A Blow To The Legion’s Credibility

From Associated Press Article by Nicole Winfield regarding deceit and loss of credibility in the Legion

 

Nicole Winfield of Associated Press continues to bring more light into dark places. In her latest article Click Here For AP Article she reported that the Legion of Christ has sufferedanother blow to its credibility.

Father Alvaro Corcuera, the Director General of the Legion has publically made an admission that although he had been advised about Father Williams, the most prominent Legionary priest fathering a child as far back as 2005, he allowed him to continue in his work, teaching and preaching about morality. The Legionary Director General said that he simply believed at first that the story was just a rumour. He said that he did ask Father Williams about it and when Father Williams denied that it was true, he took his word for it without conducting further investigation. Father Corcuera said that after he became superior in 2005, he confirmed Williams’ paternity and asked him to withdraw from public ministry. However, in spite of this statement, Father Williams was allowed to continue his public ministry work until 2012.

Father Corcuera, the Director General of the Legionaries of Christ has written a letter to the members of the Legionaries of Christ and members and friends of Regnum ChristiClick Here for Letter by Father Corcuera

According to Nicole Winfield, Father Williams made a more recent statement stating he had resisted Father Corcuera’s encouragement to keep a low profile, saying he had hoped to move beyond the child this sin in my past to do good work for the church. Fr. Corcuera said that in 2010 he placed restrictions on Fr. Williams’ ministry, but as recently as last month Williams was the keynote speaker at a Legion-affiliated women’s conference in the Rhode Island and was scheduled to speak at another conference in October in Michigan.

AP reported that a U.S. victims’ support group, Survivors’ Network of those Abused by Priests, had called for Pope Benedict XVI to oust Corcuera, and said that if the pope wantsa more holy and pure and safe church, he can’t keep ignoring or rewarding serious wrongdoing.
The SNAP statement says:
Virtually nothing will change if the pope and other Church officials continue to let their colleagues and underlings act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year – and get by with saying, when they’re caught, ‘Oops, sorry, I goofed,’ SNAP said in a statement.

ReGAIN Comment :

Reading from Acts 20: 28-30
Keep watch over yourselves and over all the flock, of which the Holy Spirit has made you overseers, to shepherd the Church of God that he obtained with the blood of His own Son. I know that after I have gone, savage wolves will come in among you, not sparing the flock. Some even from your own group will come distorting the truth in order to entice the disciples to follow them.

The skeletons continue to fall out of the Legion closet and it has finally reached the point where the spin doctors can’t disguise them any more. With the Vatican commissioner watching and with news reporters taking interest in what is happening it is becoming much more difficult to get away with distorting the truth.
A former superior in the Miles Jesus group – which had a similar problem as the Legion, i.e. a dysfunctional founder- stated in May 2012: It is not just enough to cut off the head; the head has already infected the body.

Fr. Maciel’s great anti-charism according to his critics (including ReGAIN) has been considered to be deceit. There has been suspicion, and now this recent evidence supports it, that the founder had infected the body and the superiors which he chose, including his dear Fr. Alvaro, with the disease of deceit. There are parallels between the founder’s double life and that of Fr. William and in both cases their actions were deceitfully covered up after the death of the founder by the current Legionary leaders.

Nicole Winfield provided a reminder in her article how the Legion did everything possible to cover up for their founder’s misdeeds. When DNA tests confirmed their worst fears andfamily membersstarted coming out of Father Maciel’s closet, the Legionary leaders had to backtrack and eventually admit the truth about their founder. They did their best to give an impression that it was unusual for prominent Legionary priests to father children and they acted very surprised and claimed that they just could not believe the truth about Father Maciel. Now with history repeating itself, the Director General, Father Corcuera, being backed into a corner fesses up that he knew for at least seven years that their most prominent spokesperson had also fathered a child and yet allowed him to continue with his work teaching moral theology.

