiarized). Mandatory retreats and other regular routines promoted “Macielism” and encouraged him to be seen as a living saint. This has of course changed since recent revelations and investigations by the Vatican but for decades there was excessive idolization of the founder.
  • Need to ask permission for almost everything including even trivial things.
  • Thoughts, feelings and activities had to be reported to superiors during regular spiritual direction sessions. This together with other practices provides the superiors with tremendous power and influence over each 3gf. There are logistical difficulties in making a real choice of spiritual director outside of their group.
  • Solemn promise of obedience has been taken very seriously. Consecrated members must account to Superior who has the power to reward or punish based on obedience and following the many Regnum Christi. rules.
  • Consecrated members are not encouraged to think or act independently of group.
  • The solemn promises and extremely rigid rules (in the 100’s) govern every aspect of consecrated members’ lives right down to the most trivial things.


Regulation of Members’ Judgment

Steve Hassan’s Check List * See Note 1

  • Use of deception
    • Deliberately holding back information
    • Distorting information to make it more “acceptable”.
    • Outright lying
  • Access to non-cult sources of information minimized or discouraged
    • Books, articles, newspapers, magazines, TV, radio
    • Critical information
    • Former members
    • Keep members so busy they don’t have time to think and check things out.
  • Compartmentalization of information; Outsider vs. Insider doctrines
    • Information is not freely available
    • Information varies at different levels and missions within pyramid.
  • Spying on other members is encouraged
    • Pairing up with “buddy” system to monitor and control
    • Reporting deviant thoughts, feelings and actions to leadership
    • Individual behaviour monitored by whole group
    • Leadership decides who “needs to know” what and when
  • Extensive use of cult generated information and propaganda
    • Newsletters, magazines, journals, audio tapes, video tapes and other media.
    • Misquotations, statements taken out of context from non-cult sources.
  • Unethical Use of Confession
    • Information about “sins” used to abolish identity boundaries
    • Past “sins” used to manipulate and control; no forgiveness or absolution
    • Need for obedience and dependency
  • Need for Obedience and Dependency


Regnum Christi Practice * See Note 2

  • Use of deception
    • Consecrated members are given “the party line” regarding controversial issues relating to Regnum Christi and their founder and are expected to believe it. Any outside criticism of the group or leader is systematically denied. There are many reports from ex members of deception within RC and L of C and Marcial Maciel has been referred to as the “Master of Deception”. As details about his life are coming to light, it would seem this title fits. Many conclude that at least some of the current leaders took part in deceptive practices in support of Marcial Maciel, who trained them.
    • This policy is backed up by their solemn promise to never criticize their superiors of the founder. When a member leaves, other members have been reported to be given false information, e.g. to think someone is on a special mission.
  • Consecrated (3gf) members have not normally been allowed free use of the Internet or free choice to read “unapproved” books except where special permission is provided. They are mostly not allowed to have any personal e-mail except through superior’s e-mail.
News comes primarily from R.C. approved sources or from R.C. controlled sources such as Zenith.
  • Limited contact with former members (especially “disgruntled” ones). Schedule does not allow time for discretionary reading or watching TV
  • Members are informed on need to know basis. Members often do not even know about R.C. issues or controversies from other locations. Amount of information available increases at higher levels. Solemn promise of “Humility” restricted normal desire for advancement with the group.
  • Strict adherence to buddy system whenever off premises. Members not allowed to attend courses or stray from their assigned home base unless with another member (“companion”).
  • Deviant thoughts and actions are reported to superior

“Denunciation sessions” have been used. Members accuse each other of breaking rules and each one defends her own actions

  • Consecrated women have been required to have spiritual direction with superiors (contrary to spirit of canon law) and had to go to Legionary priests for sacramental confession. There have been some reports of past sins used against members. Total obedience and dependency for every aspect of life based on solemn promises is required. Each is required to look upon her director as if she is Christ in person. It is generally understood that one of the main issues of the 2005 investigation into the founder’s life was that he misused the sacrament of confession with his victims.
  • Consecrated women’s solemn promises of poverty, obedience and “humility” have provided superiors with absolute power and control over them (refer to wording of obedience promise above). Except for a rosary, they have zero assets and zero income. They cannot desire higher office and must obey superiors in all decisions. They keep watch on and inform on each other.


