Effects of Involvement with Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi on Cradle Faith: Questions for Pope Francis, LC Leadership and Catholic Bishops

             Shipwrecked

Effects of Involvement with Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi on Cradle Faith: Questions for Pope Francis, LC Leadership and Catholic Bishops

Presentation at the International Cultic Studies Association Annual International Conference, Stockholm, July 2015

 

By John Paul Lennon, MA, STL & Aura Bethancourt-Lennon

 

The author’s experience[i], plus contacts with hundreds of other former members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi by email, phone and/or in person, led him to believe that involvement with this Movement affected one’s cradle faith. “Cradle faith” being simply defined as the faith one is born into and raised in. It is now common knowledge that former members of this group, erstwhile devout Catholics, on leaving the LC/RC no longer considered themselves Catholics, or even Christians. Some even consider themselves agnostics and atheists. How did involvement with this bona fide Catholic Movement have such a deleterious defect? Further reflection modified that initial a priori hypothesis.  There appeared to be a need to find facts and explore this area with the help of a survey.

The experiment would be based on the following rationale: on entering the organization all candidates are devout Catholics. After “walking away” or been “thrown away not all are devout Catholics. How would they describe themselves today?  The experiment was designed to solicit feedback from former members visiting a webpage, http://www.regainnetwork.org, for former members and their families.

 

DESIGN

A member is recruited and belongs to the group for x number of years. He may leave after a certain amount of time, either as a throw-away or as a walk away. Each member experiences his recruitment/joining, belonging as a member and leaving in a personal way. The stages could be hypothesized as follows:

Pre-entry into the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi, it is assumed that the member is in full “communion” with the Catholic Church. Firm and unshaken belief in the Catholic Church as a divinely inspired religious institution; veneration and trust in the clergy (priests, bishops, pope)

  • Involvement as a fully observant lay member, abiding by marriage and birth control laws, etc.
  • A regular Mass goer who receives Communion (Sacrament of the Eucharist), “goes to confession” (Sacrament of Penance) at least once a year and “contributes to the support of his/her pastors.”

 

Membership in LC/RC

  • All of the above, plus
  • Involvement in the Church as a minister, religious or committed lay member of RC

 

Post exit from the LC/RC Movement some members are unscathed, “keeping their faith intact” while others have left or renounced full communion with the Catholic Church in varying degrees

  • Full communion with institutional Catholic Church as in Pre-Entry and good relationship with LC/RC
  • Full Communion with Catholic Church but lost faith in the LC/RC organization with an attitude of
    • Indifference
    • Criticism
    • Opposition

 

  • Partial communion with the Catholic Church
  • Leaves the ministry and/or religious life.
  • No longer fully observant lay member.
  • No longer a “practicing Catholic” but does not reject the notion that the Catholic Church is divinely inspired.
    • Occasional Mass goer; rarely, if ever “goes to confession”; contributes little, if any, to the support of the ministers, the institution and its works (Catholic Charities, Catholic Relief Services, etc.)
    • May not be “married by the Church,” nor heed Church birth control laws
    • May not baptize his/her children ‘in the faith.’

 

  • Lost faith in the Catholic Church as a divinely inspired religious institution; lost veneration for and trust in the clergy (priests, bishops, pope)
    • Retains partial communion with the Church (some residual attraction to Church such as family tradition, liturgy, sacred music, etc.)
    • Joins other Christian community
    • Joins other major religion
    • Declares him/herself agnostic or atheist

 

The medium to be used would be the ReGAIN webpage which has a steady stream of former members. The author assumed -not a very scientific attitude but common sense- that some or many of the visitors to the site -which constantly questions the official version of the Legion and the Regnum- would be among the more “disenchanted” Catholics, that their responses could tend to be
“negative” and that some kind of a balancing measure might need to be applied.

 RESULTS:

A total of 78 valid responses were delivered. Of these only 41 had been former members of the LC/RC; and of these 4 were currently active members.  Responses described visitors’ current relationship with the LC/RC in the following way:

Relationship with the LC/RC:

  • Average/Non important 13/41
  • Poor/Negative 21/41
  • Angry/they hurt me 1
  • I hate them 2
  • Positive 3
  • As good as could be             1

Relationship with the Catholic Church:

  • Fully Practicing 24/41
  • Partially Practicing 8
  • No longer a Catholic 8
  • * Incomplete response 1

 

 INTERPRETATION

Relationship with the LC/RC: “Average/Non important” answers indicate that a significant number of respondents have “taken the experience in their stride.” This could also indicate that former members have chosen not to dwell on their experience and have chosen to “get on with their lives.” But it is significant that 21 state unambiguously that they have a negative relationship/attitude toward the group they initially joined so enthusiastically and generously.

Recently a Spanish language blog called Legioleaks [ii] was launched on Facebook in which many of the contributing 120 disaffected former members vent their frustration, criticism and anger at their alma mater. While one might wonder “Why are you so angry?”, this begs the flip question “What has the institute done to make these young men so angry?”

In fact, only 3 respondents on the ReGAIN survey described his/her attitude as angry or hating. Therefore, criticisms on the blog may help interpret the finds of our survey and discover some of the flaws in the Movement’s system.

Results of “Relationship with the Catholic Church” could be considered surprising; in the sense that 24 of 41 described themselves as fully practicing Catholics, thus indicating that the respondents cannot be dismissed as “disgruntled ex-members”. Real cause for concern stems from 8/41 considering themselves partially practicing Catholics and another 8/41 saying they are no longer Catholic; in common parlance this means that one out of four “have left the Church.”

Catholic bishops may want to consider this result when they allow the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi to recruit in their dioceses.