According to the AP report, the Director General said that he had asked Father Williams to withdraw from public ministry. This statement is surprising because it means that either he did not do as he said (i.e. didn’t really tell Fr. Williams to withdraw from public ministry) or Fr. Williams simply ignored the order from his ultimate superior.

In either case, Fr. Corcuera appears to be inept, weak, incompetent and dishonest, not good qualities for a supreme leader. As Director General he had ultimate power and authority to ensure that the right thing was done. His power and authority over Father Williams would be comparable to that of an army general over a captain and in the case of the Legion, Fr. William would have made a vow of obedience. So Father Corcuera’s claim that he had asked Father William to withdraw from public ministry does not make sense considering that he kept on being involved in high profile activity in the field of moral theology.

Some of Father Williams’ statements are problematic. As mentioned in a previous ReGAIN article he had referred to the child as her child. This time he said he had resisted Father Corcuera’s encouragement to keep a low profile, saying he had hoped to move beyond the child this sin in my past to do good work for the church.

How does a priest move beyond the child? This statement seems callous, considering that a son or daughter is involved and the Father is a teacher of moral values. This raises questions such as was there hush money offered to the mother? What would be an appropriate and responsible way to deal with the situation that takes into account the other people involved in this situation?

We agree with Nicole Winfield that that main issue here (based on her headline) is Legion credibility. Based on a number of past articles and testimonies in this website, ReGAIN long ago concluded that there is deceit in Fr. Maciel’s kingdom. Unfortunately this is spilling over to give the entire Catholic Church a bigger black eye and this is evident in SNAP’s statement regarding leaders allowing priests to act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year?

We do not envy Cardinal DePaolis in his job of trying to reform the Legion because the leaders have shown willingness to cooperate in the reform process only in certain limited areas after their deceitfulness has been once again exposed by the news media or when the Vatican imposes changes.

 

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Seeking A Superior And A Long Lost Peace

Based on article written by Andres Beltramo Alvarez in The Vatican Insider La Stampa

The real challenge will be to regain the serenity lost in an internal crisis that some members have been unable to withstand, falling into chronic physical illness or depression.

According to an article written by Andres Beltramo Alvarez in The Vatican Insider La Stampa Click Here for article the 3gf women of Regnum Christi are in the midst of seeking a new leader to replace Malen Oriol, who departed suddenly earlier in 2012 to form Totus Tuus, a separate religious movement in Chile. The article states that the 3gf women (reportedly over 700 in number) around the world are choosing a new leader plus four territorial leaders.

Regnum Christi is planning to establish a government that will consist of a Superior General who will take over from Agostino Montan (temporary replacement for Malen Oriol) and who will be assisted by new Territorial Directors. The selection of all of these positions is being done by a mail-in election. During the month of April, each of the 3gf women made her selections and mailed in the names to Rome in a sealed envelope.

The writer of the article claims that members of the movement are showing signs of suffering (from the current state of crisis) and that they feel insecure because of the various intrigues that were going on and suffering from illness and depression. The first paragraph actually mentions chronic physical illness or depression.
The author of the article states that DePaolis pushed for some changes in the movement but then lost control of the situation.

ReGAIN Comment:
The article paints a disturbing picture of the present situation for the 3gf women and for the Vatican delegate, Cardinal Velasio DePaolis and raises some interesting questions regarding the future of the Regnum Christi movement.

The first thing that jumps off the page is the mention of chronic physical illness and depression,

Since the Vatican commissioner took over leadership of Regnum Christi, has anything been done to improve the availability of medical treatment for the women? In the past there have been horror stories of someone in house being appointed to dispense aspirins and other over the counter remedies as a first line of treatment. When that was inadequate there were some volunteer doctors available to provide medical treatment. Unfortunately, the women were not covered by a regular health protection plan and in many cases were required to take their chances with whomever and whatever was available.

