PSYCHOLOGICAL NOTES FOR TREATING A MEMBER OF THE LEGION OF CHRIST OR REGNUM CHRISTI
J.Paul Lennon, MA Ph., Th., Counseling, LPC
updated June 1, 2017
With spiritual and theological notes by former RC, Marigold
Your client Robert(a) has written me to say s/he is under your therapeutic care but that you have no idea what the Legion of Christ is and how his/her involvement with them may have affected them. I have known the client for a while, and the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi for a long time, and would be glad to provide you with some pointers.
Perfect Little Catholic Toy Soldiers:
- The Legion of Christ is a Catholic religious order, of about 800 priests and 2,000 religious men with vows of poverty, chastity and obedience in training for the priesthood. It also controls several thousand non-clerical members who live out the Legion’s ideals in their daily lives in the Regnum Christi Movement, somewhat similar to the better-known Opus Dei.
- The Legion’s founder, a Mexican serial-pedophile priest, Marcial Maciel, believed in converting the powerful in society so that these elites would influence and trickle down to the masses and thus imbue society with his version of Christian values.
- To achieve its goals, the Legion/Regnum recruit good, solid, conservative Catholic youth from the middle-through-wealthy classes. In Spain and Latin American countries, the LC/RC has thrived on recruiting children -as young as 10 or 11- into its ranks. Surprisingly, it has even had success with such “Apostolic Schools” in the USA and Canada.
- Thanks to the founder’s wiles, the Legion/Regnum is approved by the Vatican, favored by recent popes, efficiently attracts young men and women, produces good-looking priests and has strong financial resources. In the USA it has appealed, for the most part, to conservative, traditional families who bring up their children to be obedient, with strong Catholic faith, strict sexual morals, and who are for the most part innocent, naive, generous and idealistic.
- Underneath the veneer of piety and holiness the Legion leadership is a ruthless control machine, gradually taking over the members’ lives. It employs coercive persuasion methods to turn out a finished product, the Man of the Kingdom: pliable in the superiors’ hands and attractive to the Catholic public that hungers for clean-cut priests who preach Traditional Doctrine and “follow the pope”.
- Over the past decades, keener-minded critics have been zeroing in on the Legion which was then observed and studied by some of the most respected “cult watch groups”: The International Cultic Studies Association, Steven Hassan and Freedom of Mind, Rick Ross Cult Education et al. Because Legion “formators” operate in a subtle and deceptive way, recruits don’t realize that their Behavior, Ideas, Thoughts and Emotions are gradually being controlled. Before they know it, they been turned into perfect little Catholic toy soldiers.
The other thing that I’d add is that
- the LC seminarians are taught to recruit and raise money.
- They are never given any pastoral training; most could not administer the sacraments of Baptism, Marriage or Last Rites.
- Confessional seal is regularly broken.
- The “Front Organizations’ of the LC/RC juggernaut continue and are rebuilding the base and donors; but under many new organizations that do not appear at first glance to be connected with the Legion.
- Finally, I’ve found very useful the examination of the LC’s activities and influence on people in terms of “Motivation” — what is the motive and intention for doing something or going after someone? It is important that this is included because the LC/RC is such a hall of mirrors; they reflect both the bad and good of the institution of Church Temporal.
- I have become more Christ-centered, thanks to the Legion, even as I’ve become less Church-centered, but continue to go, out of the need for communion with others and the Sacraments.
- How many lives have been broken and misled, how many good families ruined — because of the evil of this criminal outfit?
- Thanks, ReGAIN!
Beyond the Façade: Sex and Submission
- The Mexican founder, Fr. Maciel, was a serial pedophile, specializing in sexually initiating his pubertal seminarians. With his favorites, he carried on an increasingly explicit relationship into their early adulthood. Some of these early victims claim that he only wanted to create his own personal harem. In a word, Maciel was an amoral person, without scruples.
- As a psychopathic conman he projected an aura of holiness, love of the Catholic Church, of the Pope and of Jesus Christ while living a double/triple life.
- His charismatic leadership created a very efficient system for recruiting, training (controlling, brainwashing) the members
- With his business acumen he successfully fund-raised, built many apparently successful, schools and universities in Mexico, the USA and over twenty countries in Europe and Latin America.
- Astutely, he rode out two separate Vatican investigations into sex abuse, misuse of money, abuse of authority and drug abuse.
- To achieve his goals, Maciel also used secrecy, deceit and manipulation. After the first Vatican investigation (1956-59), he implemented a special vow that made it impossible for the members to talk among themselves, exchange personal concerns and experiences or criticize their superiors.
- Whenever his authority was challenged or his methods were questioned, Maciel would implement more stringent measures of internal and external control over the members, often instilling fear of divine retribution for not following “The Founder” chosen by God.
- Not until after his death in 2008 did further crimes become known. Despite an investigation that revealed further aberrations, the Legion and the Vatican found a solution to the funder’s sinful life by separating the Founder from the Foundation: Maciel bad; Legion good. Some scandalized and frustrated members left the priesthood, the religious and consacrated life around 2010 and donations were affected; stalwarts and supporters dug in their heels and still believe in “The Movement” which, for its part, changed cosmetically under Vatican surveillance.
- If we combine sexual abuse with secrecy, we can imply the order has been continuously contaminated since the beginning. The Founder’s Modus Operandi still lives on:
- The Legion does/did not carefully psychologically evaluate candidates by indepependently trained therapists,
- Or provide any serious sex education to its trainees
- Their “formators” and educators are in-home trained
- The general policy is/was silence and secrecy
- Sexual challenges are spiritualized and sublimated prematurely.
- From here, many members’ sexuality remains latent, un-examined, repressed or devious.
- Some of Maciel’s victims became perpetrators; because of secrecy, the extent is still unknown:
- Strict obedience is observed, giving the superiors much power in the day to day operations; some superiors have used this to indulge their pedophile and/or homosexual proclivities. There is some evidence of intergenerational sexual abuse of the young members by superiors.
If you have any further questions, feel free to contact me through ReGAIN,