 

Questions for LC/RC leadership

A study of the results prompts the author to raise some questions for consideration by the LC/RC Movement’s leadership:

  • Whether there exist elements in the Movement’s training (formation) that tend to alienate or otherwise hurt the members, producing in them feelings of rejection, anger and resentment toward their alma mater upon leaving.
  • Whether such flaws in the Movement’s training system are serious enough to cause exiting members to alienate not only from the Movement but also from the Catholic Church.
  • Whether the Movement needs to refine its screening process for recruits and its evaluation of new candidates.
  • Posters in Legioleaks point out the need for a deeper process of discernment of the religious vocation. The writer presented a pater at the I.C.S.A annual conference in Stockholm, 2015, warning about the dangers of undue influence and foreclosure, i.e. premature commitment to the religious calling[iii].
  • Posters in Legioleaks return time and again to the fact that their religious vocation appeared to be a forgone conclusion once they entered the group, prompting the question: Whether the Movement prepares the members for the possibility/option of exiting the organization.
  • Whether the members are given the necessary instruments for handling departure and transitioning to a new life outside the Movement.
  • Whether departing members have access to their legal documents, academic degrees and a minimum of job training.
  • And if the member decides to leave, whether the Movement has -and implements- concrete guidelines to help the departing member leave in a healthy, positive and constructive way.

 

 

These results beg comparative studies regarding how other religious orders fare with former members.

 

Instrument limitations:

on reflection, it would appear that one important factor which was not taken into account in the survey was “for how long” the person had been a member of the group. A priori, this would seem an important element as, if it were assumed that the effects were negative, the damaging effects would possibly grow and worsen over time. Related to this factor would be “at what age did you join”, again with the assumption that earlier exposure could cause more deleterious effects.

 

&&&&&

Historical note:

Fr. Maciel’s sexual abuse victims:

When cultic abuse is compounded by sexual abuse, the impact on the faith of the victim would appear to increase exponentially. The eight Maciel former seminarians who brought their case to the media and to Vatican authorities feel alienated from Catholic authorities.  The spectrum of the survivors’ “faith” –or lack thereof- is very wide and in general terms goes from atheism, through total alienation from the Catholic Church, to minimal participation in the Church. With the exception of Fr. Alarcon, a retired priest, none of Fr. Maciel’s Legion of Christ seminary victims, Senores Barba, Vaca, Jurado, Barrales, the brothers Olvera, Espinosa would consider himself a “fully practicing Catholic.”

 

[i] Described in detail in Our Father Maciel who art in bed, a Naïve and Sentimental Dubliner in the Legion of Christ, the exiting was long and tortuous. Each one ‘struggles’ with is religious question, and with the whole recovery task, in his own individual way.

[ii] https://www.facebook.com/groups/623513181133578/  Currently with over 1,000 members.

[iii] https://regainnetwork.org/2015/07/25/do-the-legion-of-christ-and-regnum-christi-exert-undue-influence-by-recruiting-children-and-minors/

 

 

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15 thoughts on “Effects of Involvement with Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi on Cradle Faith: Questions for Pope Francis, LC Leadership and Catholic Bishops”

  1. It is hardly surprising if some of those who have walked away in disgust/disillusionment from the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christ, have also chosen to leave the Catholic Church. You see there are three levels to the scandal:

    Level 1: Maciel was a criminally wicked and abusive fraudster.

    Level 2: Senior people in the Legion knew what Maciel was up to but chose to keep quiet about it. (For example, although Maciel’s mistress and daughter were at his deathbed alongside senior members of the Legion, they announced on the website that “Maciel had gone to heaven” when he died, and they kept quiet about his illegitimate offspring for another year).

    Level 3: The Vatican was astoundingly slow and weak in its response both to the initial allegations against Maciel and later to the evidence against him. (This reluctance to act against Maciel goes right back to the 1950s, but was probably at its most unforgiveable during and after the years of Pope John Paul II. By this time there were was a significant amount of evidence against Maciel, but he was close to Wojtyła, and no whiff of scandal would be allowed to compromise the reputation of the Polish Pope!)

    It is surely the culpability of senior people in the Church in failing to deal properly with the scandal – what I have called level 3 – that explains why many of those who became disillusioned with LC/RC also became disillusioned with the Church as a whole. The Church is nothing if it does not have moral authority (as Pope Francis himself acknowledged in his September 2013 La Civiltà Cattolica interview when he talked of the danger that “the moral edifice of the church [could] fall like a house of cards”). Yet one can fully understand those who were so badly duped by Maciel and his minions thinking that the Church’s pathetically weak response deprived it utterly of credible moral authority.

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    1. In my earlier post I explained why I thought it completely understandable that many of those who walked away from LC/RC should also walk away from the Catholic Church. But having said that, I do also feel the need to urge caution regarding the statistical basis of the survey undertaken. In order for any study like this to be seen as valid and reliable the behaviour of the people being studied needs to be compared with that of a ‘control group’. Actually, in order to test the effect of involvement with LC/RC on “cradle faith” you would need two control groups. One would consist of those who have left other movements/orders within the Church, and the other would consist of cradle Catholics who have never joined a movement within the church. You see many people who had nothing to do with LC/RC have also walked away from the Church – as I did about 40 years ago. I was never a member of a movement (although I did have a brief close encounter with ‘Focolare’) but I am definitely in the category of: “Lost faith in the Catholic Church as a divinely inspired religious institution; lost veneration for and trust in the clergy (priests, bishops, pope)”. And of course the way the Church has handled the whole Maciel/LC/RC affair reinforces my view that any “faith in” or “veneration for” the Church would be utterly misplaced.

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      1. The part of my family, some of whose members are in the legion though they will not admit it to more than me and a few others who will not talk, have a house in Cabra in Northern Irland . There is an answer here from Da Man from Cabra West.

