ReGAIN wants to make it clear that this commentary is solely Ann Barnhardt’s opinion. ReGAIN will not second condemnation of Pope Francis, for that would be a wrong interpretation. Nor can we make a public expose of these “fronts” that Pope Francis -and Pope Benedict before him- opposes by preaching a poor church and small faith communities.
ReGAIN also points out to our readers that its primary focus is not so much with individual members of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi Movement as with the modus operandi of this institution which it considers to be “a business that looks like a religious order”: the enterprise possessing several features of an intra-ecclesial Catholic cult. This does not exonerate individual members from their misbehaviors, crimes and misdemeanors but does place these in the context and environment we are alluding to: an atmosphere where -among other immoral principles bequeathed by the founder- the end (promoting the Legion of Christ) often justifies the means.
Finally, ReGAIN believes that the anger expressed in this article demonstrates the disappointment and righteous indignation of many Catholics who feel betrayed by their pastors and do not yet see a purifying light at the end of the tunnel.
(Back to the Barnhardt article)
“In the wake of the #CatholicMeToo phenomenon which is still holding traction and moving along nicely, pretty much everyone is naively asking the question:
How could they not know that McCarrick was so evil? How could this man have possibly been elevated and advanced up the hierarchical chain the way he was? How could such an evil person acquire so much power?
The answer in one sentence:
The fact that McCarrick was an open homosexual[i] predator was considered a FEATURE, not a bug, and the higher he ascended, and the more powerful he became, the more valuable he became to those around him who sought to LEVERAGE CORRUPTION AND CRIMINALITY for their own gain, and the more intensely those around him covered for his crimes against young men and boys.
Folks, we’ve all got to wise up here if there is any hope of prosecuting this war against the infiltrators and forces of evil. When out Lord says, Be wise as serpents…, He isn’t just whistling Dixie. The near-unanimous failure of people to grasp these dynamics is frustrating. You can’t win a war when every general is a doe-eyed Pollyanna constantly looking around and asking, “Why are those angry-looking men pointing guns at us?”
Look, Diabolical Narcissist Psychopaths attract other DN psychopaths. These demoniacal creatures flock together. If you are asking questions such as, “What did Donald Wuerl know about McCarrick, and when did he know it?”, I can tell you the answer right now. He knew damn-near everything and knew it from the beginning. The same goes for Kevin Farrell. And not just other prelates, but clerics and laypeople that are employed by or otherwise make their livings off the Institutional Church as well. The rot is deep. One might even say hopelessly deep, barring supernatural intervention.
I think the best way to explain this is with a specific case, and that specific case is the former number three and public face of the Legionaries of Christ, Fr. Thomas Williams. The other reason why this specific example is particularly helpful, is because there are people claiming that people on the so-called “right” are only going after the McCarricks and Wuerls because they are on the so-called “left”. Well, Fr. Thomas Williams and the Legion of Christ are the perfect examples of criminal psychopaths running their racket in the Institutional Church, wrapping themselves in the mantle of “conservatism”. So, let’s kill two birds with one stone here, and show how this cancer infects every corner of the Church – from hard left to soft left to neo-conservative to conservative to Trad – the whole spectrum.
Fr. Thomas Williams, who is now laicized, was the pretty-boy face of the truly evil racketeering organization, the Legion of Christ, for many years – pretty much from the late 1990s until 2012. Fr. Thomas Williams lived for YEARS with the satanic founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel, who was a drug-addled, bisexual incestuous child rapist. That’s right, not only did Maciel sexually assault and rape Legion seminarians right and left, Maciel also RAPED HIS OWN SONS. And Fr. Thomas Williams LIVED WITH HIM. For YEARS.
This is very, very similar to now-Cardinal Kevin Farrell, who was also top-ranking Legionary until he left in 1984 to climb the career ladder to the Cardinalate as a diocesan priest and SHARED AN APARTMENT FOR YEARS with his mentor and patron, “Auntie Blanche” McCarrick, who was likewise an open sex criminal, assaulting and raping seminarians and boys, as everyone knew. Farrell, like Williams, is an inveterate and facile liar – a hallmark of Diabolical Narcissist psychopaths, and simply adopted the strategy of “deny, deny, deny, deny.” It doesn’t matter how open the secret is. The universal strategy is DENY, DENY, DENY. The Clintons perfected this in the 1990s, specifically in the Lewinsky scandal. DN psychopaths all over the world watched and learned from the Clintons’ tutelage.