Now that there are a significant number of the 3gf women suffering from chronic physical illness and depression, are they receiving proper medical treatment for this? Have the current leaders brought in psychological counselors to deal with cases of depression or do the women just have to tough it out. Failure to provide adequate treatment could lead to more severe cases and possibly cases of suicide.

The topic of leadership raises a significant question regarding the spirituality of Regnum Christi. It will be healthy for the women to have new leaders to govern the administrative aspects of their organization. But who will be their spiritual guides and what will it be based on? There is no escape from the fact that their founder was proven to be a false prophet. In the Book Matthew 7:15, Jesus warns us to beware of false prophets. So it is obvious that the reorganized religious movement would be foolish to choose Father Marcial Maciel’s (false prophet) teachings as a guide to devote their lives to.

If the founder, who was said by the Vatican to be immoral and whose life was devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment has been proven to be a false prophet, can there be anything from his teachings and rule that could be worthy of using as a basis for religious life? If not him, then who within the existing organization is there to step forward and become a true prophet, who could develop a unique spirituality and lead an exemplary life to be emulated by the others?

Is it reasonable for a young woman to give up everything she has in life including her sexuality, her free will and all of her money to become part of a religious group that offers little or nothing in the way of unique spirituality, inadequate provision for health insurance coverage and lack of provision for her senior years?

In recent years, the 3gf women discovered that their form of consecration was not recognized by the Roman Catholic Church even though they had been convinced over the years that the Vatican had approved everything to do with their way of life. Then they discovered that they had been deceived regarding the contents of the constitutional document that had actually been approved by the Vatican in 2004. Most of the norms and rules they had been obliged to follow had definitely not been included in the skimpy document that was approved in 2004.

In 2009, after the bombshell dropped about the fraudulent life of the founder they had idolized for so long they never skipped a beat in their recruiting and fund raising activities. There was little provision for them to mourn or to take some time out to reevaluate things or to think about the significance of what had happened. They were simply kept busy as always as if nothing had happened. When their (absolute) ruler became disgraced, there was not a new spiritual leader to replace him.

How confusing that must have been. At the time, in 2009, according to their restrictive rules and demanding schedules there was little time to think and little opportunity to openly discuss among themselves what was going on. The reform process, although painfully slow has resulted in enough positive changes that the 3gf women are now allowed to speak to each other to share their concerns and feelings and they have more access to the outside world and to their families. Now that they are being exposed to some of the horrendous truth is it any wonder that many of them are suffering from mental, physical and emotional illnesses?

Has their leadership provided adequate recognition of their situation and made adequate provision to promote healing? It is difficult to tell from the outside. However, from the information that has been provided by some of the more vocal ones of those who have left it would seem that the leaders have for the most part continued their damage control and obfuscation. The leaders have tried to soften the blow regarding their disgraced leader by emphasizing that he had a stable relationship with his women and children and deemphasized that he had more than one stable relationship at a time and that he had almost certainly over the years molested many children. Those who wished were encouraged to keep their pictures of the founder in their wallets and purses.

It was obvious from the wording of the Vatican communique in 2010 that the founder had acted deceptively and fraudulently. It is less obvious that the fraud and deception has continued after his death because the emphasis on the reform process has been focused on the immoral actions of Father Marcial Maciel and never on the current leaders even though they were selected and trained by him.

Statements made by Nieves Garcia Horcaja when she departed were quoted in the article in the Vatican Insider that provide strong evidence that there is still deception in the Legion and Regnum Christi from the existing leaders even with the Vatican overseeing them. She stated bluntly: I saw that there was a group of superiors who were not willing to seek the truth. The deception is not likely to improve after Cardinal DePaolis decides his work is done.

So, the newly elected leaders for Regnum Christi will certainly have their work cut out for them. In some ways they will have to pick themselves up by their own bootstraps to not simple replace previous leaders but to build a religious movement from square one, develop a charism, provide saintly example, develop an authentic form of consecration and make radical changes in direction all the while dealing with the chaos confusion including chronic illnesses and depression. There is another handicap that will be like a huge ball and chain impeding every step. Like a Siamese twin, Regnum Christi is joined at the hip to the Legionaries of Christ, having identical founders, charism (or lack of) and sharing the same pot of money.