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      1. Aren’t we really asked, in the above, if we consider that the church is ‘the’ divinely inspired religon rather than “a” divinely inspired relgion?.
        I lost the faith i had in the church all of it, and it was a considerable chunk of faith except that what i had has become mixed with simply liking christianity not just catholic christianity, much as my faith was not total.I lost quite enough for the legion to have been put to shame if such people were not so good at excuses. I would not have lost my faith in the church if I had not met legionaires and members of other sects. I did n=however hold faith in lots of other religons at the same time that doe snot lessen the fact that the part of that mix that hwas cahtolic got totally wipped out.
        I never knew that believing the church was divinely inspired was a absolute requisite of the church, i just felt that my religon inspired me to saintlyness and that that was the important part of it,
        Also the direction in which my devotion took me changed with time so how to talk of it in anyway but but very lengthily and talking babout things lengthily is something a good manipulator does not allow,.I was a catholic whose effort to be with the lonely got ever stronger but whose absolute adherence to every bit of church belief had lessened. FOr me not wanting homosexuals to practice their sexuality is terrible.
        For Rome then the question has become, she came to absolutely despise us when before she liked us though she was did not have what Rome calls an orthodox vision of her religion. legionaires among other street recruiters made me despise the church. The legion damages the church even though mayb ethe people who leave it because of them were not orthodox.

        This use of a subject that is a, hard to prove psychic reality, peoples degree of devotion and which is also one they can be made to feel insecure about their own selves about and which is changing so that you can pick the moment in the person whose faith is being questioned life that most suits the arguer, is the sort of reality about peoples and ideas that allows the legion to tie people into knots.
        This splitting hairs over changing realities is one of their manipulation methods and it is their manipulation methods that people need to avoid. It is how a manipulater has tied somone into knots whIch a good fighter should learn to teach the inexperienced so that they become able to defend themselves, become able to teach the moves necessary for combating them.
        A legionnaire asked me to fight but in general, as in just fight, I had not a clue how to fight, the result was painful.
        I think catholics ask they are recruiting people to fight imagining that these will then fight for the church, imagining their verbal tricks will pull these people onto their side.
        . A kind person helps people to fight instead of just suggesting they have to learn to defend good without teaching fighting methods. Their manipulation methods which deal in creating confusion are what i want to write about because peopl e who understand t hem will be able to defend themselves against them more easily. .

        The reason they try to make people feel their devotion insufficient seems to me to be very ugly, seems to me to be because because they like to use guilt to get more money or work out of people, which nasty shoving around of others through the pain of guilt they excuse because they say Christian work is so important that what any method is good if it gets money, work or what they consider the necessary degree o f Catholicism which is absolutely grovelling, enough devotion out of people.
        What does it matter if they cause people suffering in order to manipulate them if they are manipulating them for the holy ghosts sake. So they are awfully good at rubbing away at people using things that are not concrete, quantity of faith, real love, how can anyone describe what that it is, as there is no absolute about love and as their exists tough loving as well as the kinder sort and the more so if they are faced by people who always find a way to make rubbish of other peoples idea of love.
        With such un-concrete subjects there is always a possibility that people can be made to feel their idea of love or friendship or faith was not real at all because who knows what is really real love or friendship?
        . There are lots of such emotional realities that are hard to pinpoint that they can use to confuse the less good at managing bullies.
        If you read about the Opus Dei on hte opus dei awareness network opus libros, you could not help but understand that people who left he Opus Dei did it because the poor grade of friendship between members They could take the work for Christ and the poor, but not the nasty friendships which seemed to have served the purpose of spying on each other not of loving each other. These friendships seemed to them unchristian.The opus dei’s answer was to tell them that hey had left because they could not take the quantity of work asked of them in the opus dei.
        So, devotee to Catholicism as I ever was, my devotion would not have been easy to argue with such as legionnaires I would not have satisified Rome’s demands, they would have found some count I failed on.
        Should I have believe the church divinely inspired?, The trouble with that is that I believed all religions divinely inspired .
        As a child I always heard adults explaining that christianity was best because much kinder than being a Mayan say and that is what stuck with me as the most important requisite for preferring one religion to another. I could see that all religions thought they were divinely inspired and i believe in a good God who would try to inspire all humans in the world, not just one section of the world. A God who would inspire them but who would not forget how long it takes communities to become kinder on the executing criminals front say.
        A rub with street recruiters from different parts of Catholicism and later on from one who admitted to me she was a legionnaire though she wont come out publicly about it, A rub with this sort of catholic has made me feel that Catholicism was a heartless and old fashioned religion. After all, those who vote for the right have to be considered heartless, as do those who blacken other religions, so reducing understanding and kindness towards people of other cultures, as do so many things I learnt from street recruiters. I have met many catholics, four i think it is and my acquaintances are not very numerous, who said that the holocaust was alright, How can I be part of a religion whose members see the holocaust as alright,that is to say enough members for me to think that the church had not talked as it should on the subject and legionair I know talks as if the legion all of them feel the holocaust is all right.
        For me devoteness had much more to do with a covert but extreme desire to help people, to talk to the lonely, more than to help the poor. I feel the spread of the wellfare state is what helps the poor. My feeling of my own devoteness did not come from feeling the church was divinely inspired.I have always liked rationality much to well for that, it came from the many scrifices i made for the lonely and desenfranchised and to talk to the wicked which i saw as good for them. I believed that wickedness came from having been ignored at some time. I have though come to think it comes from being taught to be rough. legionaires absolutely denty the possibbility that a aperson who doe snot follow their ideas has done anythign to help others.
        My kindness got interpreted as garrulity. Manipulation again! Or, you say you are being kind in order to ehlp you flag bare for your good projects or your kindness can be taken as a desire to get on with others to serve your own purposes though your friends be the old or people iwho are ill and such.. I never wanted people to realise that kindness was part of my effort at friendship, it is a bit cruel to say as much.
        The evil desire of catholics to find bad motives for the best and most, trying,to me of my acts was a reason among many to think them cruel. As was their efforts to pin things on me without telling me what evidence they had for such evil thoughts. What person can defend themselves from a charge of crime if they dont know at what time the crime took place, what year, prehaps with which boys say. You cant ring up friends who knew what you were doing at that time in order to establish your innocence if you dont know what accusers are talking of. They terrified me.It seems that they could hang anythign on me and i had not way to defend myself. Their accusations were always underhand and by way of indirectr comments.