Back to Fr. Williams. You can read a very brief summary of the Fr. Thomas Williams scandal in THIS PIECE which Frank Walker at Canon212.com broke last summer on his blog, http:/www.StumblingBlock.org . Just a couple of high points with additions and details that have been shared with me over the years about these truly deplorable people: Fr. Williams, flying high as the number three of the $30+ BILLION-dollar Legion of Christ criminal racketeering organization, was recruited by Neo-con Catholic darling and John Paul II advisor Mary Ann Glendon to recruit Glendon’s Machiavellian apostate daughter, Elizabeth Lev, into the Legion. Glendon and Williams were both teaching at the Legion’s University in Rome. Williams, it should be noted, was no less than the DEAN OF THE DEPARTMENT OF MORAL THEOLOGY. Glendon’s daughter, Lev, was a hyper-promiscuous art history major who had just relocated to Rome. Glendon knew that her notoriously sexually aggressive and amoral daughter would, despite her apostasy, be more than happy to enter “spiritual direction” with Fr. Williams with an eye towards a sexual affair with this “sexy” priest.
Sure enough, Lev conceived two children by Fr. Williams in the early 2000s. The first was miscarried, but the second was born with a very severe case of Down Syndrome. Lev, by now in her late 30s, was clearly trying to get pregnant by Fr. Williams as a means of getting her claws into the $30+ Billion Legion of Christ, leveraging her womb into a multi-million-dollar blackmail/child support package. It worked. Fr. Williams put Lev on the payroll of Zenit, the Legion of Christ’s news publishing business, and Lev was thrown all manner of work as a tour guide for Legion of Christ’s millionaire recruiting junkets, and quickly became one of the most powerful people in the massive money-making machine that is the Vatican Museums – which the Legion of Christ and Opus Dei essentially run.
Fr. Williams, desirous to maintain his plum position at Maciel’s right hand, denied that he was the father, (phrase edited out by ReGAIN staff). Lev called the conception “a one-night stand”, which given her extreme sexual promiscuity was enough to cast doubt in the Rome Anglo social circle. Lev’s flamboyantly gay “best friend”, (who also had a penchant for sex with priests and seminarians – hey, friends have got to have shared interests, right?) was enjoined to publicly and theatrically “propose marriage” to Lev (which was, after a sufficient period of suspense, theatrically rejected), stood as godfather while Fr. Williams baptized the child, and then Fr. Williams and Lev essentially made the homosexual godfather the child’s caregiver, while both Fr. Williams and Lev aggressively pursued their respective careers in Rome – being sure to grease the gay godfather’s palms, which continues to this day. Remember this when Thomas Williams claims that he left the priesthood to care for his son. This is a man that happily stood by and watched while his son – suffering from mental retardation so severe that he is unable to speak and thus ever report abuse of any kind – was put in the care of a homosexual man.
Now to the Unpleasant part. In ARSH 2005, Fr. Williams finally admitted after years of lying to the General Director of the Legion of Christ, and Williams’ immediate superior, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera (now deceased) that yes, the rumors were true, and he was, in fact, the father of Liz Lev’s youngest child. Fr. Corcuera ordered Williams to immediately start withdrawing from public ministry.
Not only did Fr. Williams disobey these orders, Williams turned around and increased his presence and appearances on American broadcast television, essentially being the “face of the Catholic Church” and “Vatican Analyst” for both NBC and CBS news. Williams had also started a racket in book publishing. The business model was simple: have Legion of Christ slaves ghostwrite mass-market books on Catholic “morality” and “spirituality”, have glamour shot photos taken of the somatic narcissist Fr. Williams, slap Williams’ name and picture of the cover, and market the books to the kind of middle-aged American women who buy books by celebrity priests based upon how “sexy” and “dreamy” the priest is. Williams was pushing his brand and pushing it hard – after being ordered to withdraw from public ministry. All the while, he continued to carry on his sexual affair with Liz Lev OPENLY – frequently co-hosting parties at Lev’s million-dollar apartment overlooking the Vatican, serving as the bartender. Lev and Williams were often seen having romantic dinners in Rome, with Williams in civilian clothes, most notably at the infamous Roman restaurant Pergola. As if that weren’t enough, Williams was openly having sexual relationships with students at the Legion’s Rome University where Williams was, in case you have forgotten, the dean of the department of MORAL THEOLOGY. Classy.
