PAPAL ENVY: Going for the Gold of the Petrine Office
It is impossible to ignore the escalating propaganda, the highly visible conventions, and the massive internet proliferation of activities and links, all interlaced but, ultimately leading back to the lay-run Regnum Christi Movement and the Legionaries of Christ. Even as Vatican restrictions have increased against the Legion (the member composition of which has decreased significantly over the past few years) and complaints against Regnum Christi and the Legion have accumulated, their unabashed self-promotion in every conceivable area has intensified.
And what unusual activities they are promoting these days! Aside from hosting win-them-over galas for bishops and wealthy celebrities, holding conferences sponsored by Regnum Christi members (that spotlight their own speakers), and acquiring multi-million dollar retreat houses in strategic locations, the Legion’s recent public activities are out of the usual range of the Church’s concerns (i.e., faith, morals, sacraments). Yet, ecclesial or not, the most of the enterprises paraded on the internet and promoted in brochures benefit from their tax-exempt status and the authority bestowed on them by inclusion in the Official Catholic Directory.
There are so many eclectic and secular affiliates of the Legion – including the Lumen Institute, the Integer Group, Sportsleader, Natural Family Planning through the
new (but not improved) Couple to Couple League, National Educational Consultants (made up of one man and his 5 support secretaries), toddler and youth groups (i.e., K4J, YTM, Conquest and Challenge), art sales and shows, private schools, home school organizations, media, movie-productions, and fashion shows.
It is truly amazing how many projects can be launched simultaneously. But who, in reality, runs them? The same Legionary names appear on boards, brochures and tax forms of unrelated activities. The same priests move about from event to event. Their double-breasted black suits are universally visible at events related to fields in which they have a vested interest. Similarly the same names of leaders among Regnum Christi lay-events are as common as the words
Made in China are upon everyday goods of the USA. The words
integral are echoed throughout their myriad enterprises as if they were code words. But are these projects really as good and Catholic as they are touted to be, or are they just painted pigs and ponies for its benefactors and associates to ride on the Legion’s merry-go-round?
How can anyone keep current with so many organizations being repackaged renamed? It is a marketing circus featuring a three-ring show constantly before the public eye, and more than a few ringmasters and magicians perform simultaneously. The Legion makes its own news and reports itself in its many publications and media connections, including Zenit and National Catholic Register. It constantly moves along the necessary stories about itself, whether true or untrue, to keep the spotlight on itself.
Indeed, the Legion, with all its works and pomps, looks very impressive on the internet, in the brochures, and by its advertising. It looks good at the extravagant gala-and-religion events the Legion holds in Rome and elsewhere to impress the bishops, clergy, and wealthy lay leaders. Most appealing of all, the Legion looks very good through the grateful eyes of its targeted benefactors who in turn may find themselves the recipients of extravagant gifts: townhouses, luxury cars, banks, VIP trips, and tours.
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Those who know the reality from the inside are aware that, despite their well-educated smiles, Legionary brothers have nothing, not even health insurance or dental care, and they have nothing when they are dismissed or choose to leave. There are few who have the mind or will to leave on their own initiative; most are told that they have no vocation and should go get married. The Legionary priests as well as the seminarians leave in large numbers, even though this is officially kept quiet. If some health issue does not hasten their earlier departure, the seminarians vanish after about nine and a half years, since ten years marks the amount of time, canonically, that the Legion can avoid having to take financial responsibility for the seminarians’ well-being. Once outside, life is very bleak. Gone are previous friends, familiar family circles, life anchors, and landmarks. The men have no money, no purpose and no place to be; their faith is frequently shredded and their health damaged. They have no degree, no job training and no recommendations. Nor do they receive financial assistance from the Legion when they leave, even though they may have gleaned scores of new recruits and gained millions of dollars for the organization. The door is shut on these men and their history is rewritten, as if they had never existed.