We have not been hearing the party line that God is able to draw straight with crooked lines as much lately but that may be their only hope at this stage because some of the lines they are trying to draw with are badly twisted.

At ReGAIN, we support the 3gf women with our prayers and our thoughts and genuine concern. We believe that they are generally good and devout women who genuinely wish to serve God. We have no axe to grind with the women and believe they were of good character and formed in their faith before they became involved with Regnum Christi. We wish to emphasize that it is the (cult like) structure of the Legion and Regnum Christi, their hidden agendas and their manipulation and excessive control of people such as the 3gf women that motivate us to bring the truth that shall set people free. We wish for the 3gf women to ReGAIN their lost serenity that La Stampa refers to.

Former Mexican Nuncio says: The Legionaries of Christ Must Disappear

When bad men combine, the good must associate; else they will fall one by one, an unpitied sacrifice in a contemptible struggle. Edmund Burke

 

The Legion must disappear said a retired former Mexican Nuncio, Justo Mullor Garcia, according to a recent article in Milenio Click Here for Spanish article

An English translation of the same article is available at life-after-rc blog at Click Here for article in English

Archbishop Justo Mullor Garcia’s predecessor, Girolamo Prigione Pozzi held the position as nuncio for 19 years between 1978 and 1992. He had a close relationship with Father Marcial Maciel, the Legion and Regnum Christi founder and according to Mullor Garcia, he failed to notice Maciel’s behavior, even though he was the subject of allegations of sexual abuse. Justo Muller claims that during his time he removed the mask from Father Maciel by compiling and documenting information about what the Legion founder had done and submitting the information to a senior official at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in the Vatican. Unfortunately by that time it was too late

Justo Muller identified that Father Maciel could not have succeeded in his machinations (which he referred to as abominable crimes) without assistance from others. Now, he claims, Prigione Pozzi must give an account because he failed to notice what was going on for many years.

In 1997, Justo Muller’s suspicions were aroused when he heard that Father Marcial Maciel was refusing to defend himself against (credible) charges of serious moral failures. It was that same year, in February, 1997 when the Hartford Courant had made public allegations of child sexual abuse by Maciel. Justo Muller defended Pope Benedict XVI in his previous role and Pope John Paul II who were unable to act after too many years had gone by. Justo Muller did however state that Girolamo Prigione had been obliged earlier to inform the Vatican and Maciel’s actions and he did not and that no one has asked why he did not.

ReGAIN Comment:

Kudos to Archbishop Mullor for speaking out honestly, even though his remarks may draw some criticism from his peers.

We wonder how many lives might have been positively changed had others with authority spoken the truth in a timely fashion earlier. There were many people both inside the Legion and Regnum Christi and inside the Roman Catholic Church hierarchy who knew about the founder’s secret life and who could have and were obliged to speak out against what Father Maciel was doing. It is refreshing to hear someone go against the current albeit belatedly. We hope and pray that this man’s honesty will encourage others in authority to find similar courage to speak the truth so that those who still remain enslaved by the evil that is still allowed to continue might be set free.

A Cult Conference Presentation Regarding the Legionaries of Christ Religious Order

When Faith is Corrupted Into a Coercive Ideology – The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

 

By Xavier Leger

 

The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

A Presentation Regarding the Legion of Christ Religious Order at the International Cultic Studies Association’s Annual Conference in Barcelona, July 8, 2011,

By Xavier L?ger

The following presentation was one of several included in Session 2 of the recent International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference entitled:

Are there Cultic Aberrations in the Catholic Church?