And here’s the point, and the million-dollar question:
WHAT DID FR. THOMAS WILLIAMS KNOW ABOUT MARCIAL MACIEL AND HIS SEX CRIMES, AND WHEN DID HE KNOW IT?
Given how brazenly and aggressively Williams disobeyed direct orders and carried on after being told in 2005 to withdraw from public ministry, how can it not be thought possible that Fr. Williams knew about Maciel’s crimes, and the crimes of other top-level Legionaries, and LEVERAGED THAT KNOWLEDGE IN ORDER TO PROTECT HIMSELF AND MAINTAIN HIS OWN LIFE OF SEX AND MINOR CELEBRITY?
Why did Fr. Thomas Williams and his baby-mama’s mother, Mary Ann Glendon, spend years working together character assassinating anyone who tried to blow the whistle on Marcial Maciel? But I think the big tell came in January of ARSH 2014, when Williams, having just married Lev (who wore a snow white dress, naturally) in New York City a few weeks before, published an “interview” with the unctuous Robert Moynihan in which he claimed that he was unable to process how it could be possible (cue the violins…) that Marcial Maciel, a man that Williams “knew so well” could be anything other than the living saint the Legion racketeering cult claimed that he was.
Oh, COME ON. Maciel was carrying on a double life just exactly like Williams was carrying on a double life. Maciel’s double life was “possible” in exactly the same way Williams’ double life was “possible”.
I strongly, strongly suspect that Fr. Thomas Williams knew damn good and well what Maciel was, and what the other top-tier Legion toadies were – carrying on sexual affairs with both males and females, and how Legion seminarians were being sodomitically abused, and instead of screaming bloody murder and blowing the whistle and trying to PROTECT INNOCENT YOUNGSTERS as any morally sane person would, Fr. Williams proverbially rubbed his hands together, licked his chops, and considered his ability to blackmail the shit out of everyone around him and over him in the Legion as positively ideal.
Sit in stillness with that and consider what a complete monstrosity a human being would have to be to think and operate that way.
If you want to see something that will turn your stomach, watch this clip of Fr. Thomas Williams appearing on CBS news in ARSH 2009 hawking one of his ghostwritten glamour-shot “moral theology” books for lonely middle-aged women. The best part is when Williams says that to be a trusting person makes you a better person, and that trustworthy people are themselves more trusting. That’s rich coming from a dead-eyed psychopath liar whose entire life revolved around abusing trust. I also find it informative that Harry Smith’s question is, “What is the reward in trusting God?” and Williams never makes any mention whatsoever to the one and only real answer to that question – eternal life. Yeah, that’s telling.
And this is the point. It isn’t just the boy-raping homosexual monsters like McCarrick that are the problem. Cleaning them out, while certainly a step in the right direction, won’t even come close to solving the problem, because you will still have an army of Diabolical Narcissist psychopaths who actively want these monsters around and in power, so they can LEVERAGE THEIR CRIMES INTO THEIR OWN CAREER ADVANCEMENT, SECURITY AND POWER. If you can blackmail the shit out of the “boss”, then when you tuck yourself into bed at night, you can lull yourself to sleep with the warm, fuzzy feeling that comes with the knowledge that YOU are really the boss.
Thus, the bigger the crime, and the higher the office, the more valuable the commodity men like McCarrick and Maciel become.”
[i] ReGAIN editor has replaced the original text’s use of “sodomite” with “homosexual
In the video the tall, white, well-informed American brother is introducing the little dark ignorant, naive Mexican brothers to the Holy Novitiate and warning them about the cold winters; cold winters which will require a large amount of heating oil to prevent them from suffering from that cold Connecticut winter….think of chilblains for the poor tropical dark-skinned and diminutive Mexicans.
Sounds and looks to me like a total lack of cultural sensitivity, task and basic respect.