        It seems to me that the charicterisitcs mentioned in the above bit of writing that try to determine that some people who left the church were not real catholics have been designed in order to pretend the legion did nothing wrong. In order to disqualify anyone who has left he church from being considered as true members of the church before their leaving it.
        For me no member of the Vatican is a true member of the church. They have allowed things that would make Jesus furious. If only it were just people selling goods in the temple, it has been much worse things than that. Anyone can disqualify others, as true members of the faith. The vatican have not just done something like not being quite sure if the church is divinely inspired, they have done really terrible things.
        .
        The Vatican are not followers of Jesus, they have absolutely turned the church into the home of those who follow the ideas of the inquisition, the home of those whose main occupation is trying to find out if people have absolutely good enough faith, while their requirements for such are unrealistic and then punishing those who don’t fulfil their standards when these are difficult to establish.

        There is a story of F. Scot Fitzgerald’s in which a child is worried about some sin he has committed, I suppose it had to do with blasphemy, swear words, because the priest’s answer to him was, that it is only in the case that someone has true faith, type a saint who has a total understanding of the nature of God, that any sort of denial of God is a mortal sin. As in, if you have had a revelation that leaves you in no doubt that God is a reality, so that if you deny God you are you really denying what you know to be true.
        Would not true faith in Catholicism come under the same banner, as this belief in God, be something that you polish up with years till it becomes something more complete if you are a catholic rather than being something you have to have perfected in order to call yourself catholic. .
        It seems that in the first part of the last century theology was such as gave a novelists a more thorough understanding of deep and complex matters than the Vatican have today, who spend their time trying to twist theology around in order to help them to call others no good Catholics.
        I have learnt to have a complete disdain for the churches thinkers and preachers. all they seem to be good at is arguing things both ways so as to be able to say what suits them at any given moment.
        A true understanding of God is something I was taught that the saintliest of saints strive to deepen all their lives and cannot hope to totally gain, so asking more ordinary Catholics to have it as proof of their real true Catholicness, not to strive for it but to have attained it, is asking them to be as Christ was after his time in the desert, when he becomes one with the father. It is not a reasonable request.

        I found when i came into contact with street recruiters, that if i thought of God as I did indeed used to do at that time then I seemed to be encouraging street recruiters and so I gave up thinking of God and to my immense surprise found i was happy enough without him or without thinking of him. I had long before incorporated thought of him into my whole way of being. That is the sort of statement that legionnaires would simply deny and what can you do about people who simply deny things? I find such people make me tremendously frustrated, there is nothign you can do about them.
        Mind you, I was maybe just a kind person who would have taken any kind hero as a model with or without a God to back them up or to persuade me to like such.If i remember right Saint Teresa of Avila who said you have to act as you see right, without aiming for heaven or fearing hell. The Dalai Lama thinks kindness is innate to people but that life gets confusing and makes people turn to less nice ways of trying to win through. I stopped thinking of God because of street recruiters but i never wanted to stop doing good. So, the street recruiters truly turned me away from religion,
        They also made me afraid to think of Buddha.for like reasons, I did not want to incite them to attack me.
        I once liked the story of the head mistress of my school, a nun who said there was a sect of Jews who referred every thought they had to God. If i remember right the hero in the film, “Fiddler on the Roof”, did that and so that was one aim of mine at one stage of my life, it was a thing I strove to do and did for a good while. .

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  2. One particular cruel trick of a street recruiter I knew, was to get me to leave Buddhism looking wrong myself. They get to know you well enough to lead you into conversations which get you yourself criticising the calm which stops people from being active, say, and in some way that makes Buddhism look stupid. Sometimes you realise that you yourself have criticised or seemed to criticise Buddhism as the conversation draws to a close and sometimes it was when I reviewed my conversation later in the day that I realised that I myself had made Buddhism look silly without meaning to.This made me squirm with pain. I thought, Jesus said Peter would deny him three times before the cock crowed, Peter must have felt like this when the cock crew.
    Leading your victim to argue the point of view of the recruiter, leading the person being indoctrinated down the path of a particular argument and leaving them at the end of it, before they could talk of the ifs and buts to that argument, always seemed to me a tremendously clever thing to do. I never got over my amazement and admiration, at least for the cleverness of the trick not for the moral beauty of the ability some had at this form of arguing. I was sure I would never learn to do it and so far I have not.
    Using this way of arguing entails stopping the person they are indoctrinating from giving too many replies, from going further with their argument than the person indoctrinating needs them to go.
    This is done by the recruiter asking to be allowed to have their say and so stopping you going on.
    More simply and for the very sensitive also effective, they simply yawn which stops those who are reluctant to bore people from going on.
    Another way to stop such as me talking is by shouting to drown me out or insulting me, so I or the person being indoctrinated stops to lick my wounds instead of going on with the argument.
    Getting round such methods of shutting me up is what I call street fighting. In street fighting you have to learn to bore people and make them listen to you when they want to talk or they will stop you talking. It is not a question of arguing with more justice than them but of knowing how to make them hear you out. I learnt to shout them out back, which made my Buddhist, Yogi training training look stupid. I looked like a fish wife. I resent being forced to look so unable to keep my calm.