 

Introduction

A Cult Conference Presentation Regarding the Legionaries of Christ Religious Order

When Faith is Corrupted Into a Coercive Ideology – The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

By Xavier Leger

When Faith is Corrupted Into a Coercive Ideology – The Driving Forces At Work In a Religious Community With Cultic Behaviors

A Presentation Regarding the Legion of Christ Religious Order at the International Cultic Studies Association’s Annual Conference in Barcelona, July 8, 2011

By Xavier Léger

The following presentation was one of several included in Session 2 of the recent International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA) Conference entitled:

Are there Cultic Aberrations in the Catholic Church?

Introduction

I would like to share with you a short extract from the famous French Novel: The Little Prince by Antoine de Saint Exupéry.

What does it mean to be ‘tame’? asked the little prince.

It is an act too often neglected, said the fox. It means to establish ties.

To establish ties?

Just that, said the fox. To me, you are still nothing more than a little boy who is just like a hundred thousand other little boys. And I have no need of you. And you, on your part, have no need of me. To you, I am nothing more than a fox like a hundred thousand other foxes. But if you tame me, then we shall need each other. To me, you will be unique in all the world. To you, I shall be unique in all the world

The fox teaches the little prince that any relationship is the result of a long period of taming. To tame, according to the fox, means to establish ties, to build relationships, to make someone become unique. In other words, it means that human relationships are built over time and that they require several steps, because we need to know each other to be able to appreciate the other. We all have this experience in our lives.

But what is true for people is also true in our relationship with God. The greatest mystics of the History of the Church have taught that the spiritual life is a journey. And so, we are traveling from one place to another. And this journey is directed towards a progressive encounter with God, which can be discovered in the Scriptures, the sacraments, the prayer and the people we meet along our journey.

The image that is often used by these mystics is the image of the bride who is looking for her beloved. God creates a desire in peoples’ hearts. He never imposes himself; otherwise it would mean that He contradicts himself, by denying the freedom He has entrusted to us. There are verbs, indeed, that do not support the imperative form. We cannot say love!, since the act of love is created, not by the strength of the will, but by the lovability of the object.

This idea ties into the very foundations of Christian anthropology which is drawn primarily from the Aristotelian philosophical tradition. It finds also many parallels in Holy Scriptures. Many exegetes have worked on this idea, showing how God created a spousal relationship with the Jewish people throughout the centuries and how the story of Revelation, during two thousand years is indeed a long pedagogy of taming.

But what is important to understand is that the biblical tradition, as well as the philosophical tradition, both show clearly that any spiritual life begins as a journey, which implies an act of freedom on the subject’s part. This journey, which is infinitely respectful, is indeed the very essence of any religious life.
But within some new groups in the Church it appears that this process of taming is totally eliminated. Now if you eliminate this stage, religious life loses its proper sense and herein lies the threat of cultic behavior. Where religious life lacks its proper driving forces, founders with guru pretensions will use other means to retain their members and to make their community grow including:

  1. a misuse of guilt to create an atmosphere of stress and coercion
  1. turning true Christian faith into an ideology

Guilt and ideology are the true main driving forces behind the cultic behaviour of fake religious groups

The First Driving Force: A Few Words About Guilt

  • In six years of life in the Legion of Christ, I never heard anything about discernment, but only about final perseverance.
  • Through conferences, retreats, homilies, teachings, they tell you again and again that God has chosen you from all eternity to accomplish this particular mission that nobody else can fulfill. If you decide not to fulfill your mission, then you are putting your eternal salvation in jeopardy.
  • Four times every day a Legionary is required to do an examination of conscience: the first one during the Morning Prayer, to remember all his personal commitments of human and spiritual personal reform. The second one occurs after the meditation, to examine his prayer. The third one is done before lunch, at noon, to examine how many sins he committed since the prior examination of conscience. And a last one is carried out during night prayers.
  • Every Sunday, he is required to do a written examination of conscience, which lasts half an hour. Let me provide examples of some of the questions taken from the handbook of this examination:
  • Have I ever serious doubts about my vocation? Are they frequent?
  • In these moments, have I sometimes thought that I had no vocation? Have I accepted this thought?
  • So, as you can see, in the Legion of Christ, the simple fact of discernment is already a sin.
  • When a religious makes a decision to leave the Legion, he must leave without saying goodbye to his fellow companions, even if he spent 20 or 30 years in the order. He leaves during a day when the community is out. When the community returns, the other members discover that brother X has disappeared. Nobody tells you officially that someone has left the order. And members are never allowed to speak about the departure of a brother.