And this is posted just as news breaks of the Legion of Christ´s off-shore holdings of millions of dollars
Dear Lord, how long is the innocent and naive Catholic community going to take this and continue to contribute to an order whose yearly budget is on equal standing with the Vatican´s budget for the whole Church. Correct me if I am wrong.
Feel free to comment and discuss; with numbers, if you so wish
A privilege to be able to publish a serious work by a former Legionary of Christ who has given thought to how this religious organization works.
It has long been the contention of ReGAIN that the Legion has few, if any, doctrinal errors. That has never been the problem. As regards doctrine it is bland and repetitious.
What we have been questioning for the past few decades is
the organization’s modus operandi, i.e., how it operates, how it works, its internal operating system, how it recruits, maintains and expels or lets members go, how it raises enormous amounts of money, goes it alone without the local church and works almost exclusively with the upper classes; an aspect that only a small number of more perspicacious Catholics grasp.
Not so those who study “High Demand Groups”, such as International Cultic Studies, Cult Education’s Rick Ross, Combating Mind Control’s Steven Hassan, et.al. who all HAVE THE LEGION ON THEIR WATCH LISTS. At least 8 American bishops has seen through the Legion’s appearances, “Glittering Images”, as British novelist, Susan Howatch, describes them in the Anglican Church.
The author has also regaled us with something about Fr. Maciel’s Movement, Legion/Regnum Christi:
“Apostolates”, as in external good works, projects, schools, universities, support groups for the rich and famous, influential and rich businessmen, politicians…
“Apostolics” as in junior/minor seminarians, joining at high-school age or younger to discern their call to the priesthood(!!!)
Fr Maciel founded the Legionof Christ religious/priestly order 1941 ; then he founded the Regnum Christi organization (circa 1965) for lay people committed to the Legion at various levels of commitment. Later (1975) he began saying that the Regnum Christi was the over-arching movement embracing religious, clergy and lay people. But then, after revelations of Fr. Maciel’s triple life as a con-man (2009), the the Legion & Regnum wanted to distance themselves from the corrupt founder; the Regnum moved away from the Legion. Then a splinter group, Totus Tuus, separated from the Regnum Christi with the blessing of a Chilean cardinal….The Regnum is presently trying to restructure itself. Hope the reader can follow this labyrinthine journey.
Introduction: A former Legionary, now a diocesan priest, had four boxes of highly incriminating information in the back of his car. This driver crossed several states, gave the material to another contact, who read, noted and then passed all four boxes onto a now-deceased associate of ReGAIN; we’ll call him “Papa”. He was a well-known defender of the Faith and a highly respected Catholic lawyer. Papa himself said of the Legion, “This is a Satanic Cult!” And recently, someone remarked that the Legion was “worse than the Scientologists in lies and secrecy”.
Papa took the material in the four bankers’ boxes and went over it. Four days later he called one of the Regain members and asked, “Who else has seen this?” “Only three people – courier, receiver, and now you”. Papa said, “Don’t speak of this to ANYONE!” He said emphatically, even fearfully. “Do not let anyone – not a single person – know of this!” Papa then went about making copies, concealing them and dissimilating the originals to other trusted colleagues in high places. He said that all of the material revealed a vast financial network. It was like the “religion department” of a multi-national financial corporation; the Legionaries of Christ appeared to be their “largest portfolio”. He went on to note that the material he had read over indicated the best criminal minds and P.R.-advertisements that he had ever met. Most of the subject matter was just barely this side of the law, if not open money laundering; it was highly organized and meant to mirror the Catholic Church’s mission of the Gospel of Jesus Christ, but instead was the Gospel of Prosperity, entirely based on fraud, deceit and confidence games. Before his death, Papa gave this material to authorities in both the USA and the Vatican; it went by private courier and the receiver in the Vatican was quoted as saying, “I would not entrust this material to any hand but my own to give to the Holy Father – not up even one staircase!” Papa was well–connected. Soon after the first dossiers were sent to Rome, a core group was founded and the private meeting began with the question: “Is there anyone here, after considering this material, who does not think that the Legion/Regnum network is as efficient and highly sophisticated as Al-Qaeda”? Everyone was in somber agreement. Thus began the undercover side of Regain, just three years after Regain was officially founded in Dallas, when thirty former Legionaries and Regnum Christi members met for the first time – after the three Legionary goons who crashed the event were thrown out by the hotel security!
