For a member of the Legion of Christ, the world is split into two groups of people.
insiders; (Legionaries) and
outsiders; (everybody else, including family, friends, bishops, any non-Legionary persons, regardless of background and involvement in the Church).
To the greatest extent possible, every encounter with an
outsider; must have a positive outcome for the Legion, usually:
a) Recruitment to the Legion / Regnum Christi
b) A source of financial income.
c) A positive supporter in the Church and community.
Thus one is always thinking of how to best lead that person to greater involvement with, or acceptance of, the Legion. Moreover, that person’s value is in direct proportion to their ability to advance the Legion, in whatever way may be useful – vocation, money, further contacts, or simply to maintain
good relations; and avoid any difficulties, and, finally, to inoculate such as a person regarding those who oppose the Legion for being
cult-like.; No time is to be wasted on former friends, family members, etc., if it does not involve the above outcomes.
A Legionary is directed to
appear normal; to whenever possible, and to avoid going into exact details about rules and ‘norms’ controlling behavior. Few people, meeting a Legionary priest or brother, would even begin to imagine the degree to which a Legionaries lifestyle, actions, and behaviors are governed to the minutest detail. Such topics be touched upon only with highly
integrated; persons, as needed.
The Legion’s information page
explained; in the simplest way by analogy without going into exact, precise details if backed into answering. When dealing with a Legionary, unless you already know the answers, you are hardly likely to even begin to guess at what the proper questions are that could be asked (especially as a candidate). Some rules and norms may not be given until after first profession.
As the Legion grows in size and attention (it avoids publicity, unless it can maintain full control over its
image;), it has slowly become unable to keep things hidden. Things that an ordinary person would – to put it simply – question or find unreasonable, for example, seeing only 6 movies a year, or being unable to attend the wedding of a sibling (unless ordained and working in the city the wedding is being held), or their funeral, if you happen to be out of the country. The extensive list goes on, but the Legion is very reluctant to mention these rules publicly or to respond to inquiries. Instead they wish to emphasize their active and dynamic apostolates, while downplaying what at best could be called a highly isolated and (charitably called) contemplative lifestyle, and at worst a cult-like level of control over members.
Legionary Facts Web Page
A web page, like the Legion, can be very fluid and constantly changing. The following was written based upon the web page as it existed a few months ago. The more recent updates (in late 2004 ) will be addressed further on.
The web page
ENTER HERE for information explaining the makeup and methodology of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement as well as responses to criticisms and misrepresentations of them.
. . . This site exists to help dispel misunderstandings about the Legion and the Movement.
. . . For answers to a number of questions that have been raised about them, click here.
And the answer section notes that:
When people meet something new in the Church like the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, naturally they have questions. Some of the questions answered below are asked frequently; others arise only occasionally, but we offer the answers so they are easily accessible as needed.
Do they offer the answers? Let’s see. . .
Propaganda Regarding the Private Vows
The following question and answer taken from the (original) web page will be analyzed here to demonstrate the typical Legion approach when they
offer the answers::
10) Is it true that Legionaries vow never to speak against the Legion?
Legionaries, like brothers in any family, defend each other, encourage each other and look out for each other. They try to live out Christ’s teachings.
Above, you have a typical answer at best — misleading, uninformative, very incomplete. Some think it is a big fat, intentional lie of omission. Notice that it does not answer the vow question at all and sidesteps it, nor is there any indication of how far the
looking out for each other can or should go. What specific teaching of Christ would not permit a criticism of the Legion?
The following is a correct, informative, brief yet complete answer by this author. Please compare it with the above. It identifies the vow, gives the text, and a brief commentary.None of the following information was provided in the Legion’s original answer:
Yes, Legionaries do take a private vow never to criticize the acts of government of one’s superiors or the superior himself. The vow is as follows:
I, (Name), promise and vow never to criticize any act of governance of the superior, nor his person, and to inform the superior if I am aware that anyone has broken this promise.
If an individual has concerns about a decision of his superior (including, for example, what team one is assigned to for recreation), he should address it with either the superior in person, or with the superior of that person. That is, go to your boss’s boss.
Very different than the Legion’s answer! Two points are to be noted: 1) Because the vow covers all actions of governance by one’s superiors, it thus encompasses almost every aspect of the Legion and Legionary lifestyle. Thus it is equivalent to vow to never criticize the Legion.
2) There is a
squeal clause binding one by vow to report any occurrence of such criticism. More on this important clause later.
In addition to the vow, inside the Legion there is continual exortation of the members to love the Legion as their mother, as a perfect gift from God to them, to such a degree that the thought of criticizing the Legion becomes completely abhorrent and scarcely imaginable. Legionary
family; business, including norms, lifestyle, etc. is not to be discussed with
outsiders.; Finally, some members of Regnum Christi, and even non-members, such as teachers employed by the Legion, have been required to make similar promises.
This is not a full analysis of the vow. Yet this simple example demonstrates the types of misinformation, omissions and propaganda that you will never learn from an individual inside the Legion if there is anything wrong or that he does not like that he can discuss. Cult flags waving?