So ? and I dare to say it, because I came through the same process when I left the Legion ? the aura of anxiety, phobia and shame that has been created around this decision to leave is so violent that you end up lying to yourself, justifying your decision by any kind of reasoning.

The Second Driving Force: Ideology

In the atmosphere of Catholic religious groups, the misuse of guilt immeasurable damage to the psychology of followers including anxiety, phobias, spiritual wounds and frustrations. These effects are more visible than others.

But guilt is only one form of coercion that is utilized by the Legion. The second driving force is the idealization of faith, acting on the will, by means of fanaticism.

Let me establish right away a fundamental distinction: the Christian faith is not exactly an ideology, but an adherence of the mind and of the heart to a person, and not to an idea. An adherence implies a sort of abandonment, of letting go.

I would like to try to show you how, in the Legion of Christ, the spirituality and the religious discipline not only do not leave any room for a personal path but even destroy the spiritual aspirations of the believers.

  • At first, I will analyze the issue of the ideology as such: how an ideology can exist inside the Catholic Church?
  • Secondly, I want to explain how the ideology is applied in the Legion centers.
  • Thirdly, I will deal with the consequences of these abuses: the impact of a destructive ideology on the spiritual life.

1- The Ideology As Such: How Can An Ideology Exist Inside The Catholic Church?

By ideology, I mean a simplistic way of thinking, which has all the answers, separating the world in two camps: The Church and the enemies of the Church. A speech without any nuance, written with a chainsaw.

In the Legion, the object of faith gets disembodied and becomes a kind of haunting ideal, which is to establish the Kingdom of Christ. Let me read some short excerpts of letters of Father Maciel, which will help you to understand what kind of literary semantics is generally used in the Legion of Christ. (There is still a debate whether the writings of Father Maciel may continue to be read. The dilemma is explained on Regnum Christi LiveClick Here that despite the weaknesses of Father Maciel, his works were miraculously good. For your information, for the moment, we know that Maciel was an abuser, perverse, a pedophile, bisexual, incestuous, a criminal, drug addict, plagiarist, intriguing, manipulative, charlatan, thief, sacrilegious and produced apostasy.

I have always dreamed the Legion that way: as a strong instrument, invincible in front of the enemies of God (CNP December 24, 1957)

There, we find the originality and the contribution of the Legion to the religious and priestly spirituality: A NEW TYPE OF MEN, of religious, of priests and apostles. The Legionary, as I have always conceived, is a man opposed to pride, avarice and lust. A man who lives polarized by the mission that the heavenly Father entrusted him: to establish the Kingdom of Christ in the world. (CNP, January 3rd, 1976)

Strangely, this kind of speech does not fit with the traditional teaching of the Christian faith. Jesus never called on people to conquer a Kingdom on earth for him. On the contrary, when people tried to make him their king, he withdrew from the crowd (Jn 6,15). When Pilate asked him about his kingdom, he replied: My kingdom is not of this world(John 18, 36). Jesus did not speak about an earthly kingdom, but about the kingdom of heaven (Mt 13, 24-43). He compares the kingdom of heaven to a tiny grain of mustard seed that grows into a huge tree, meaning that on earth, the Kingdom is only like a seed starting to germinate.

The spirituality of the Legion of Christ does not give room for any personal discernment. It is a black or white spirituality. No grey is accepted. You must accept the Legion’s version of Jesus as your Lord, and then you bow down in front of his divine will (which, of course, the Legion interprets for you).