Internalizing of Group Doctrine

Steve Hassan’s Check List * See Note 1

  • Need to Internalize the Group’s Doctrine as “Truth”
    • Adopting the group’s map of reality as “Reality” (Map = Reality)
    • Black- and White thinking
    • Good vs. Evil
    • Us vs. Them (inside vs. outside)
  • Use of “loaded” language (for example “thought terminating clichés).” Words are the tools we use to think with. These special words constrict rather than expand understanding and can even stop thoughts altogether. They function to reduce complexities of experience into trite platitudinous “buzz words”
  • Only “good” and “proper” thoughts are encouraged.
  • Use of hypnotic techniques to induce altered mental states
  • Manipulation of memories and implantation of false memories
  • Use of thought-stopping techniques, which shut down “reality testing” by stopping “negative” thoughts and allowing only “good”: thoughts.
    • Denial, rationalization, justification, wishful thinking
    • Chanting
    • Meditating
    • Praying
    • Speaking in tongues
    • Singing or humming
    • Rejection of rational analysis, critical thinking, constructive criticism. No critical questions about leader, doctrine, or policy seen as legitimate
    • No alternative belief systems viewed as legitimate, good or useful.


Regnum Christi Practice * See Note 2

  • The consecrated women were taught that the doctrine was approved by the Pope himself and therefore (for Catholics) Regnum Christi is beyond reproach (“Do you know more than the Pope?” was used to defend any challenges). As of early 2010 there have been reports that the version of RC statutes that actually were approved by the Vatican was only a fraction of the size of the version that is used to keep the consecrated women in line. They have been led to understand that the full version was approved. For example a requirement to “fully integrate the spirit of the founder into their own spirit” would be unlikely to be approved by the Vatican.

There have been reports from ex members that outside groups (e.g. other religious orders) are jealous and are out to get them and that evil “detractors” were willing to tell lies about their founder. Since the fall from grace in the winter of 2009, the party line has changed to “God is able to draw straight with crooked lines”; implying that Marcial Maciel had some faults but the religious order and movement that he founded were true to the faith.

  • The founder was always referred to as “Nuestro Padre” (meaning “Our Father” or “Our Founding Father” in Spanish). This is used by other religious orders to refer to their founders, who often are saints – not living people here on earth. It is likely that this constant reference associated Marcial Maciel with God the Father and encouraged the consecrated women to think of him as a “living saint” by association with other “our fathers” who have been declared saints.
  • Based on excessively full time schedules and rules, buddy system, ultra conservative “by the book” Catholicism, denunciation sessions, solemn promises and spiritual direction, women had little opportunity to think bad thoughts.
  • Repetition of Fr. Maciel’s teachings and routine prayers during times when the women are tired (from excessive time schedule and reduced hours of sleep) provided constant reinforcement of doctrine and Regnum Christi’s way of thinking
  • Some events that seem to be spontaneous are reported to have been orchestrated by leaders
  • Solemn promise of “loyalty” prevents any negative thoughts or words regarding controversial allegations of drug abuse, child molestation, misuse of sacrament, etc of their founder. He was presented as Christ-like because he was unjustly accused of these things and reacted as Christ did by not defending himself. The women’s understanding of events regarding their founder have been based on biased news reports from LC controlled media and restrictions on TV, Internet and other news sources.
Meditations and daily repetition of prayers enforced obedience to superiors.
  • The solemn promises of obedience and loyalty and “spiritual direction” have prevented any criticism of leadership. “Everything is approved by the Pope so don’t question it”.
  • No outside belief was seen as legitimate because their basic belief system was Roman .Catholic doctrine and Regnum Christi was supported by the Church, by most priests, parents and other Catholics. Target group for recruiting is conservative Catholics. As the statutes had been approved by the Pope everything they did was unquestionable and good.

Manipulate and Narrow Range of Feelings

Steve Hassan’s Check List * See Note 1

  • Manipulate and narrow the range of a person’s feelings
  • Make the person feel that if there are ever any problems, it is always his fault, never the leader’s or the groups.
  • Excessive use of guilt
    • Identity guilt
    • Who you are (not living up to your potential
    • Your family
    • Your past
    • Your affiliations
    • Your thoughts, feelings, actions
    • Social Guilt
    • Historical Guilt
  • Excessive use of fear
    • Fear of thinking independently
    • Fear of the “outside” world
    • Fear of enemies
    • Fear of losing one’s “salvation”
    • Fear of leaving the group or being shunned by the group
    • Fear of disapproval
    • Extremes of emotional highs and lows
    • Ritual and often public confession of sins.
    • Phobia indoctrination inculcating irrational fears about ever leaving the group or even questioning the leader’s authority. The person under mind control cannot visualize a positive, fulfilled future without being in the group.
    • No happiness or fulfillment outside the group
    • Terrible consequences will take place if you leave: hell, demon possession, incurable diseases, accidents, suicide, insanity, 10,000 incarnations, etc.
    • Never a legitimate reason to leave. From the group’s perspective, people who leave are “weak”, “undisciplined”, “unspiritual”, “worldly”,
    • “brainwashed by family or counselor” or “seduced by money, sex, rock and roll”