Update – Response to the new
Legionary Facts; Answer
The Legion (dare one assume in response to this article and other efforts of REGAIN to expose their tactics to the light of Truth?) has updated their web page with an explanation by Fr. Maciel himself, along with a commentary, partially quoted here (underlining added). See http://www.legionaryfacts.org/legionaryvows.html
In the book-length interview
Christ is my Life,; Fr. Marcial Maciel explains the scope and the meaning of these two special vows of the Legion of Christ:
61. You mentioned
our own vows,; specific to the congregation. Are they secret?
No, not secret at all. Legionaries take them when they take the vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience that are more usual in congregations and orders. Besides these three vows we have a vow of charity and a vow of humility. The vow of charity is meant to safeguard and respect to the maximum our brothers in the congregation – especially our superiors – in our words and attitudes. With this vow a religious commits himself not to criticize a superior’s actions in front of someone who is not in a position to resolve a given problem or conflict. But he is invited, if he thinks it appropriate, to express his views about a superior’s governance to those who can fix the problem. Of course, the right person is not the receptionist, the telephone operator, the cook, or his fellow seminarian. Why not? Because they can’t fix a thing, and the only result is to encourage intrigue, uncharity, and the destruction of the congregation’s spirit of unity.
I want to clarify that this does not encroach on one’s freedom of expression, but rather channels it. Anyone can freely express his problems or point of view about the actions or decisions of a given superior in the event he thinks these are mistaken, but he will not do so with those who are not in a position to remedy the situation, only with those who have authority over the superior to correct the problem. We only ask that the criticism not be made in the presence of those who are powerless to resolve possible conflicts. In this way we foster the spirit of charity and unity among our religious, which is the very backbone of our spirituality, and hence we call it the vow of charity. It also helps us eradicate slander, and on the positive side it promotes the habit of always speaking well of others – focusing on their qualities, gifts, and virtues, disregarding if necessary their defects or errors, and creating for them an atmosphere of appreciation and welcome.
While certainly more informative and complete compared to the original answer, (at least this time they acknowledges that the vows really do exist!) this answer still remains problematic to say the least.
1) Still no text of the vow is given. One might wonder,
Why?; It would appear to be that they are still unwilling to admit the existence of the
squeal clause; – vowing to inform the superior if one is aware that anyone has broken this vow. One might in turn very well question: Did Father Luigi Ciappi, OP, receive the complete version of the vow?
If this component was added later, was it reviewed by any competent authority outside the Legion*#63;
Other than their claims, is there any real proof Pope John XXIII knew of them?
2) Secret vows. The vows are
private; vows, unique to the congregation, as opposed to the public vows of all religious in the Church – poverty, chastity, obedience. Notwithstanding Maciel’s misleading assertion,
No not secret at all,; they were always secret. Apparently LC policy regarding their secrecy may have recently changed. In the past, everyone taking them was told not to share or discuss them with outsiders, including their family members in attendance at professions. Every present and former Legionary knows this (with the possible exception of those entering in the last few years). Even if now, after so many have begun expose the Legion’s inner secrets, the Legion no longer treats them as secret, it is very misleading of Maciel to dismiss the question with a
No, not secret at all; and fail to mention that for many years, yes, they were very secret. As mentioned above, still no text of the vow is provided, and the
squeal clause; is similarly not mentioned anywhere.
Thus, as far as
Legionary Motivations to Reveal Information
Why such a change in attitude by the Legion if the secret, private vows are now able to be discussed in public? A better question is, what motivates the Legion to share information about itself?
Many things, major and minor are kept secret. Upon arrival in Rome we were told
Do not tell anyone or mention in your letters home, of the existence of the indoor pool.; Visitors to the center were normally not allowed to see it, or know about it if given a tour. After all, people
might not understand.; Who gave this directive? Alvaro Corcuera, the present General Director, at that time rector of the new house of studies in Rome.
Anytime the LC fears that information will not be accepted positively and enthusiastically, it is not shared. The Legion shares information openly only when it is forced to by circumstances or can gain an advantage by doing so. The following are the primary motivations that the Legion has (especially now since they are aware of the major public relations challenges that ReGAIN, former members, curious reporters and an increasingly less gullible public are raising) for revealing information now
1) The cat is out of the bag. Frankly, thanks to the rapidly growing number of former members, people in general (apparently in Mexico especially) know about the vows, so their existence cannot be denied. Similarly, with the development of the Regnum Christi movement. The existence of RC consecrated members was a secret for many years (at least in the United States, members were told not to mention their existence), but that particular secret has been out for a number of years now.
2) To the degree that a person is
integrated; (believing in, trusting, accepting of the Legion) information will be shared.
3) To entice and appeal to the pride of someone the Legion is cultivating,
the inside scoop; will be shared. But by no means will it be the full and complete truth, just a calculated manipulation of the person’s ego.
As this original article stated,
Questions about such topics are to be completely avoided by the Legionary if possible, then downplayed if avoidance fails, then ‘explained’ in the simplest way by analogy without going into exact, precise details if backed into answering.; And the
new; (and still incomplete) responses on http://www.legionaryfacts.org confirm the accuracy of that statement.
One can only hope their next
update; will include the squeal clause and the actual text of the vows? Anyone care to make a bet?