A few positive -but for the most part superficial- recent changes have brought hope to some Catholics that the Apostolic Delegate presently reforming the Regnum Christi Movement is going to make everything right. Is such hope justified? It behooves us to stop and think before staking everything we have including our free will, spiritual, mental, physical and financial health on this optimistic view. During a genuine period of discernment future, and even present, members should carefully and realistically consider the cold hard facts regarding the pros and cons of such a commitment. Such discernment is preferably carried out in an environment completely detached from the current stressful situation, with guidance from an unbiased (i.e. non Legionary or Regnum Christi) and qualified spiritual director. If that is not possible, it could prove helpful to analyze the following questionnaire in private, examine one’s resulting inner thoughts & feelings, and consult with an unbiased knowledgeable person if/as needed.
On the surface the consecrated Regnum Christi women have made much better progress than the Legion. They have been provided with some limited autonomy and new leaders. Because of the dramatic events that have happened over the last few years, it is important to spend some time reflecting on how this affects my life and whether I wish to continue the commitment that I made before I was aware of all the facts that I am now aware of.
The following are sample questions that are designed to assist consecrated women examine their inner feelings to assist them to discern whether they wish to fully embrace the reform process and continue to dedicate their lives to live out their commitment indefinitely. ReGAIN suggests that current consecrated members carefully consider the following questions, answering them honestly according to their inner feelings and then sharing any thoughts or concerns that come to mind confidentially with someone.
Questions For Consideration
1. Has my critical thinking ability been compromised by the structure and rules that I have lived by? Why is critical judgment important?
2. Did I understand everything about the founder, the rules, the charism and other important details before I made my commitment or was I pressured in any way to commit myself before I was really ready? Was it truly a free will decision on my part?
3. Was I misinformed or deceived in any way before or after I committed my life in a major way?
4. Have I been adequately informed about significant issues regarding the Legion, Regnum Christi and their founder in a timely manner? When did the current Legionary leaders become aware of the secret life of the founder and when did my superior inform me? Do I have the right to know about what is going on, even when the facts are difficult to accept?
5. Is my
consecrated? state fully recognized by the Church and does the Church truly consider me to be a
bride of Christ?, equivalent to a religious sister or a consecrated virgin? What was I told before I made my private promises? How do I feel about any discrepancy between what I was told and what has been revealed about my consecrated life?
6. Have I been adequately covered by medical insurance in case something happens to me?
7. Do I have a clear understanding of what is the common charism for the Legion and Regnum Christi? If not, why is it still such a mystery after so many years of existence? Why is it important to have a charism?
8. In what unique ways do the Legion and Regnum Christi serve God and the Church and people?
9. Am I overly dependent financially or in other ways upon Regnum Christi for my survival?
10. What provisions are in place for my security when I am no longer able to be productive in my Regnum Christi life?
11. Am I satisfied with the scope of the reform process? How are the changes in the constitutions likely to affect my life?
12. What changes would I like most to see in our way of life? Are these changes being considered as part of the reform process?
13. Am I fully developing my talents and abilities and being challenged to grow?
14. Do I have adequate control over the most important circumstances to do with my own life or am I required to place too much trust in others?
15. How does recruiting more members for the Legion and Regnum Christi differ from evangelizing?
16. Is it valid to utilize overly aggressive recruitment tactics on young people? Is it valid to use overly aggressive recruitment tactics on anyone or should we wait for the Holy Spirit to call a person to his or her vocation?
17. At what age and in what ways do women outside of Regnum Christi discern whether or not they have a vocation to religious life from God?
18. How do I feel personally about â€œforcingâ€� or â€œcapturingâ€� vocations?
19. Do the
ends justify the means? if someone is â€œassistedâ€� to agree to make solemn promises of commitment to religious life? Is it valid at times to override honest and open communication?
20. Except for apologizing for what their founder did to people, have the Legion superiors admitted to any wrong doing or expressed remorse for anything they have done personally? For example, have they publicly apologized for denouncing sexual abuse victims as liars? What do I think they could have done or should do in future? Have they shown Christian example?
21. In what ways do the current Legion leaders exhibit Christ-like qualities? Do I look up to them as spiritual leaders? In what ways do I wish to emulate them?
22. Have the Legion superiors shown genuine concern for victims of sexual abuse by the founder or other Legionary priests and have they expressed remorse and offered atonement according to Christian principals?
23. Why did 30 Regnum Christi women including their top director leave? Am I satisfied with the timeliness of being advised about this and with the reasons provided by my superiors?
24. The May 1, 2010 Vatican communique identified things about Father Maciel, including that his life was
devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment?. How has my own life been personally affected by the founder’s lack of morals and spirituality?