In the face of such wide-spread betrayal and disappointment among former members and supporters, why cannot this travesty be exposed? How can this pirate ship stay afloat legally as well as ecclesiastically? The answer is simple: because they do not look like a pirate ship. Instead, their vessels are painted up and the hands decked out to look like the ships sailing with fleet of St. Peter. The Legion’s true ruse de guerre is to appear legitimate and avoid detection of their predatory intent. The Legion controls a large part of the secular and religious media. They can always find a new poster face – beautiful, young and winsome – to feature in the brochures. Prior to the founder, Marciel Maciel, being exposed for pedophilia, he was the living saint who was always in the spotlight. Since his death in January, 2008, the focus has shifted to a spectacular showcasing of the myriad works and countless apostolates of the Legion and Regnum Christi. It does not matter that many are mere storefronts; the perception of the public eye is that the Legion dominates the Catholic world. Behind everything that is done, however seemingly disconnected, there is a single strategic plan: to control Catholic education, media and public opinion. In doing so, the Legion and Regnum Christi can arrogate to themselves the voice of the legitimate authority of the Church.
This unholy ambition is little known to the rank-and-file Legionaries, less to the Regnum Christi members, and not at all to the Church hierarchy or the laity. Fr. Luis Garza, L.C., Fr. Evarista Sada, L.C., Fr. JosE Ortega, L.C., Fr. Anthony Bailleres, L.C. – these are the
ring-masters who govern the whole show. The other Territorial Directors, including Fr. Alvero Corcuera, are only their puppets. Joined by the wealthiest man in the world, Carlos Slim, who has promised to build fifty universities for the Legion, the real bosses of the Legion have their business origins and financial interests with other interconnected families that are concentrated in and around Monterrey, Mexico. However, Monterrey is not the only source; there is a network of global centers. Moscow has more billionaires than any city in the world, and the Legion is building its network there. In the seminaries, Chinese is being taught, which will help with the establishment of a Far East market. The Jerusalem Center is strategically situated in the oil-rich Middle East.
The boast of the Legion has always been,
We’re going to take over the Church. It is well on its way to accomplishing this goal. The Legion has taken over good ideas, good will, and good people – and we must not forget
good money – and turned them all to serve its own ends. One thing is certain: the Legion’s mission is to serve itself. Its constant purpose is to make money, to recruit, to spread influence, to take over existing organizations, and to polish up its public image.
There is a towering arrogance behind the Legion’s concerted efforts to identify with the Church and to become its leading authority, or perhaps to fool people into believing that this is so. Another word for
soldier of fortune. The concept of soldiers of fortune fits the Legionaries very accurately. The army of the Legion and its lay organization, Regnum Christi, are always seeking fortunes. Their apostolates are required (by Legionary central command) to show a profit; those which fail to do so are dropped.
The apostolic enterprises have a triple purpose: to recruit, to improve their overall public image, and to fill the Legion’s coffers with hundreds of millions of dollars in tax-exempt donations, which get passed around in circular giving in order to benefit a whole string of otherwise incongruous LC/RC enterprises. This amazingly effective propaganda machine takes any subject matter or fad of the moment, reworks it to their satisfaction, renames it and sets it spinning on the internet as a
new apostolate. The whole new enterprise can be run by one or two people, or possibly none, since many of the apostolates are merely storefront operations. It is a vast web, reaching the ends of the globe and successfully shaping public perception. Furthered by massive advertising and appearances on the internet, the false illusion is being created that the Legion is the highest authority on every aspect of modern life in the Church and in the World.
If the Grand Prize for the Legion is control of the Papacy, then these seemingly unrelated activities make sense, like bells swinging together in a single tower. If the Legion and their affiliates intends to set itself up in public opinion as the New Vatican, it must undermine, out-shout, or spin to their advantage Pope Benedict XVI’s every message, even while toadying up to him, even as it did to Pope John Paul II. This is exactly what has been done, and a constant whisper campaign goes around to this effect:
Pope Benedict just does not understand the Legion as well as the saintly Pope John Paul, but that can be corrected with a future pope. We’ll be patient.