    They talk with scorn of those who don’t express their own beliefs while being excellent at stopping people from having a chance to. Dirty trick.
    They let you talk of frivolous things so that you can’t accuse them of not letting you talk ever but stop you if you talk of anything serious. Another dirty trick. This is not argument it is manipulation.

    I feel that they were very unkind for using such hurtful methods to try to bring me round. Feeling they perfered unkind methods of course undermined my belief in Catholicism. I don’t expect the followers of Christ to be as unkind as they can. Of course the followers of Saint Thomas Aquinas, who said that heretics should be killed, would have no trouble with unkindness.

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  3. As to the effect that sects which are over the top have on ones cradle faith, I have just remembered that I stopped the teaching I was going to give my children on Christianity as a result of meeting street recruiters. I began to think that there was something i did not like about the faith and that was from day one nearly, day one as far as street recruiters were concern, which is odd because at the same time i wondered where they would come out and if they had anything useful to teach. I began however immediately to see something i did not want my children to learn.
    I had prepared a lot of photo copies of renaissance pictures as a help to telling the children bible stories, my studies were in history of art and painting. When i met the street recruiters i stopped wanting to encourage the children to learn these stories.
    This was after yoga and so it was when I was very enthusiastic about Hinduism and Buddhism but still wanted to do as my mother had done and teach my children bible stories. I had loved the bible as a child. hated catechesis but loved the bible, loved stories like the turn the other cheek one.
    I even threw away the cross my mother had given me when I was a child which was a beautiful mother of pearl cross, by then somewhat broken and my mother had died in her late fifties, just after the birth of my first child so it was a cross that i was attached to. I was afraid of them thinking in any way that I was their prey. Afraid to have anything that would make them think I wanted their attentions in any way.
    I should think the strict type of catholic would think it as well that someone who could not be trusted to teach Catholicism in exactly the way they did was teaching their children her cradle religion. I still regret not doing it.
    I did not send them to a catholic school, in Spain that would have been too much, such schools are inclined to be a bit fascist but I wished them to learn the bible and to learn about religion.
    It was always one of my favourite subjects. I had always been quietly passionate about religion and did not want to deprive my children of it. I always wanted to be a saint, it is an ambition that accompanied all others at all times. That last phrase makes me laugh now , The legion have made me very wary of anything that so takes peoples feet of the ground. Still, it is always present, here I am writing like crazy to try to make things less bad.

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  4. I keep losing my way in these themes.
    I read something a correction, about whether some Catalonian sub group were what they were, or that their magasine was Zenith and that they were well prepared priests.
    I used to like the priest who had the parish of the village we used to weekend in in Avila, Iiked his sermons a lot, Don Ingnatio was his name. He was a prepared priest.
    I have met many people in Spain I admire, still Catholicism here was, I know, terribly oppressive.
    The guardia civil, which is to say police used to knock on peoples doors in the time of Franco, if these people had not attended mass. I knew masses of young who did not attend mass but I arrived at the very end of General Franco’s time.
    A anarchist friend of mine, he lived in Catalonia were anarchy was big and the anarchists were very interesting, worthy, they organised lectures which turned villagers into educated people, they did not approve of drink and tobacco they were discipline dand educated people. My friend, told a story of the parish priest after the civil war, when the anachists had lost and could be made to swallow their pride, asking his mother when she was going to do her bit cleaning the church. People were pressed into being Catholics, She answered that she had several sons and she was going to work in the fields to help her family. The priest new she was anarchist and that she did not want to clean the church, but there he was, worrying away at her.

    It seems to me that the church does not believe in freedom of religion and that, if well that was always the case in Spain say, it is now the case in England and North America because the Spanish way of thinking is in the legion. I dont know what chtholisim was like in Ireland. My paternal grandmother came from Cork but she was old when I was born and died when I was about seven.

    I have no idea if there is any theological way of arguing peoples right to freedom of religion but I for example would not want to belong to an institution that did not believe in the freedom of religions. i myself love other religions but apart from that, trying to force peoples hand in religion has caused so many problems in the past. Also. because if you allow the church to impose its doctrines, why should not places that are like the old soviet union impose theirs too.

    The vatican is just holding out, waiting for the storm to blow over, they don’t want to talk about freedom of religion,or about whether the Regnum Christi is too strict by far with pre-candidates. I think they just don’t like making their position clear when their position is not what many want it to be. They dont mind the extreme severity of the legion with girls who are pre-candidates .
    What are our priests doing to address Romes stance. Of course the priest who contribute to this blog do stand up to Rome.The majority of priests and Rome want to lead us by the nose, they are like many husbands, they dont need their wives opinions or vote in church matters. I cant respect that. I know that priests like the police need to keep there credibility because if you go for them you are going for the law or for the church but i cannot say i admire their education. The truth is there are priests I can admire but it is the church they stand for that I dont admire, I am much to worried by so many things in the church.

    Ratzinger did for a lot of theologians who did not agree with him. I don’t believe there is true discussion of church theology even in the Vatican. I believe they just say, “this is orthodox, this is not.
    This is very worrying. It puts the whole intellectual fibre of the church in question. I am only a cradle catholic but I see the enormous importance of the church. I am very worried about the direction it is going in.
    Knowing about the legions is tremendous. i already knew of so many things that worried me in the church but the Legion is worse than any of them.
    If the girls in Regnum Christi suffer from so many psycosomatic illnesses, is it not necessary to face the legions theories on what is good for the young with theological arguments that convince them their own idea of what the holy ghost wants is wrong?
    There is no sign that the Vatican is trying to think of more reasonable arguments than those of the legion. This is very worrying, The only way to understand the Vaticans lack of concern is that they agree with the legion and think that the girls should be exposed to pressures that do for their health and psychis.