Professional recordings of that first Regain Conference were made in a closed room, which was checked for “bugs” after the troublesome Legionary “crashers” were evicted. Then, the former Legionaries and victims of Maciel gave gut-wrenching testimonies; they were addressed on the subject of “Abuse” by Catholic therapist, Suzanne Baars, daughter of Conrad Baars, the famous “doctor of the heart”. At the time of this first Regain meeting, a Cistercian priest at the nearby Abbey of Our Lady of Dallas remarked on the former Legionaries he had known: “They are like the prisoners who were brainwashed during the Korean War; they won’t talk to each other, but they will talk to an outsider.”
The pooled knowledge that comes to this Regain website, cumulatively, is hundreds of years experience of former LC/RC members. We are family or friends of present and former Legionaries and Regnum Christi members, but most of us were at one time seminarians or priests, consecrated or 3gf – all former Legionaries and Regnum Christi members. Each of us has one piece of a vast puzzle. Together, we’ve got a fairly complete map of the black heart of the Legionaries of Christ’s fraudulent intention; it achieves its evil ends by appealing to nobility, beauty and goodness – and uses the patrimony of the Catholic Church to get donations.
Despite our experience and commitment to the truth in this blog, we’re used to getting dismissals from those who could benefit most from our experience and efforts to reveal the lie. However, it is the Legion and Regnum Christi members who are the ones perpetuating the hall of mirrors in which they are themselves caught. They are being told by their Legionary spiritual directors to lie about their affiliation with the LC/RC. They cannot be spotted on a resume or job interview, at least not easily. Often there are large numbers of episcopal supporters on their websites, and there is always appeal to the presiding Holy Father – especially St. John Paul II – to give them religious credibility and cover. They are so vast that it is hard to imagine how they are to be dismantled without schism. “Papa” was told by his Vatican contact, “Sometimes we cannot do what needs to be done as fast as we want it done”. And on another occasion, he was told that the Legion had moved and hidden their money before the Vatican could move against them; they still do so. It is through their front-organizations, private enterprises, that they are arising from the ashes and, Phoenix-like, recreating new enterprises to fleece the faithful and fool the authorities.
Maybe, so we hope, you die-hards, who remain unconvinced or enthralled to the Legion or Regnum outfit, will see the light of the Divine Mercy – not the fraudulent light of Lucifer – and get out from being a part of this mafia-like organization. It would be wonderful if no one were ever fooled, ever again, by the lying Legion and if no one ever had to pucker up, in obedience and through mind-control, to the latest Legionary boss – who was once a man, someone’s child. What a tragedy. Those of us who can pray to a merciful and loving God pray that no one will be deceived or fooled again, and we pray for healing for those who have been wounded by this black lie. Those who still cannot pray, as recovery is not yet complete enough, often find understanding and consolation in popular music and art. They find grim laughter, but it is a place to begin the long road to freedom; for example, the last line from “Won’t Get Fooled Again” by The Who – “…Meet the New Boss/ Same as the Old boss…” https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=SHhrZgojY1Q
Thus, we are trying to expose the fraud behind the Legion and to reveal how they are trying to pull the wool over the Vatican’s collective eyes, yet once again. For us, it is to save the families and the kids that we’re working. This is Fraud Alert #2; stay tuned for Fraud Alerts # 3, 4 and 5. Read on…
There is the often-repeated game plan of the Legionaries of “take over/make over”, and the well-known internal directive for the LC/RC hunting for money and recruits: “You are only one person away from the person you want to get to.” The “take over/make over” is a simple plan that works. They target a legitimate and healthy organization for either shut-down or take over; the choice here determines how to go about achieving the goal – either buy out or infiltrate at the administrative level and take it over, or shut down the “competition”. The applicants for a high-level job are not obviously recognized as “Regnum Christi”, and in fact the members are told not to reveal that they are associated with Regnum Christi at all. The targeted entity for “take over/make over” is always good and it always offers something that is needed by the lying Legion to achieve its ends – sports, arts, culture, prayer, education, media, youth. The propaganda is first-rate, and it has just the sort of human appeal – and religious appeal – that can only be achieved by the most professional and highest paid Public Relations advisors and Image Consultants for their advertisements on the websits. This does not automatically make some snazzy “newbie” on the Internet an automatic Legion-affiliate, but it does suggest that one look into the pattern of behavior and presentation.