The Legion has extensive secret files on its priests and seminarians, including their families. Files are kept on Regnum Christi members, both the consecrated women and lay members as well. The rival North American College in Rome trains top academic seminarians sent there from dioceses all over the USA; the Legion keeps secret files on these seminarians, too. Sometimes, NAC men are persuaded to join the Legion, but more often they are simply tagged for the future. These impressive young men who are studying for the priesthood and are the same age as the Legionary brothers will one day have parishes of their own. If these future diocesan priests can be
won-over while they are in Rome, they will become useful to the Legion in a few years. The parish to which a diocesan priest is assigned will provide a portal through which the Legionaries can enter a diocese without the bishop’s official permission. A Regnum Christi program such as K4J, Challenge, Pure Fashion, or Familia needs only the approval of the parish pastor; such programs then begin to take away support and money that would otherwise go to the parish. Incidentally, diocesan priests can also be members of Regnum Christi, and the Legion is fishing for their talent and support. (Sacrados is a magazine for priests published by the Legion and epriest is a website for parish priests, but both present the Legion in the best possible PR spotlight).
It is the intention that is corrupt, not the Catholic message or setting that is wrong. The treachery lies in using good for self-serving ends. It is wrong to hold a hidden agenda of recruiting to the Legion or Regnum Christi through the publication, retreat, or institute. It is fraudulent to reach out to diocesan priests, who are too often isolated, in order to use their parishioners for recruiting. Most alarming, however, are the Legion’s secret global files on the Catholic hierarchy, leading politicians, cultural leaders, top businessmen, and wealthy philanthropists. Totalitarian governments and the mafia are known keep similar files stored to be exploited as needed. Throughout history, blackmail and bribery have ever been effective tools of manipulation. It is not unreasonable to assume that men of the hierarchy who are compromised would make easy targets for such despicable practices. Those who cannot be persuaded to support the Legion by bribery will knuckle before the threat of blackmail.
The Legion’s vast enterprise is like a maniac with a microphone standing before the faÃ§ade of Jesus and His apostles atop St. Peter’s and shouting to the crowds below:
All this belongs to ME! All of it is MINE! Like a carnival barker who invites all to
step right up, the Legionary’s PR voice incessantly proclaims that the Legion is:
- The voice of Catholic parenting, surpassing legitimate parents
- The voice of Catholic psychology
- The voice of Catholic tradition and conservatism
- The voice of Catholic media
- The voice of Catholic education, at all levels
- The voice of Catholic radio
- The voice of Catholic women
- The voice of Children’s programs and youth activities
- The voice of Catholic sexual ethics and bioethics
- The voice of Catholic married couple’s support in NFP
- The voice of Catholic pro-life
- The voice of Catholic TV and media
- The voice of Catholic exorcist training
- The voice of Catholic environmentalism
- The voice of Catholic home schooling
- The voice of Catholic scientific endeavor
- The voice of Catholic culture
- The voice of Catholic taste and fashion
Above all others,
We’re number one! We’re the BEST! And so the self-serving madman shouts down to the people below that the Legion is:
- The global formator of priests, including reformation of diocesan priests
- The international formator of lay men and women
- The wise adviser to other religious orders and to Church leaders
- The Pope’s most trusted advisor on all matters
- The foremost provider of support and retreat centers for priests
- The leader in world culture and art
- The leading consultant of educators
- The founder of the best schools, worldwide
- The standard for good manners and etiquette in public events
- The main provider of Roman hospitality for bishops and cardinals
- The leading outreach to global initiatives in many countries
- The most influential Catholic publisher
- The leader of Catholic writing
- The most ecumenically-minded on the world stage
- The most athletic and confident of manly men
- The intellectual authority on scientific developments
- The supernatural authority on Marian apparitions
- The most effective of exorcists
- The best giver of advice on childrearing
- The dominant presence in missionary ventures
- The creator of teen-age fashion and manners
- The creator of the most popular movies
- The developer of educational curricula
This is neither a whimsical nor casual list. Astounding as it may seem, all have detectible ties to the Legion and their affiliates. The Legion seeks to co-opt not only leadership in religious life but also most areas of secular life as well. The resulting conglomerate gives the powerful and rich Regnum Christi businessmen a competitive edge through networking and tax-shelters, as their various
apostolates grow into monopolies, eliminating all rivals in their concentrated areas of activity and enterprise:
- Banks, micro-lending, stocks, and investments
- Real estate and mortgage industry
- Political events and elections
- Credit cards
- Internet companies
- Sports at all levels
- Media and filmmaking
- Global communications, internet, data, and cyber-business
The Legion does not showcase its many connections, and faithful Catholics do not see the Legion’s increasing coups in high and low places. With the help of their business affiliates and Regnum Christi connections, the Legion appropriates any good idea, initiative or thing, repackages it and sells it under their own name-brand label.? Hundreds of millions of dollars are pumped into this vast marketing, advertising, and PR effort. In this noisy and vulgar shell-game, few can follow the slight-of-hand.