    In Spain, in the eighties the robbing of babies by a nun who worked in a hospital came to light. When the mothers seemed to her unsuitable, she simply told the mothers the babies were dead and gave the babies or sold them, to more suitable families.
    The idea that children should go to more suitable families than say communist ones, is pretty general in catholic countries such as South American ones. Children were stolen in Argentina weren’t they? The legion just thinks that children need the legions ideology not their parents ideology. They are wolves for parents.They will get into the heads of very young children given half a chance and as they are very rough they will eat out their heads too, as they do those of their parents. For them, all people need is to suffer for being sinners. What young marry virgins nowadays? THey will have motives enough to make our children suffer.
    They will make our children suffer if they can get a hold on them and I dont approve of their way of thinking, dont agree with them about what they think wrong and what right, and I think they are over sever and not a little bit over sever but a hell of a lot over sever. I think they turn people into savages because they are over sever and that does not turn people into good people but into cornered people.

    There are plenty of worrying things about the church. Trying cases of stolen babies is still going on in Spain. You will probably find out all about it just putting ‘stolen babies Spain’ or Madrid, in the internet.

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  5. F. Scot Fitzgerald’s story, ‘Absolution’ is also a useful story because it talks of two parts of the Roman Catholic church. It tells of the fear of a boys who has his father’s religion which is rough and of the priests kinder and more intelligent religion.
    The church of the boy’s father is very tremendous. It has the boy terrified, the father seems to believe threats will be what keeps his son religious.
    That is very legionnaire. They are inclined to think it is better to scare one into goodness than be clear about theology.
    The boy has learnt to fear that if he goes to communion without going to confession he will crumple up and die, for communion taken on an unclean soul will turn to poison in his mouth.
    He is terrified about small faults. In the book, various aspects of confession trap him into making hurt retorts that are not truthful and so getting him to lie, while his whole self was concentrated and absorbed on overcoming his dislike of talking of sins of the flesh and making himself tell them, so he is trying very hard to do things right.
    Surely terror about religion is not good for people, especially terror about doing something they have not in fact done, been sacrilegious, no sort of terror is good for people. He lies in the confessional as he was overcome with embarrassment about his sin, in the first place and in the second he lies in order to get back at his father. He is not trying to be sacrilegious.He had not meant to lie either he was trying to be good and in his hurry did things that he had oto meant to do.
    One of the virtues of religion is that it gets people trying to be good and a religion that suddenly decides that people have to be good already in order to be called Catholic say or to feel more or less alright about themselves is not a good one. He should not have been so scared about getting things wrong when he was trying to get them right.
    If you read about the saints they are trying to overcome their faults they are not people who faith is right because they live as orthodox Catholics, which is to say, as totally correctly behaving Catholics. A religious person is trying to live in accordance with his faith, he does not have to be a person who is managing it and this boy is trying, he has other days in which to bring himself further into line and minimise the occasions in which he puts his foot in it. He should not be so worried about not getting everything right.
    The legion, the cupola of the church, at the moment, seems to consider members of the flock who are further from taming their natures, as not real Catholics instead of seeing that people of a faith are meant to be trying to get to perfection not to have got it already, is for me a reason to separate myself from them. This way of thinking takes the present attitudes of the church far from the ones I learnt. They behave as if they were the more ignorant part of the fold is something I don’t agree with.. It is not a faith I even recognise. Catholics are those who are trying to be good Catholics not people who have achieved this goals. I am not one. I have many too many beliefs that take me away from the church.

    The boy has not been to confession till the last moment on the night before mass because he is embarrassed to talk of sins of the flesh, as he has not been to confession. He is afraid of his father’s fury for not attending to his religious duties. His father will notice if he does not go to communion, and realise it is because he has not been to confession. In the end, he manages to get himself to confession at the last moment. Then he ends up confessing twice.
    In the first confession, he gets through talking of his minor sins of the flesh which had made him put off confession for some time and which were what had absorbed him prior to and during confession, were what he had steeled himself to confess and before he is aware that the priest has done with this subject, the priest asks him if he has lied. He is ashamed of lying and blurts out, “I never lie”. He has not prepared himself for this question. Biggish liars always say they never lie, the truthful know that is not possible, maybe just the more complicated know this is not possible. The confession ends without him finding a chance to right this lie in confession.
    He then goes to confession again just before mass, as ordered by his father, who is a man who habitually it bashes his children. He funks this confession by confessing one unimportant thing, at the last minute he decides not to confess what he needs to confess and the reason he does not is that he wants to be even with his father, to do something, though it be in secret, that his father would not like. The result, he ends up going to communion with two lies on his soul and a whole lot of sacrilege, which has him in a complete state about his soul. He ends up thinking that he is a devil, imagining himself with hoofs. He imagines he was sacrilegious, when his real sin is revenging himself on his father in a moment of hot temper.
    He cannot avoid going to communion though he has not confessed properly, he is too afraid of his violent father to do so. His father’s violence, not his desire to commit sacrilege is one of the things that gets him into that further muddle.
    This is an example of how fear is not always a good thing and the legion’s faith seems to be that, putting the fear of themselves and their evil tongues into you is a great and good idea. This is an excellent example of why fear does not necessarily produce righteous behaviour fear get this boy going to comunion when he is in sin.

    From the authors comments the boy is beginning to find his religion too complicated for him to be able to follow it to the letter, he is about to reduce his commitment to his religion because thigns are so complicated, so believing he should be handling everything perfectly instead of seeing he is trying too and should be patient with himself, is about to put the child off his cradle faith.