Regnum Christi Practice * See Note 2

  • Members are reported to be told to always appear happy, especially whenever outsiders are around and to not burden parents or outsiders with negative feelings such as depression or discouragement.
  • Parent to child style of relationship with superior, who has total control of women’s lives and obedience promise automatically puts someone in a submissive role. Promise of loyalty meant that the leader was never wrong.
  • Excessive number of rules (over 1,000 altogether?) plus the solemn promises plus spiritual direction and denunciation sessions make it impossible to ever live up to what is expected. This keeps the women in a submissive role, never quite able to please completely.
Past infractions are not necessarily forgotten according to some members, for instance:
“If you leave Regnum Christi all the souls of the people you could have saved might be lost as a result of your selfishness” has been reportedly used to make people feel guilty and selfish about leaving.
  • Total reliance on leaders for all basic needs tends to make one fearful of displeasing them in any way.
A fear of the evil “detractors” out there, who are trying to destroy R.C builds distrust of outside friends and family members. .
The consecrated women have no power – there is total reliance on superiors and so to remain at peace they must believe everything they say and be very obedient.
  • Consecrated members are taught that they are Jesus’ spouses, that they are very special in God’s sight and that they are saving many peoples’ souls from damnation. This gives emotional highs. Emotional lows come when they feel discouraged because they are being selfish or not measuring up.
  • Members have been required to take part in denunciation sessions (a form of public confession with peers relating to R.C. rules).
  • If you question the leaders you are endangering your own position in the group and you may be breaking a solemn promise of loyalty.
If you consider leaving, you are afraid of appearing to be weak and unspiritual and not pleasing to God.
If you actually do leave you may lose your salvation and all those you could have saved. With no money you would have to find someone else to rely on completely at least for a while.
There are reports that people are manipulated in spiritual direction to remain in the group or else bad things will happen to the group and to them. Family members are considered to be well meaning but they cannot understand what it is like to be a consecrated person and they don’t understand the sacrifices made. Consecrated members are encouraged to keep in contact with family members (and encourage them to make donations) but discouraged from discussing controversial issues with them on the basis that the truth needs to come from “approved sources”.


* Note 1: Source is Steve Hassan’s THE BITE MODEL checklist, quoted from his book “Releasing the Bonds” published in 2000 by Freedom of Mind Press, Somerville, MA. The BITE checklist and a wealth of related information has been provided also on his website

*Note 2: The information provided on Regnum Christi practices is based on personal observation of the writer of this article plus information from personal testimony from others including mostly ex members of RC and L of C.

Disclaimer: The information that the writer has listed under “Regnum Christi Practice” is based on my own personal experience as a father of a 3gf “consecrated” daughter and research plus my own opinions formed by research of available testimonies from ex members. Because of the high level of secrecy surrounding the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi, it is difficult to obtain 100 % accurate details of what goes on behind the closed doors where the consecrated women live and the only source of some information is from ex members. Typically the testimonies provided by ex members coincide very closely with information that comes from well respected religious writers, conservative Catholic theologians and members of the Roman Catholic hierarchy.

Some changes are in various stages of implementation since the Vatican carried out an investigation of the founder’s life and took disciplinary action against him, restricting him to a life of prayer and repentance before he died. Further changes are being implemented as the Vatican visitation into the Legionaries of Christ proceeds but there seems to be an attitude that the old ways will continue unless new ways are forced upon them by Vatican authorities. Some of the above claims above have been based on experience up to the year 2007.


Critique of Regnum Christi

Last but not least, we would like to present an in-depth critique of the Regnum Christi. Decades have passed since Fr. Cronin’s discovery of those cult-like features. Today the father of a consecrated member presents a brand new study based on decades of experience with his daughter, her superiors, and the organization.

Regain staff believes that the above evidence makes a strong case for identifying both the Legionaries of Christ and the associated Regnum Christi Movement as destructive cult groups. This opinion is not based solely on what others say about these groups. Many of the men and women with past and present association with the Regain family have endured damaging personal experiences and most are in an ongoing recovery process. Our conclusion is that that the cat is out of the bag re the Legion as a controversial High Demand religious order characterized by information control, isolation from family and friends, secrecy, persuasive “Spiritual Direction” and other potentially dangerous methods.

REGAIN, INC. hopes these articles will help members and “outsiders” better understand the true nature of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement and thus make more informed decisions regarding investment of time, energy, financial resources, and emotional and spiritual involvement.

The Master Narrative and Thinking With The Crowd

After ReGAIN posted the recent article on Cognitive Dissonance, a reader e-mailed us the following comment:

[As the article (on cognitive dissonance) points out, this can easily happen in a group where pressure and self-righteous feelings around lofty goals make people abdicate their sense of responsibility and of critical judgment. Perhaps the supreme example of this was the Nazi party and its capacity to manipulate the highly intelligent German people to such a degree that they basically gave up thinking, especially in the face of terrible deeds committed against Jews, etc. There is a word of Greek origin for this called synchretist, which means thinking with the crowd. ( sin= with, cretein=think ).