25. Is the focus of the Legion and Regnum Christi more about spirituality or money and recruiting?
26. What training did my spiritual directors have to qualify them to guide my spiritual life?
27. When I revealed intimate details about my life to my spiritual director was such personal information kept confidential? If not, was I advised in advance that my life secrets could be shared with others in ways that could damage me in any way?
28. Have I been adequately informed about the testimonies of psychological abuses endured by former Rhode Island pre-candidacy students that resulted in eating disorders, stress-induced ailments and depression in their blog at: http://www.49weeks.blogspot.ca/
29. Have I read any of their testimonies? Do I believe them?
30. How do I think the Regnum Christi superiors will respond to these former students who have shared their testimonies of their suffering and emotional and other damage from living according to the Regnum Christi consecrated life rules and norms during their teenage years?
31. Am I aware of any current or former Regnum Christi consecrated members who have expressed complaints of a nature similar to those of the former Immaculate Conception School?
32. When a consecrated woman discerns that she wishes to leave Regnum Christi, is she provided with any financial assistance if she needs it? If not, how does she manage to get a new start unless her family members are willing to support her?
33. Am I aware that the sufferings expressed by the 49weeksblog women are similar to those made by former members of typical cult groups who have been exposed to mind control?
34. Have the concerns regarding spiritual, emotional, psychological and other abuse issues been recognized by the Legionary superiors or by the Vatican hierarchy and have they been included in the reform process? Why or why not?
35. If these important issues are not even on the radar during the reform process, when is it likely that they will be recognized and addressed?
36. Is it valid scripturally to believe that if our good works outweigh our bad works then we are justified in God’s eyes? Where is this mentioned in scriptures?
37. Is it valid scripturally to believe that
God is able to draw straight with crooked lines? Where is this mentioned in scriptures?
38. Will Regnum Christi always share the same charism (purpose) as the Legion and if so how does that make me feel?
39. Is Regnum Christi ever likely to have financial independence from the Legion or will the leaders in the Legion (all males) continue to have all the power and control over the money?
40. Has any of the Legionary or Regnum Christi spirituality come from anyone else other than the founder? Where and from whom did our unique spirituality come from?
41. How do I really feel about having a founder who was referred to as a
false prophet? by Pope Benedict and as being devoid of scruple and of genuine religious sentiment?
42. What did Our Lord have to say about false prophets?
43. Do I really believe that the Holy Spirit worked through such a person?
44. Have the Legionary top superiors shown genuine enthusiasm for correcting any wrongs that I am aware of in our spiritual life and in our methodology or have they simply expressed a willingness to do what the Church forces them to do? Am I satisfied with their attitude?
45. Do I question whether some of the Legion leaders were complicit in any way with the secret life of the founder?
46. Do I understand the reasons why the Church has decided not to investigate whether any of the leaders supported Father Maciel in his secret life? Can I trust the explanation given by the leaders?
47. Regarding the overall history of the Legion, Regnum Christi and the founder, has the Church had a good record of dealing with irregularities to date?
48. In my inner being do I trust that the Apostolic Delegate is protecting my interests? If so, what has he done to date to earn such trust and do you think he has gone far enough?
49. Why was I not allowed to have particular friends until recently in Regnum Christi? Why was this changed?
50. Before 2009, was I given adequate time to spend time with my family, outside friends and loved ones outside of my Regnum Christi life or did I feel isolated from them or alienated from them in any way?
51. Considering the negative events of the past few years, are the Legion and Regnum Christi financially stable? Are they showing signs of financial problems, e.g. by selling off properties? How could my life be affected if the Legion and Regnum Christi were to fail financially? Do I have a
52. Does the Apostolic Delegate shown as much concern about the consecrated women in Regnum Christi as he has for the Legionary priests?
53. Does the Catholic Church in general show equal concern for men and women?
54. Am I aware that the Leadership of Conference of Women Religious (LCWR), who represent about 80 % of Roman Catholic religious sisters are having serious problems regarding communication and negotiation of issues affecting their lives?
55. Are the Legionary superiors acting in any noticeably different manner now that the Vatican Delegate is visibly present? If so, do I think they will act differently once the revision of the constitutions has been completed and the Delegate is no longer involved?
56. Compared to priestly vocations, which are highly valued how concerned are the Vatican hierarchy members about the numbers of privately consecrated women and the issues they are facing?
57. Would I like to see Regnum Christi completely separated from the Legion, with our own charism, spirituality, methodology and structure? Why?
58. If I had known what I know now when I first became a Regnum Christi member would I still have agreed to commit my life to support the Legion?
59. If I suddenly were to leave Regnum Christi voluntarily or otherwise what would I like to do with my life?
60. Is there anyone outside of the Legion or Regnum Christi that I could count on to help me if I needed help? Have I spoken to this person or these persons about my concerns?