    If I remember right you can make a quick act of contrition to God if you have done something between confession and communion. Why did he not know this?
    The harsher bit of the church does not like making things easy for people, it likes tying them up in knots about themselves, it fears that a lack of extreme guiltiness will lead to lackadaisicalness about religion. Maybe it will but is this boys lack of clarity a thing that helps people be good?

    There is a part of the faithful who are not likely to follow a faith that gives people a poor ability to evaluate situations. The bible is all about situations, complex ones, the old testament with heroes who are more human than such a teacher as Jesus and get themselves into endless trouble, reading it helps people reflect on human nature. The new testament too but here we have the comments of a sane Jesus rather than the too and throwing of a more normal bunch of people.
    Is not the whole point of religions to produce people who evaluate situations better and more fairly, kindly and temperately?
    How can people wwho have any discernment follow a religion whose tone is similar too or even more ignorant and blindly fearful than that of the father and the boy of the story, instead of being that of the more kind and balanced scholarly priest?
    It seems to me that in a reaction to Buddhism, temperance has been replaced in the church by the advice to be fiery and inflamed about everything because nothing less will adequately express what we feel about sins and poverty and such. They are forgetting that peoples judgement gets clouded when they are overexcited about things, not to mention them missing some knew aspect of things if they are too over excited about a first thing.
    Such as Marcial Maciel want to jump money out of peoples pockets and emotional confusion and fear help to separate people from their money.
    They have forgotten that the fiery sometimes get things all wrong. They are in too much of a state to think properly.
    The legionnaire I know seems to like keeping people in a continual state of anguish. Maybe they feel that only this continual memory of sin or supposed bad motives, will keep people sufficiently attentive to their religion. It will keep them in a continual jelly about themselves. I have heard that this person did not believe that God was as bad as she painted him, she was just lying, in order to increase peoples fear. Legionnaires it seems, will say things they don’t believe in, in order to get people worried. Will pretend that God is much more vengeful than he is.
    Will well prepared people accept a religion in which God is more vengeful than loving. I wont. We learn as Christians that God is love, all religions hold the same way of thinking. That God is love, it is an idea the legion would find altogether too soppy.

    Theology being the discussion of how different tenants of the faith affect each other, the idea of love, and of how the father of this boy, a person who seems to reflect a lot of other parts of the church, feels that fear is important to keep his son on track,are part of what one would expect the church to discuss as theology.
    The amount of fear this boy has does not seem to
    The church paints everything with very broad brush strokes that it is impossible to know where they stand, however, it seems to be that they stand more and more on the side of the boy and his father, as far as any idea of where the church falls on, pushing the sheep or refining them goes. God is love is basic to Christianity.

    It seems the boy’s religions had not taught him to be very good at sorting out how far his acts were wicked and he is not stupid, he picks up what the priest who helps him through this muddle says, though the priest does not spell out his ideas. How will the boy treat others if he has been taught so little about how to understand himself? And the people who follow the legion, who seems to have the father of the boys ideas on Catholicism, how will they treat others?
    He had not lied about lying on purpose, his lie was not premeditated, he had not planned a sacrilege of the confession, his had just lacked time to correct his usual reactions, so hardly sacrilege. The same is true of the second confession, his fight with his father had come between him and the ability to weigh up the sacrilegious side of his action in not giving a proper confession. He is just reacting to his father, not trying to commit sacrilege and then he went to communion out of terror of a violent father, instead of, not doing so for fear of a furious God.
    Why was the boy not taught that god is love and tha ta lovign God would not get so very cross with him. The magdelene sisters were also overly sever., very much so absolutely brutally so. It is a part of the church that Rome is not really talking about.

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  6. I think leaving the faith might depend for those who are religious minded on whether or not they can imagine alternative religions.

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  7. I do not know if the teaching from street recruiters had to do with bits of ideas from the church that I did not know about or just to do with church sects. The suspicion that it extended beyond the sects makes one suspect the whole church.
    The nuns at the school I was taught at from twelve to sixteen, told me that there exists a sixth level of faith, fifth or sixth and they did not tell me what it was. Was the cruel teaching of sects this sixth level or just the teaching of the sects as entities that had their own line?

    Street recruiters seemed to want to teach me to do tough loving. I say seemed to, because they try to net you nice and slow, so it is hard to be sure were they are taking you.
    Tough loving is good in the right degree, as long as it is not, all through and the only sort provided. I started to perceive, from contact with street recruiters, such tough love as left all normal kindness to one side. In truth left all kindness to one side.
    In the accounts of the girls in Regnum Christi an example of this would be, when they are encouraged not to have friendships. People need friends.

    Tough loving of an extreme kind can also be found in an extremely harsh regime of examining of people conscious, a regime which absolutely refuses to contemplate the possibility that the persons being trained has ever had a good motive for anything, which of course breaks people. We try to be good and make sacrifices for others in ever increasing degrees in our childhood and if we are told we never have tried to do any such thing but always had a subconscious motive behind our good actions, a motive which was only concerned with our own benefit for anything good we have done, this kills us, destroys us emotionally, brings us or could to despair, and if we acknowledge that in some hidden corner of our soul we had motives we did not know we had then we have been persuaded tto lie about our former self and commit treason to who we were and lead to feeling a great confusion about our own abilities to judge anything, which if not perfect should not be totally destroyed. and to despair because we have not been kind to the Granny we loved for example.

    Is this harshness just the legion and other sect’s or is it the churches? I ask because the sixth level is something the whole church thinks of, or so I understood. If it is the churches then they teach a belief at a later stage which reverses all I was taught as a child. I liked Jesus because he is kind and if the church is not, then it is, “adios muy buenos”, good bye, as far as i am concerned. If it is the churches ideas the sects, street recruiters are teaching and not the legions or some other groups, then the church has lied to me and apart from the lie, the sixth level has nothing to do with my Catholicism, it is not my religion, I was not asked to confirm my faith with any knowledge of it beyond its name, so, I am not leaving anything, I have been abandoned. All the supposed kindness of my faith was just pap for babies.