One way the LC has gotten round its dilemma is through escapism: We just keep as busy as we can, and doing the great work for Christ that we have been doing up to now; we don`t waste our time with idle gossip. (This is what two or three friends from the Regnum Christi have told me). Of course !! It`s far easier to become absorbed in routine inertial activity (even though it may be good in itself) than to confront a horrific reality which may require someone to accept that most of his/her life was engaged in a very flawed institution and as a consequence will have to embark upon a new approach requiring big and very uncomfortable change.

Another tactic has been to modify the Master Narrative.

(Ex Legionaries) are familiar with the old Master Narrative but the new one goes something like this: Our beloved founder, Marcial Maciel, inspired to launch a congregation imbued with a militaristic zeal to defend Christ`s message, encountered opposition from the start. Expelled from two seminaries by dark forces, who spread unfounded and unverified rumours about his behavior, he nonetheless prevailed in the face of adversity, albeit with significant effects to his health. In spite of great advances in carrying out his mission, the trials and tribulations continued, causing even greater physical stress which required heavy medication. All of this culminated in the betrayal of MM by a small coterie of ambitious underlings who made many false accusations, which have never been proved, and resulting in his expulsion from the order. The Church finally reinstated him, and MM continued on for many years achieving even greater good works for the Lord, growing in followers and prestige all the while. Alas, unable to deter him from this great mission, the Evil One finally managed to pervert this great man in the last years of his life, a perversion which could also have been due to the heavy medication he needed most of his life as a consequence of his great physical suffering. Stories abound about misconduct in previous years, but have never really been proven. The greatness of our founder`s mission is manifest in the many great works and innumerable souls touched by his organization. It may sound a little corny, but I think that's more or less the new Master Narrative among many.

Until they get over this stuff and the cognitive dissonance, I think they will not really become a truly flexible, mature and self-sustaining organization, which does not need to rely on heavy internal controls and robotic conformity to survive and function well. Besides, by attempting to create spiritual elites with cultish secrecy I think they make Catholicism far less accessible to modern man, even to most Catholics.
Just thinking out loud.....]

ReGAIN Comment

We are grateful to our friend for his informative and thought provoking comments and we encourage others to send us comments on any of our articles.
The Master Narrative continues to evolve as the unfortunate truth unravels. The narrative was forced to undergo an abrupt change in 2009, when revelations about the founder's secret life became public. The blow to Nuestro Padre's image as the Ideal Legionary was softened as much as possible by emphasizing only one of the women in his life, painting him as an irresistible romantic figure, who got involved in a long standing relationship with her.

Within the Legion or Regnum Christi walls there was no discussion regarding the sordid details of their founder's secret life. Based on a 2010 article in the National Catholic Reporter, Click Here there was a forty year age difference between Father Maciel and his lover, Norma Hilda Banos, who was underage when they met.

Similarly, behind the walls, there was no mention or discussion about the other mother, Blanca Gutierrez, who according to the above NCR article met the Legionary founder in 1977, (who over years posed as an international detective for oil companies) when he was 56 and she was 19 years old.

After some of the revelations became public in 2009, there were various attempts to rationalize the saintly image of the founder with the shocking facts. For a while, there was an incredible explanation that some of the more naive members believed. Their leader had received a blow to his head that had mysteriously knocked his moral values out of him. To outsiders who were aware of Nuestro Padre's history that included multiple credible sexual abuse claims going back at least as far as the early 1940's, the bonk on the head explanation seemed totally ridiculous.

Within the closed environment, where everyone around you is a believer in the Master Narrative, it becomes uncomfortable and virtually impossible to question the party line. In their denial mode, they knew absolutely that their saintly founder was innocent of any sexual abuse so they automatically believed that anyone who claimed to have been abused must be a liar.

Fr. Maciel's followers are uniformly willing to admit to outsiders in a very general way that their founder was guilty of leading an immoral life. After the Vatican communique in 2010 they could no longer deny this fact. However, for many, their comprehension of his misdeeds is limited to the (hidden) Master Narrative that allows them to believe that he remained a saint in spite of any evidence to the contrary and the Holy Spirit was able to work through him to achieve something wonderful for God and His Church.

The doublethink lives on.

Does The Vatican Really Understand What Needs Reforming In The Legion?