2- How Is Ideology Applied In The Legion Centers?

Life in the Legion is an absolute, an ideal that Maciel dreamed of to make real on earth. After having laid out himself the principles of the perfect life, Maciel taught his followers that their paths to holiness consisted in living in his concept of this idyllic world. There was no room for debate or for doubts or for discernment. There was no room for critical thinking. His concept of holiness did not consist of free expression of personal will but instead a self denial that required fitting into a rigid structured way of life in the group.

The more you deny yourself, the holier you are.

But we cannot live on earth as if we were already in Heaven. In fact, this attempt to have a perfect life could actually serve as an image of Hell. The Center of Studies of Rome is the achievement of the perfect life pictured by Maciel: all is perfect. It is a world in itself, where everything is clear, nice and orderly. There is no need to go outside, since everything you need is inside: even two swimming pools, a dental practice and a gas pump. Life in the Legion is designed like the mechanism of a clock. It’s as if we were using Jacob’s ladder to build the tower of Babel.

If some day, you have a chance to visit a center of the Legion of Christ, you may be very surprised and impressed by the beauty of the place, the kindness of the members and the feeling that everything is clean and orderly.

Behind the scenes, the wonderful world is only made possible by thousands of norms and rules as well as a repressive system that encourages mutual surveillance and denouncements.

Legionaries follow a crazy rhythm of life and all their daily activities are scheduled.

They are told how to carry themselves, how to introduce themselves, how to walk, how to smile, how to greet a guest. Everything is subject to norms, that are very detailed. Thus, the legionaries are not allowed to climb the stairs two by two; they are not allowed to run with their cassocks; when they sit, they must approach the chair by the left side and leave by the right side when they stand. They are not allowed to bite into their chips; they must eat them with a fork. They may not twirl spaghetti around their forks, nor peel oranges with their fingers. There are rules that govern about almost every single action.

Daily life in the Legion of Christ is so demanding and the atmosphere of surveillance makes it difficult to develop personal human relationships between Legionaries within such a formal environment. You know quite well that the smiling brother you are speaking with during the times allotted for conversation may be the one who will denounce you if you make any mistake or even a small critique about the Legion or the superiors.

Let me tell you this little story: after the novitiate, I came to Spain for the Juniorate (Humanities). I had not seen any movie since I had entered into the Legion, two years previously. So I was very happy the day of our first movie as I am fond of cinema. But the movie was very poor and I came out disappointed. In a discussion with others religious, I told them I did not appreciate the movie. A couple of days later, I was called into the office of our superior, who accused me with an icy smile, to have criticized the choice of a superior.

In any case, Legionaries are not allowed to have particular friendships with any other members, nor to speak about personal issues with anybody else other than the Spiritual Director.
When I lived in the enormous center of Rome, surrounded by four hundred companions, I felt lost in the flock, alone, desperately alone. I joined the religious life with the dream I would establish ties: ties with God and with like minded companions. It ended up being a process of isolation that eliminated all ties with anybody, even with God.

3- The Impact Of A Destructive Ideology On The Spiritual Life.

The Legionary totalitarian system, so fascinating and seducing from outside, is nothing more than a means of crushing individual personalities and generating frustrations. The perversity of the system is evident in the fact that the more you pray the more you move away from God ? a strange contradiction that I have experienced in many testimonies.

But how is that possible? How can a religious order take you away from God?

The vision of God and of His mercy is twisted. The Legion leads its members to admit that God has a singular way-of-life for them. If so it means that, in the end, God does not really take care of me or love me for myself. In some way, I am nothing but a means to an end, a simple tool.

Our understanding of God was damaged because of that. Who is this God who wants me to suffer like that? Who is this God who wants me to pray three hours a day, while I lack sleeping, I feel bitterness and I suffer with a strong headache? (If you have a headache you are supposed to offer your suffering to God). Who is this God who wants me to follow, day after day, this dry methodology of prayer that does not seem to fit?