One of those patterns is the creation of a name or an icon that is a close copy of a well-established and legitimate organization or a religiously solid name. For instance, renaming the Le Mans Academy in Rolling Prairie, Indiana the Sacred Heart Academy. Older readers who are familiar with the Legion may remember that there were never religious names employed by Legionary schools – it was always Oaklawn or Everest – but when an apostolic school is less than 50 miles from the University of Notre Dame with its famous Basilica of the Sacred Heart, the name-sake sets up a certain brand-name recognition that disarms all suspicion: Heart speaks to Heart! And it looks like there is a connection beyond the fact that the Legion bought LeMans Academy from the C.S.C. order that founded Notre Dame, Holy Cross College and St Mary’s College.
The Legion and its affiliates create icons that imitate other icons, as we described in the previous posting “Fraud Alert”. Out of these copy-cat organizations, they can set up a new Internet presence that looks very appealing and slick, but may not be developed beyond a web-domain site. As reported elsewhere there are thousands of Internet domain names purchased out of the Anahuac University by the Legion, and these are incorporated, copyrighted and just waiting for the right moment and the single hour it would take to get the website up on the Internet, appearing as if it had been in existence for ten or more years!
Connect and reflect on what is revealed; think about how the “take over/make over” of the Legion/Regnum machinery works: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECyD . This is, as the banner warns, more of an advertisement than a reporting, because the entry was undoubtably made by a Regnum Christi member; it is about the youth organization, ECYD. It is the emphasis on youth recruiting that the Legion/Regnum is bent on reclaiming because youth means slave labor and the appeal of young faces; youthful slaves mean more money for the “plantation owners”! On the ECYD Wikipedia site, there is this explanation, which connects the better-known “family” of Regnum Christi organizations: ECyD is affiliated with several youth organizations under the Regnum Christi, and the Legionary of Christ umbrella. This affiliation is usually listed as being “Powered by EcyD.”For girls, these include Challenge, Pure Fashion, leading K4J and Mission Youth. The boys’ programs include ConQuest, Mission Youth, leading K4J and other leadership activities. Members of these other groups do not have to be ECyD members, but ECyD members are expected to be leaders within the groups. Participating in these organizations fulfill ECyD members’ apostolic commitments whether through activities in their clubs (Challenge or Conquest) or missionary work through Mission Youth.
The important phrase for understanding how the LC/RC works can be found in the quotation cited above, which is this: “…ECYD members are expected to be leaders within the groups.” While the application is specifically to the above-named clubs, it is also to other, outside Catholic organizations that the ECYD members are expected to assume leadership roles – and thereby corral the organization with the LC/RC influence, administration and, ultimately, complete take over. This is how Familia was taken over from its founders, Libby and Paul Sellors, who sued the Legion for copyright and won. It is also how the Couple to Couple League was coopted (and its message compromised) by Regnum Christi; the demoting and ousting of the original founders, John and Sheila Kippley, has been repeated as a pattern, beyond Familia and CCL: founders of numerous other organizations and contributions to the Legion have had their apostolates and intellectual property stolen by the Legion, which then quickly copyrights the material as their own.
This is by way of pointing to a possible “take over/make over” in progress, by way of a fusion of Catholic Youth Ministry and Life Teen. It may be the Legion that is behind this, but that is not certain. However, when you have several ex-LC/RC members who “smell smoke” and learn two years later that the smoke was fire, it might be a good idea to point out the signs to look for. They never change their game-plan, which makes it somewhat easier to follow and to connect the dots.
One of the first indicators is their expensive and sophisticated website. All of the Legion’s websites are the best of the best. They could fool anyone into thinking that there is a reality behind the images of happy people and good works – even if there are no real people at all and no good works, just the appearance. This is like the Soviet’s use of the Potemkin Villages, which were fake towns and staged cheerfulness for visitors to see how good life was in the Communist controlled U.S.S.R.