As the reform of the Legionaries and Regnum Christi comes to an end after three years, we shake our heads and wonder whether or not it has even started. On December 16, 31 new Legionary priests were ordained in Rome. In his homily at this event, Click Here Cardinal DePaolis offered his praise for the faithfulness of the ones who remained in the Legion suggesting that they have remained, because they believe that they chose Christ. By his words, he took a sort of backhand shot at those who had left, saying that only the Lord can judge them. The tone of his homily made it clear that he felt the faithful ones who remained were good and that there was some weakness in the (unfaithful) ones who left. This attitude is consistent with other statements he has made in similar circumstances, e.g. when Malen Oriol and other 3gf ladies left to form Totus Tuus.

ReGAIN readers are aware that the Legion and Regnum Christi leaders past and present have been known to use controversial highly aggressive tactics to recruit and retain members and have not respected the freedom of conscience. A reference to this important issue of freedom of conscience was included in the May 2010 Vatican communique. Click Here So why would an Apostolic Delegate not do everything in his power to ensure that Legionary and Regnum Christi members were provided with every opportunity to take time to discern what their true calling from God was? Why would he be more concerned about the numbers of people who remained in this congregation, which has been already proven to be an unhealthy part of the Church than he is about helping people to discover where they can best serve God and where God wishes them to be?

He also shows concern about the sins of the Legion filling the media throughout the world, obviously seeing this as a bad thing. His statement showed more concern about the image of the Legion and the Church than remorse about the wrongs that were done. If the sins were not truthful, then we would share his concern. If the information published in the media happens to be the truth, then we feel it should be a good thing to expose false prophets in the Church. It is the truth that sets us free. Regarding this issue, there have been obvious and deliberate efforts made to suppress the truth about who aided and abetted the Legion and Regnum Christi founder in his deceitful life. Shouldn’t the Church of all organizations be willing to see justice for those who have been wronged by some of its own religious orders? The tone of the homily seemed to favor blind obedience and trust, even when people are aware that some of the leaders are not trustworthy. If in fact all of the current leaders really were trustworthy and all of the fraud and deception was committed by Father Marcial Maciel acting alone, should not everyone involved want to have an opportunity to have their names cleared? The message from this is that the image of the Church and its leaders is more important than the truth.

Any shocking story about the Legionaries was taken as indisputable truth

The tone of this statement is eerily similar to the old days when Father Maciel would blame those evil detractors (including ReGAIN) for making up false accusations against him. The information we have brought to light remains here on this website for all to see and we have made a sincere effort to publish only true facts. Is the Apostolic Delegate suggesting that the new Legionary priests should shut down their critical judgment skills? We hope not. Based on numerous articles in this website and others and credible news agency articles, deceit in the Legion continued after the death of its founder. Legion leaders have been forced to admit that they knew things about Father Maciel and about Father Williams while by their actions and statements they pretended to be unaware. The new Legionary priests should have a right to know the truth about their own organization. History has shown that those who believed they were being deceived by their leaders had good reason to believe so. When he said You have seen whether they were true or not. we wonder what information they were allowed to have to discern and judge whether things were true or not.

In his homily, Cardinal DePaolis said they said that they were betrayed by the founder and by the superiors who covered up for him, or did not reveal the truth to them in a satisfactory manner, as if that were a wrong thing to conclude, while the (good) ones who stayed believed that they chose Christ. Is there an implication here that the (bad) ones who left failed to choose Christ? We believe that even those who left the priesthood after discernment could just as well be choosing Christ and could find their true vocation outside the priesthood. .Forced vocations have not proven to be effective.

The statement about suffering and bearing the shame of other Legionaries again reminds us of Father Maciel’s tactics of making comparisons to Jesus. The Legion founder pretended that he had been innocently condemned just like Jesus. The statement here provides an image of the current Legionary trainees suffering for the sins of others (just like Jesus). Perhaps this comparison is unintended and if so we apologize for drawing attention.

There is considerable mention in the homily of the suffering of the Legionaries but only token reference to the suffering of others caused by the founder and some others. However, to this day, there have been extremely few details of what specific harm by the founder and other leaders acknowledged by the Legion. Normally, any expression of remorse by the Legion spokespersons have been general statements such as we are sorry for the wrongs that our founder did. That is like going to confession and saying Father I am sorry for everything I have done since my last confession and not providing any details. To date, several victims of the founder and of other LC abusers known to ReGAIN are still waiting for significant acknowledgement of what was done to them and there has not been significant efforts made for restorative justice. There seems to be a hidden Macielistic lesson to the newly ordained priests that their own suffering outweighs the suffering of those outsiders who may be hurt by them and their organization and to put their own needs ahead of others.

As an opinion, we would say that the words spoken have shown that there is a lack of true understanding about what it is in the Legion that needs to be reformed. Although there have been superficial changes made to the structure and methodology, the old guard leaders and their attitudes remain; a valid charism remains unidentified; the aggressive recruiting continues; information is suppressed and the members continue to be manipulated to the benefit of the same old people who stand to gain the same old money and power from the members’ efforts.