Prayer, a place of encountering God, becomes a place of forced love. In other words, it is a kind of rape.

And the worst thing about rape is that when it happens to a woman she struggles afterward throughout her life from a psychological wound because the act of love always reminds her of the violence of her rape.

There is something obscene about the methodology of prayer in the Legion of Christ because there is no place for any spontaneity or originality. Everything is already written in the handbook of prayers. If prayer is the place for encountering God, such a dry and accurate methodology detracts from any sense of poetry. It is as if, before making love with a woman, you would follow a handbook explaining step by step the procedures to fulfill correctly the sexual relationship. I think you would agree with me this would not be very exciting.

Conclusion

After being tamed by the little prince, the fox told a secret to the Little Prince. I would like to share this excerpt:

And he went back to meet the fox.

Goodbye, he said.

Goodbye, said the fox. And now here is my secret, a very simple secret: It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

What is essential is invisible to the eye, the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

It is the time you have wasted for your rose that makes your rose so important.

It is the time I have wasted for my rose. said the little prince, so that he would be sure to remember.

Men have forgotten this truth, said the fox. But you must not forget it. You become responsible, forever, for what you have tamed. You are responsible for your rose.

I am responsible for my rose, the little prince repeated, so that he would be sure to remember.

The secret of the fox is maybe the real solution to the issue. From the very beginning of its history, the Legion of Christ has always been able to escape and manipulate all the investigations and to defeat the immune system of the Catholic Church. Today, the Legion is certainly the most influential congregation of the Church. Legionaries are extremely present in the Vatican, and occupy some of the most important responsible positions there. Think for example about the information in the Vatican that is almost entirely controlled by the Legion of Christ.

Since 2001, every year, the Congregation for Bishops organizes a week of training for all recently ordained bishops from all over the world. And Cardinal Giovanni Battista Re wanted this training to take place in the Legionaries, Center for Higher Studies. Why? Because he wanted all the new bishops to see the example. The Legion formation system is the model that the Church puts forward: This is what we want for the Church!

How did we get to this point? Why does the Church continue to refuse to open her eyes to the very serious cultic behavior in the Legion of Christ?

An Apostolic Visitation was initiated two years ago, and we hoped that the nightmare would stop. But once again we discovered that the conclusions of this Visitation were decided upon before the visitation began. And we can prove that.

The Legion has been designed by its founder to be a machine to seduce, where nothing is done but for the show. So, if you want to understand something about the Legion, and not be dazzled by the smokescreen, take seriously the secret of the fox:

It is only with the heart that one can see rightly; what is essential is invisible to the eye.

New Prefect of Consecrated Life Expresses Concerns About Legion Authoritarianism

John Allen on his recent blog on National Catholic Register – Click Here provided some interesting comments made by Brazilian Archbishop Joao Broz de Aviz, 64, who was appointed in January as the new prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

 

When he was questioned in an interview with the prestigious Italian journal 30 Giorni, about what the scandal surrounding the founder of the Legionaries of Christ meant to him, he spoke candidly about the authoritarianism in the Legion’s structure. He said that when he was Archbishop of Brazil, he had removed seminarians from the Legion seminaries. He had noticed a lack of trust in personal freedom in the Legion structure that sought to dominate everything with discipline.

 

ReGAIN Comment:

 

The frank commentary provided by the new prefect for the Institute of Consecrated Life demonstrates some understanding of the most serious issues with the structure of the Legion and Regnum Christi. For those who have been waiting to see some signs of life in the reform process, this represents a welcome change from the new prefect’s predecessor, Cardinal Franc Rode, who had provided strong support for the Legion and Regnum Christi and for their founder.

 

ReGAIN editors share the valid concern about people using their God given free will in an environment where every aspect of one’s life is rigidly controlled in a militaristic structure that dehumanizes its members. We look forward to seeing if the new prefect will be able to influence those who are able to bring about positive changes for all of those who have been adversely affected.