    One of the street recruiters explained to me that he had been taught at eighteen that all the old stuff he had been taught as a child was old hat. He is one of the men who told me the holocaust was OK. Three men I came up against at that time said the same of the holocaust.

    My contact with the legion makes me know that they don’t believe in kindness. Have some extremely cruel practices and not just cruel practices but ones that as well as cruel just falsify everything I know.
    I know, unless my contact has got everything wrong, that for them, the real thing is harshness because any sort of love and kindness just gets people into hell. When I have thought for others, thought of kind things to do for them, I have been told that I should not, it is bad for them.
    Of course not everyone who gets into the hands of one of these sects is going to wonder if, the new teaching the sect gives is merely a variety of the churches sixth level or not, so they will attribute it to the sect, which of course is greatly to the Vatican’s advantage, what they really think is being taught but when this teaching might be disliked, there is no proof it is their teaching, so it wont put anyone off the church.

    I agree with all Terry Loane says on all points but that the moral edifice of the church will fall like a house of cards.
    Nothing of the churches will fall, they survived the Magdelen Sisters, the child sexual abuse scandals and the fact that their attitudes to the jews must have ben th eprincipal factor in helping to create the holocaust.
    he church has far to many devotees to fall in any sense. We can and should hit it as hard as we can because it can take it and because it gets very odd when people are afraid that if they attack it they will pull it down. They wont. Just think of the very faithful and how many of them there are and know you cant hurt them and so give it all you have got when they go astray.

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  8. Terry Loane. I think the point of of asking questions, in this sector of regain, is to ask people their opinion on whether or not the legion separated them from the church so it is not necessary to compare what is said here with anything else. What is said here only claims to reflect the mind and ideas of some and recount how many people have given opinions.
    It is probably possible to find out the statistic of, how many people who don-t belong to a Catholic sect leave the church and of what proportion of people from each sect are driven out of the churches embraces because of their contact with a Catholic sect. and set up a report of that nature. This is just asking for the opinion of people and noting the number with one or other opinion, it is not a rigid report on numbers.

    Social sciences are not a true science. Humans are just too complicated for it to be such. All you can do is read as much as you can and try to have a bigger and bigger veiw of the possibilities that exist in the subject so as to judge things more accurately and this report, as it collects more testimonies, increases our knowledge of how sects affect the religion they are a subgroup of.

    I have met many Catholics who say you learn from the street, as in, from people you meet,not from books. People in the street don’t tell you their life experiences and most serious thoughts, authors do. I think nay know, that it is hard to judge things unless you have an awful lot of information and humanities are a subject that is less and less popular in schools. There is no other way to judge things as complicated as the human psychic but getting an awful lot of information on them to help you try badly to judge each part of human life. This report increases ones information on what people feel about sects.
    There can be no doubt that if people get to see their religions as something they cannot subscribe to, some will leave it. Some will stay for the sake of the Eucharist or some such . You can find support for thought on the divine by imagining any sort of total goodness.
    The church gets so much love that it seems to me that they feel free to take some very odd paths. It is time they stopped doing this.

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  9. I had a comment to add on the short story, “Absolution”, writen by F.Scot Fitzgerald.
    I had thought that it was odd that a man who was as good as the Priest in the story should not be full of happiness and light. He is portrayed as sitting in his room bored and suffering from spiritual and emotional anguish . For one because he had not reached complete spiritual union with God, but for another he is described as feeling some anguish about people.
    I have found that one big problem with people occurs when they are not rubbing shoulders with many people and consists in them being able to see less and less of peoples virtues and intelligence and more of their failings.When you spend a lot of time talking to people it becomes hard to avoid seeing they gifts, their great intelligence for example, they shove them in your face given half a chance.
    It is not only a lack of time spent talking to people that makes some people lack faith in others, it is also not introducing subjects which show you the more complex parts of the nature of others, such as, a person of some wealth will not talk to a poorer person of high kudos subjects, such as politics, in any depth. Nor will a man to a woman.
    Religion is another such subject. Will some talk to a bishop of what they know of theology and a woman of what they think she ought to know and no more? This is a human practice that stopped street recruiters from seeing that I was a danger on the ideas front. They were so lazy about finding out what I was like they taught me a whole lot of ideas I knew about already and were not aware that I would not like a whole lot of other ones. I think they apply the same stick to everyone.

    . Maybe priesthood divorces the priest in the story from contact with people. Maybe the confessional is not a real enough sort of contact to stop him being anguished about people. Maybe it gives a lopsided idea of people, it discusses so few of the aspects of human nature.
    People are awful, mean, grasping and sinful but they are also graceful and intelligent good and clever. They are often more embarrassed to talk of their good points, which would be boasting, than of less good ones, so it is easy not to see their graces and it is often hard to get them expressing themselves much at all so you have to give an awful lot of time to finding out their graces. The priest would not have thought that humans got less beautiful as you get nearer to them, which is one of the ideas he expresses to the boy, had he got nearer to them often enough.
    I have heard from one, maybe street recruiter, that the first time you go to clean the sewers it is terrible, which seemed to me to be a indirect way of talking about such activities as confession, Of trying to get to the bottom of the murkiest depth of the human soul. I suspect that they are so told to find murky depths that they find ones that don’t exist. They positively go so far along that road as to make themselves very sick and for faults they have made up, they are so anxious to do what is required of them, find filth to clean, that they can see nothing else. Have I not heard them if I mention a good motive for someone’s act, do their utmost to prove that no good motive existed, much as it was impossible to imagine that the talked of deed had not been a good act, and that is a tendency of street recruiters iI have observed many times.

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