What are the Priorities of the Legionaries of Christ?

Just for the record, Sean Hannity really is a dissenting Catholic and a public scandal to the Faith. He should be rebuked by his pastor or bishop, not by me, but since that has not been forthcoming in his decade or so of public dissent on radio and TV, somebody in authority had to say something. Hannity, as we know, is shameless on birth control, and judging from the interview, he hasn’t even the vocabulary to rationally defend his position in the face of his Church’s clear teaching (2).

Now it should be noted that Fr Euteneuer is the head of a widely honoured (or vilified) organization, Human Life International (3), which works tirelessly to fight against abortion, the sex slave trade, and promiscuity around the world. Its track record is highly visible and consistent, supporting Church teaching as well as the dignity of women and children, and constantly on guard against government programs which undermine the family.

While conservative Catholics were peeved at the rough handling of this clergyman – by one who was himself a former seminarian and member of the Church, they were stunned when Fox analyst Fr Jonathan Morris, LC piled on, defending Mr Hannity from what he called the – shockingly poor judgmentof his guest. He continued, noting:

The unfortunate event reminded me of the bigger question of the fast-eroding credibility among religious leaders in our nation and its causes (4).

That comment alone beggars belief, coming as it does from an ardent follower of Marcial Maciel, LC, founder of his religious congregation who on that very day was under subpoena in Mexico. Maciel and the present head of the Legion, Alvaro Corcuera were both solicited to answer 38 questions about troubling trends of sexual conduct still associated with the Legionaries of Christ, culminating specifically with the recent alleged abuse of a four year old boy. This is the same founder, previously hailed as a model for youth,who is now stripped of the ability to act as priest in public for credible accusations of child molestation himself. This is the same order that led to roughly one hundred testimonies to be given to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith concerning sexual improprieties, spiritual manipulation, and possible illegal drug use.

And yet, in Fr Morris’ sunny world, it is not the publicly censured Maciel who has contributed to the erosion of credibility of religious leaders – rather it is the inappropriate and ill-considered words of priests such as Fr Euteneuer who are the problem. This was truly a baffling display of hypocrisy.

A particular dimension of this heated exchange involves the important element of fraternal correction and how it is properly administered. Specifically, Fr Morris attacked Fr Euteneuer for not admonishing Hannity in private, resulting in an explanation from Fr Euteneuer that he indeed had made an effort to do so (5). But that allowed Fr Euteneuer to bring up an important point:

May I also point out that you did not employ with me the same standard of fraternal correctionthat you expected me to employ with Mr. Hannity. I at least made the attempt to speak to him about this issue in private without success; you, in contrast, went immediately to the internet to take me to task. I do not intend to understand your motives; I can only evaluate what I see in your actions (6).

Fr Morris responded quickly that he had indeed made such a private attempt, which Fr Euteneuer firmly denied. Thus we have one priest saying, Yes I did,while the other maintains, No you didn’t – and we must fall back on the question of the established credibility of both men.

There is no reason for Fr Euteneuer to lie – and he has been known for his integrity for years. On the other hand, Fr Morris has a checkered past in this area, most notably with a public censure from angry Muslims.

Representatives of an east London mosque used by several of the terror suspects reacted angrily yesterday to what they called a sick stunt by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox News channel. Mohammed Shoyaib, the imam of the Musjid-e-Umer mosque in Walthamstow, complained that he and other elders were tricked by a representative from the cable channel, a priest who said he was working for the Vatican and wanted to talk peace.

He introduced himself as priest working in Rome, said Mr Shoyaib. – Then he said he was working for peace in the world, that all faiths should work together for peace, that he needs a united message of peace for the American people. Only later he said he was from ‘a sister network of Sky News’, but never mentioned Fox.

The man spent several minutes conversing on camera with the imam and elders, but they reacted furiously when they learned he was Father Jonathan Morris, a religious pundit for Fox News! Mr Morris denied he had misled the local community but, in the face of criticism, he hastily left the scene (7).

First of all, being the vice-rector of a Catholic seminary (which Fr Morris is) can in no way be confused with working for the Vatican.We could allow for the fact that non-Christians could assume that the city of Rome and Vatican City are interchangeable, but the misrepresentation was more than his Church credentials it involved his employer’s identity as well. Fr Morris disputes the details, maintaining that he was more forthright, but eventually agrees that he hadn’t mentioned his Fox affiliation at the outset. (Additionally, it is interesting that his vocation is to work for peace in the world,(8) rather than to spread the Gospel of Jesus Christ. It may have been a mental reservation for the sake of ecumenism, but perhaps his mission is different than that of most Catholic priests.)

A subsequent response of Fr Morris included the following admonition to Fr Euteneuer, reminding him of how difficult it is for all religious leaders to be taken seriously.

