Why are the Legion and Regnum Christi still considered groups of interest by cult experts, when the Vatican has provided a commissioner to oversee a reform process?
ReGAIN editors have sincerely been hoping that the reform would be successful but have concluded that to date as the reform process is coming to an end of its three year term that there has not yet been significant change considering the degree of dependency that exists, particularly for the consecrated 3rd degree (3gf) women.
In an article written by ICSA executive director Michael Langone, PhD, on the topic of thought reform entitled
Deception Dependency and Dread
Click Here the author states that:
contemporary cultic groups induce dependent states to gain control over recruits and employ psychological (sometimes physical) punishment (dread) to maintain control. The process, in my view, can be briefly described by a modified 'DDD syndrome': deception, dependency, and dread.
Dr. Langone demonstrates how typical cult groups use methods that strengthen members' growing dependency by threatening or inflicting punishment, usually in the form of psychological or even metaphysical (i.e. highly abstract or difficult to understand).
Cult and mind control expert Steve Hassan on his website
Freedom of Mind Click Here discusses the relation between destructive mind control and dependency as follows:
It is important to understand that destructive mind control can be determined when the overall effect of these four components promotes dependency and obedience to some leader or cause. It is not necessary for every single item on the list to be present. Mind controlled cult members can live in their own apartments, have nine-to-five jobs, be married with children, and still be unable to think for themselves and act independently.
We can apply the above expert opinions regarding the significance of dependency as one means of analyzing the effectiveness of the reform process to date, keeping in mind that it is only one albeit a very important indicator.
Progress To Date
Based on an article ReGAIN published several years ago, Click Here with a Vatican Commissioner looking over peoples' shoulders, there have been some improvements for the Regnum Christi consecrated women. The consecrated women are no longer obliged to listen to endless taped messages of their founder. There is reduced isolation from family members and outside friends. Information from the outside world is more freely accessible. The
secret solemn promisesthat were required to be made at the consecration ceremony are no longer mandatory. The women are finally allowed to have particular friends.
On a positive note for ReGAIN, no longer are all critics written off as evil detractors who are out to destroy the Church.
The rule book is being rewritten and it is most likely that the new statutes will not be as oppressive or voluminous as they had been.
In spite of such positive changes, the third degree (3gf) Regnum Christi consecrated women face a very uncertain future and even at this late stage of the reform still remain in a high state of dependency. As their leaders search for the ever elusive charism, (from their spiritually dead founder, which they will share with the Legionaries of Christ), they have no canonical standing. They are bound by solemn promises of extreme poverty and obedience, yet still have none of the protections that religious sisters have because they remain in a lay state. They have no contract that guarantees provision for their health insurance or old age security. There remains uncertainty whether the Legion and Regnum Christi will be allowed to continue. Their numbers are dropping and outside support is dwindling. Their organizational status remains up in the air. They can be dismissed without reasonable notice. Each has surrendered her free will and decision making powers to her superiors and surrendered her sexuality with little in return.
Consider the level of financial dependence. New candidates are required to make a solemn promise of poverty, placing complete trust in their superiors to provide for all of their needs. When it comes to financial decisions, the Legionaries of Christ elite leaders have all the power and control. The Regnum Christi consecrated are seeking some form of autonomy and some degree of control over finances but there has not yet been much progress reported. Until there is a major organizational change, the consecrated Regnum Christi members will remain 100 % dependent on their superiors, who are financially dependent upon the Legion leaders and inferior to the Legion considering actual power and authority.
Historically, within the Legion and with the Regnum Christi consecrated, there has been excessive control built into the structure and methodology to the point where the consecrated women have very little free will decision making power in their lives. Based on a recent communique on the Legionaries of Christ website Click Here the Legion has stated that
there must be a common government....to make decisions regarding issues held in common, such as spirituality, apostolic mission and administration.
The above strongly suggests that there will continue to be an imbalance of power between the Legion and Regnum Christi. This is not surprising considering the Vatican's great interest in vocations to the priesthood and relative lack of interest in vocations that involve women making private promises of consecration. There could be a surprise happy ending for the 3gf ladies when the plenary assemblies have been completed and reorganization has taken place. However, within the Catholic Church, men rule and it seems unlikely to us that the (male) leaders of the Legion would agree to turn over control of any part of their financial empire or their decision making powers to the (women) lay consecrated leaders.
For the consecrated women, regardless of how they are organized, we wish them success in gaining improved opportunities to make free will decisions.