How many of those who have invested in the Legion have also risen financially by the LC/RC network of tax-exempt circular giving? It is impossible to say, but more than a few score of the NYC-DC-Naples-Dallas-Houston-Atlanta set must be laughing at how their membership among the elite in the Movement has become an opportunity for them to do splendidly for themselves and to gain all kinds of profit while supporting the Legion – simultaneously kindling candles for God and for the Devil.
Everyone wants to back what looks like a winning and successful endeavor, and the Legion certainly portrays itself in this golden light. Many have been and continue to be dazzled by the glow of Legionary fool’s gold. The reality, however, translates into something quite different – disappointment, sadness, anger, betrayal, and regret. These are the real fruits of the Legion and Regnum Christi: loss of legitimate Church authority, loss of family, and loss of community. The list of losses is long: lost children, trust, faith, fortunes, purpose, lives, opportunities, vocations, and time – all lost. Massive confusion reigns where once a clear-eyed, young Legionary novice stood, proud to be in training for the priesthood and eager to serve God. It is no wonder that so many who leave have a crisis of faith; some become permanently disaffected from the Church.
What knowing Catholic can in good conscience endorse the
new slavery that makes this empire possible? The slaves are not just the diminishing ranks of Legionary priests who trustingly obey those in higher command. There is a much larger and highly mobile army of athletic, handsome, well-mannered, young LC seminarians who dress exactly like priests, and sometimes are instructed to call themselves
Padre, when priests are scarce. The grunt-work of their operations run in large part because of mandatory volunteer service (i.e., co-workers and
giving a yearâ€¦or ten). These co-workers are always very young, college-age youths – old enough to be considered legal adults, however – who are sent to South America, Central America, Europe, or the Middle East. Once out of the USA with its protective laws, these young people can unwittingly further business connections, even as they give a living promotion of the LC/RC kingdom. In this way, the Regnum Christi has a self-perpetuating pool made up of very low-wage, dedicated workers who become dependent on the Movement for their livelihood and future, but who are poor enough that they can be removed with prejudice and without repercussions.
The Legion has been called a parallel church, and so it is. But it is more accurately a fifth column, a group of people which clandestinely undermines a larger group to which loyalty is expected. What is the solution for all this? Simply: the fifth column that the Legion has erected within the Church and in the Free World needs to come down. No free republic, no Christian community needs this kind of exploitation and misery masquerading as good. How can the Church remain faithful or the republic remain free if both are controlled by a tax-exempt monopoly that has billions of dollars at the disposal of a multi-faceted and enormous financial empire which is both corrupt and dangerous?
What a nightmare for the courts lies ahead! Will the faithful-in-the-pews be required to pay, as happens in the corporate world, as with the demise of companies such as Enron? Or will the Church be held responsible for the Legion’s illicit practices, as it has been for the predatory practices of pedophile priests? Will the Church be seen as complicit, since the Legion’s priests are now receiving official diocesan assignments and are running retreats for diocesan priests? Their organizations are listed on numerous parish websites and bulletins, as well as in national directories, including the Official Catholic Directory. All endorse the LC/RC apostolates and schools as reliably Catholic. What happens when the entire outfit is exposed for the lie that it is and people start asking, as they will:
Why didn’t the bishop protect my son/daughter from getting sucked into this? Will the USCCB continue to state, as it has in the past, that bishops have no authority over the Legion?
Maciel is dead. His underling bosses who run the Legion should not have authority over the faithful; they should be put in jail. And all those bewildered, faithful LC/RC supporters, who do not have a clue about the real nature of the outfit they have been supporting, should be led back into the True Church – not away from it by the Legionary imposter. They can continue their good works, but their support for Regnum Christi, by any name, must cease and desist. Many captive hearts need to be ransomed.
The only thing that should be in the heart or on the roof of St. Peter’s is the figure of Christ and His apostles, not a rapacious pirate hiding behind the Savior’s banner or attempting to raise that standard, as if it were of the Legion’s own making.