When we hear television evangelists wonder out loud whether Ariel Sharon’s stroke might be God’s judgment on him for making territorial concessions to the Palestinians, we lose trust. When, year after year, we listen to self-proclaimed prophets predict the day and the hour of the end-times,we lose trust. When we turn on the television and hear preachers promise heaven on earth if we give, give, give to the Church their church we lose trust. When we hear mainline Protestant pastors and their associations throw Biblical tradition to the wind and make wishy-washy statements about faith and morality, we lose trust.

The non-Christian religions are in even worse shape regarding leadership credibility. Is there a single Muslim imam who stands out today for his national leadership toward peace?What Muslim scholar can we trust to speak with scholarly proficiency and universal authority about the alleged peaceful nature of Islam?

The Jewish community in America is so splintered and disjointed on themes of dogma and religious tradition, it is difficult to find anyone who speaks for the majority, or even for the masses (9).

And yet, after such statements attacking the religious leaders outside the Catholic Church, Fr Morris claims to be swamped with support from the very people he criticized:

Particularly interesting were the hundreds of messages I have received yesterday from non’-Catholics, including many pastors, and non’Christians. In these notes you expressed your commitment to collaborate with both of us as we strive together to build a civilization of truth and love (10)

The civilization of truth and loveis a nearly trademarked statement of John Paul II, whom Fr Euteneuer loyally follows on every topic. Why would non’Catholics and even non-Christians side with Fr Morris to pursue John Paul II’s dream – against one of the most orthodox of priests who promotes solely the Catholic view of human sexuality – . It is a complete non sequitur and makes no logical sense. I don’t believe that Fr Morris got those emails not ten, and certainly not hundreds. Not for the sake of the civilization of truth and love.

The sordid drama continues with a public back-and-forth on the internet, between the two priests and among the lay faithful who are bewildered by the surprisingly unorthodox position of a priest from such an orthodoxcongregation. Men and women are having difficulty explaining the compromised action of such a loyal member of the clergy, and thus this is where it is important to remind them of some important unorthodoxdecisions by the Legionaries of Christ.

Shrewdly Advancing the Kingdom

Politically, the Legion has always been very astute discerning who the power brokers are in a given time and place and ingratiating themselves with them. In Chile, Augusto Pinochet was a highly controversial figure tied to repression not only of the poor in his country, but also of the Church. He was clearly tied to the assassination of at least six Catholic priests and the torture of many more priest, nuns, and lay faithful.

While the Vatican’s Secretary of State, Cardinal Angelo Sodano, rebuffed efforts of the persecuted Church to give testimony to John Paul II, the Legion of Christ also turned a blind eye to the military dictator, choosing rather to seek vocations among Chile’s wealthy Catholic families who may have been loyal to Pinochet. The Legion’s access was dependent on Cardinal Sodano, who was Apostolic Nuncio to Chile during Pinochet’s regime, and with whom Maciel had a close relationship.

The people know of (Sodano’s) reports to Rome and of his excessive attachment to the military regime. Also well known are his biased criteria in recommending the appointment of new bishops. In the offices of the nuncio black lists operate, there are rewards for services rendered, people seeking promotion, people falling in and out of favour (11).

I personally heard testimony of the tremendous success of recruiters in Chile years ago – a success that would have been impossible without the favour necessary from the compromised Apostolic Nuncio. While one might say that the Legion was simply being wise as serpentsto use such access to build the Kingdomunder the nose of repression, the overall result was intense scandal by those Catholics who were sorely persecuted by their lack of favour within the halls of power.

Moving to Mexico, the Legion had the ear of Marta Sahagun, the wife of Vicente Fox, who is a member of the Regnum Christi Movement. This was impressive to many ardent RC members, who saw such a highly visible citizen in their ranks and committed to the same apostolic works on which they worked so diligently. Unfortunately, although her first marriage has subsequently been annulled (in 2005), Fox’s first marriage was not, and neither Vicente nor Marta were free to marry when they wed privately in 2001. Her irregular situation didn’t seem a problem to the Legion in view of her tremendous visiblity – which must have added its own scandal to the loyal Catholics struggling to emphasise the importance of Church teaching on marriage to their own children and grandchildren (12).

Another highly visible ally of the Legion will be visiting Atlanta this summer for the Youth and Family Encounter, Eduardo Verastegui (born Jose Eduardo Verastegui Cordoba).

Say his name in Mexico, and everyone will know who you are talking about. Now he’s making his breakthrough in the States. His name is Eduardo Verastegui. He has tons of fan clubs and thank goodness Google translates pages since the majority are in Spanish (13).

Besides his steamy soap operas and modeling career (which even included posing nude), he has recently had the chance to work with Jennifer Lopez (J-Lo) which delighted him. He is a man of contrasts – wearing a rosary and insisting the he prays regularly, dancing with seductive women in sensual videos, and hoping for marriage in which he will fulfill his dream of having exactly three children (not exactly a Catholic view of collaborating with God to unfold His plan) (14).

