Editorial Comment, Thanksgiving, 2015
The original article was written around 2005 and therefore needs updating. Since then the Legion of Christ male religious order and the Regnum Christi mostly female lay movement have underdone a Vatican “visitation”, i.e. investigation, and renewal. The Vatican Apostolic Delegate gave the organizations a clean bill of health after some changes were made, an Extraordinary Chapter General was held, a team re wrote the LC constitutions and these were later approved by Pope Francis. It also appears that the RC may have acquired some degree of autonomy from the LC priest directors. Presently these two groups -or are they one?- prefer to show themselves publicly as “Regnum Christi/Legion of Christ” -see current web page Regnum Christi- perhaps as a way to blur their relationship with their criminal founder.
The ambiguity that ReGAIN has always criticized regarding the organizations spawned by Nuestro Pedophile Padre is once more apparent in the new webpage: it states that the Legion/Regnum Christi is celebrating its/their 75th anniversary in 2016. It is true that the Legion was born in 1941 but the Regnum Christi was born decades later; so it cannot be celebrating its 75 anniversary too. But in this re writing or history we are now told that the Legion and Regnum are kind of the same thing and therefore even if the RC was created later by the founder, nevertheless it was somehow founded at the same time as the LC.
If you are a true believer in this “Work of God” such logical niceties will be of little concern.
The writer of the original article, however, does have concerns about the validity of some of his statements from 10 years ago and that is why ReGAIN editors began with a clarification.
In all honesty we must admit that LC/RC separation from family is not as rigid or inhuman as before (probably because of Vatican prompting): members are allowed home a couple of times a year. Editors have witnessed cases of members coming home for Thanksgiving or special occasions or anniversaries. How could we not rejoice with them and their families?
Because ReGAIN editors do not, for the most part, have much up to date information on the real actual situation inside the Regnum Christi we would appreciate it if present or past members should shed some light.
[Original 2005 circa article below]
I remember one of the first things that I noted on the ReGAIN website when I discovered it several years ago was the checklist for cults provided by Father Peter Cronin. I had taken several courses previously about cults (never thinking that there would be any in the Catholic Church). As I went through the check list it helped me to confirm that our daughter (a 3gf Regnum Christi member since 1988) was in a cult.
She had gone on a trip to find herself and we were expecting her to come home eventually. She was a bright light in our family – a sharp mind and a wonderful joyful sense of humor. Our family always gathers for special occasions such as Thanksgiving, Christmas, special birthdays, picnics, camping expeditions, family holidays as well as for special spiritual events such as baptisms, first communions and, of course, for marriages. Our daughter never returned from that trip. We grieve continually in a similar way to families who have someone missing. She is alive but has been taken from us for no reason. Whenever we meet together for any occasion, we know that one of us is no longer available to us, except for two days a year.
There is no great joy when the 2 days come because she is different and cannot really enter into the spirit of things with the rest of us. It is NOT because she is holier than us. It is not because she is serving God in some special way. If she were working for Mother Theresa’s order of nuns in Calcutta, we would have some sense of there being a purpose for her absence from our family. Is she an evangelizer as she thinks or a brainwasher as some of us believe? Is she a teacher or is she becoming a manipulator?
We concluded some time ago that there is no question that Regnum Christi is a CULT that serves an elite group of people to achieve power and money for them. I believe that they operate as wolves in sheep’s clothing. Just as the sexual abuse committed against the original children who had put their trust in Marcial Maciel was about power and not sex, there continue to be new victims who lose their free will and their ability to live normal lives and have friends and live in a loving family environment so that the heads of Regnum Christi can have more power politically and in a spiritual environment. They say Catholic things and associate with Catholic leaders and they profess Roman Catholicism to give them respectability. The brainwashed members sometimes achieve things that serve the Church and give them some legitimacy. But underneath, I feel that there is no real difference between what RC does and what Scientology or the Moonies do. They promote elitism, they isolate, they are manipulated into idolization of the phony image of a false megalomaniac pedophile saint, they don’t have health insurance, they use a buddy system, they use spiritual direction as a weapon of control, they deceive, they control behavior (through rules), information, thoughts and emotions the same way other cults do.
Most unfortunately, I feel that the Roman Catholic Church, which proclaims itself to be the one and only true apostolic Church that provides justice internally has some rotten apples in the barrel that have been successful in sustaining this life destroying cult as an integral part of the Church. To me it is like a festering gangrene on the Body of Christ that must eventually be cut off if the Church is to remain healthy. The current reform by the Church including elimination of the secret vows, reducing their targeting of younger teenagers, etc., will not make a significant difference. I think this would be like the government going to the Mafia and getting them to stop selling drugs to 12 to 14 year olds. If they comply, they would still be the Mafia. A total reorganization of RC including replacement of the entire leadership and a new spirit – a new mission (no longer parallel to but in harmony with the Church) and run by truly dedicated experienced people with some limitations on their personal power and money they could extract from it. In the meantime, our grieving for our lost daughter goes on as key leaders in the Church continue to turn a blind eye.
3 thoughts on “A Catholic Father’s Lament For His Regnum Christi Daughter (2005 article needs updating)”
This story resonated with me more than the rest as of late. I had a conversation with my father just this past weekend about this exact same occurrence. I joined the Legion in the early 1990’s. At that time, I received the blessing from my parents, but I was just 12 years old. It was only recently, that my father and I spoke about this. He said that he could not believe that he and my mother did not see them as a cult those many years ago. All the signs were there… First, you would never think that a cult could be in the catholic religion, and second, be that close to the Pope. The illusion they created was so cleverly orchestrated.
Fathers, please come forth and tell your tale of pain, anger, hope, love for that child who has taken a different path
I must resolutely disagree with this article and its litany of unfounded negative opinions. I was in the Legion of Christ (1988-2000). I was in the middle of my 2nd years of theology in Rome, when I was told I didn’t have a priestly vocation. I was devastated and confused. Twelve years persevering with a personal goal to fulfill, in faith, a calling from God, could probably devastate & confuse. The temptation to even rebel against an inferred rejection, against someone’s or some people’s (spiritual directors, superiors) decision that you are not “good enough” to be what you had set your heart to be, etc., could also be a logical (though irrational & unfair) reaction.
But I decided to trust in the Holy Spirit and His Church through my spiritual director & superiors. I was let go and with NO PRESSURE was given the time and choice to finish my studies before going back home. I freely decided to join that summer of ’88, after I had originally intented to just visit. Then, in January of 2000, after spending my last Christmas and “Kings” (Celebrating the Reyes Magos for Epiphany is a legionary blast! ) with my brothers and fathers & after crossing the Porta Santa of the millennium jubilee, I freely decided to come back home. The pain of having to leave what I loved kept me from prolonging my stay. I felt and still feel deep love & gratitude for my Alma Mater, the Legion of Christ. I was part of a group of faithful faith-filled brothers in Christ that were willing to die in service for the Church.
Fr. Maciel ‘s scandal came as a shock to me. I offer my testimony that never did I witness any scandal in the Legion, and learning of such things is unimaginable from what I lived Inn the Legion as a Legionary.
I don’t think this “friendly fire” against the Legion of Christ, a faithful Catholic congregation revised, investigated & re-approved by the Church, is not a good thing to do given the greater problems and urgent missionary tasks we have in the Church.