But the Legion now has access to a hot and rising star who can combine devotion to the Blessed Mother with participating in the very troublesome industry that causes Our Lady so many tears. Of course, the Legion cannot be held accountable for all the private decisions of its members, but in the case of Marta Sahagan de Fox and Eduardo Verastegui there is no explanation of limited support, of separating the virtuous actions from the questionable actions, or even acknowledgment of moral challenges to their elevated vocations.

They are exploited in sum for their visibility and used as fodder for Legionary recruiting. Another troublesome ally of the Legion is Mel Gibson, an ardent Catholic although out of communion with the Holy See. Legionary priests hovered about the set of The Passion of the Christ, running errands and ingratiating themselves to the cast. This familiarity never led to offering Mass, because of course Gibson never participates in the Novus Ordo liturgy to which the Legion must dedicate itself. Nevertheless, the Legion used this proximity to offer insideinformation on the meaning of the crucifixion of Christ (for those who may not know about the basic tenets of the faith), to be included in the closing credits, and ultimately to set up an office at Icon Productions back in Los Angeles. Again, while Mel Gibson offers an extraordinary example of using faith in the arts and standing up for unwelcome message in Hollywood, the Legion never offered an explanation of why they would collaborate with a schismatic Catholic, or when such collaboration is allowable. They allowed the celebrity of the vehicle to bring them into contact with other power brokers despite confusion and scandal over the method.

Orthodoxy Presumes Basic Integrity The Methodology of the Movement is its greatest strength, according to its members, and it emphasises the growth of its own ranks at any cost because, to the Legion, the end justifies the means. There are consistent, well-documented cases of the following methods used regularly by members: Misleading guests about the sponsorship of various events (LC/RC is so misunderstood, we couldn’t let it get in the way!) Lying to others in order to get journalistic access to their true motives (hey, everyone in the business does it!) Bait and switch tactics in order to recruit potential members (once they’re in the door, we’ll reveal why we really invited them!) Using in-house school directories for promoting RC apostolic activities (when these girls encounter Jesus, they won’t care how we got their phone numbers!) Using fabricated stories to solicit funds from benefactors (God will reward them for their generosity, despite how we use the money!)

All of these have been cited numerous times by those who have had associations with the Movement. Rather than saying that small lies are justified for the sake of the greater good, one should rather ponder the words of Jesus, Who said, – For if you are not faithful in that which is little, how shall any one give you that which is great? (Luke 16:11). Additionally, the Movement is dedicated to targeting particular souls for the good of the Kingdom, and thus the ulterior motives of the recruiters allow for a utilitarian view of friendships, which undermines authentic charity. From the Constitutions of the Legion, we find their modus operandi: (quotes removed by Court Order) This five segment approach – called captation – was part of every section, and members are accountable monthly to show a list of recruits, indicating the stage where each person was. Recruits were carefully selected for their wealth, status, or other gifts that would benefit the Legion, and then won over – ostensibly to Christ, but always through the Movement. It is hard to imagine complete sincerity when an ulterior plan governs relationships in such a discreet, utilitarian way. Of course a friendship is not normal when one side has an end-game and the other is in the dark. To assume to know what the vocation of another person is requires more than self-assurance – >it requires holy omniscience, smacking of pride.

The Legion also exercises pride when it pays lip- service to an action of the Holy Father, while knowing betterthan he about what is true. This has been the response of the Movement from the top down after the May 2006 communique suggesting that, due to outstanding and credible charges of molestation, the founder would be best served by a life of penance rather than undergoing a trial. All members have been instructed in how this is a misunderstanding of a holy man, is redolent of the Church’s persecution of Padre Pio, and which places them – if not materially, then spiritually

Thus, this orthodox congregation has consistently exemplified dishonesty, pride, manipulation, and rampant duplicity – for the sake of building the Kingdom. It has chosen fidelity to the founder over sincere loyalty to Rome, high-pressure apostolates at the expense of family unity, and relationships with celebrities and power brokers over defending Church teaching. What is baffling is how outside observers consistently assume – because their outward acts of piety conform to traditional practices – that everything about them must be straight arrow. It has been the effort of many over the years to try to explain that the window dressing lacks substance.

Ultimately, the only thing surprising about the words of Fr Jonathan Morris, LC is that he displayed his hand so forthrightly. There is no doubt that the Legion approved all his columns and positions beforehand (it’s standard procedure for all public statements or papers) and now they must be reeling at the negative response. So be it. Despite their next move, kindly ponder this one, and consider whether it reveals a pattern of shallowness and intrigue rather than the action of a true friend of the Church.