A single highly professional webmaster could design and monitor a hundred websites or more, if he or she were well enough paid for this service. The Life Teen and Catholic Youth Ministry websites are both sophisticated and elaborate: http://lifeteen.com/cym/ On this website, it states explicitly the union between Catholic Youth Ministry and Life Teen. And on the same site, there is a link to an upcoming conference for the fused entities at a Summer Catholic Youth Ministry Convention: http://lifeteen.com/events/catholic-youth-ministry-convention/. Is there any former Regnum Christi or Legionary who does not remember the Mega-conferences of the past – Chicago’s Union Pier, Washington D.C., St Louis, Atlanta, Indianapolis, are just a few – where Maciel came mincing in with eyes closed and hands held up in benediction, a smile on his face and his dyed hair perfectly coiffed? Remember the confessional stations that required those who were going to confession sign up by name and time slot, all the better to connect the confessional material with the individual, and the better to use for blackmail later on? Is there anyone who has this living memory, as the youth of today do not, who does not experience some discomfort or foreboding upon looking at this featured Catholic Youth Ministry Convention? Will this draw off the next generation of our children? Are these abusers and deceivers driving a different van, but still the same kidnappers who were lying, cheating and exploiting as before?
From these websites, it might well be deduced that Catholic Youth Ministry and Life Teen (founded in 1985 in Mesa, AZ) are one and the same, or in the process of morphing, one into the other, and both under the control of the shadow-hand of the Legion. Catholic Youth Ministry is a division or front for “Life Teen” which was begun as a charismatic group, that the Legion was trying to infiltrate and “play footsie” under the table with – about ten years ago, we are told — but the founder, Fr. Dale Fushek, (see: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Dale_Fushek ) was a sexual deviant and pedophile, who was defrocked and laicized. The Legion had to tend to its own scandals, and so backed off from its close association with Life Teen– at least for a while. In fact (Ahem!) Regain did an exposé on the founder of Life Teen two years ago; the article can be read here from our own archives: https://regainnetwork.org/2014/11/28/life-teen-founder-arrested-on-sexual-misconduct-charges/ Dale Fushek has continued his charismatic Praise and Worship Center, even though he was charged with heavy crimes, but lightly punished through plea bargaining with a fine of $250 and a year of probation.
There are many similarities between the Legion and Life Teen, especially in the founders, as the Regain article states. However, time passes and a new generation of young people, now teenagers and young adults, remember nothing of the scandals of Maciel and Fushek. Even so, the long-established and respectable name of CYO, Catholic Youth Organization, may be the real target, after the fusion of Life Teen and Catholic Youth Ministry. Catholic Youth Ministry is very close in title to Catholic Youth Organization, which can so easily be imitated. If the take-over/make-over is not effective, then the rival organization – possibly the CYO – is simply dwarfed by the sheer size of the rival organization, which offers the same program and much more!
The new conferences, camps, leadership seminars, the new organizations, the charismatic emphasis on high-emotion, the mind-control tactics – these cannot be ignored when the dots of CYO, CYM, Life Teen and Regnum Christi/Legionaries of Christ are all connected. The money being poured into the CYM-Life Teen fusion is coming from somewhere. When one considers the investment-need to have new, youthful recruits, who are naïve about the Legion’s fraud and duplicity, the suggestion that it is coming from the Legion’s hidden coffers as a money source is not far-fetched. There is a way, however, to recognize on the websites the signs of deceit and many can connect the dots, even if the smell of sulfur eludes them: boasting, happy-happy young people, many camps and conferences, heavy endorsement by episcopal sponsors, teaching aids in DVDs and workbooks for “leaders”, appeal to religious tradition and piety, and the Gospel of Prosperity behind Eucharistic-centered and appealing programs; this latter fooled many, many of us and continues to fool the hierarchy. The Legion is busily reinventing all its money-making, youth recruiting organizations by new names because they desperately need something to give them new cover and image-laundering. At one youth conference in 2008 in Indianapolis, there was a Legionary/Regnum Christi booth that featured a manikin in clerical double-breasted garb of the Legionaries. Why would they do this? Perhaps because the real men in the Legion were so traumatized by the revelations about the founder’s double life that they were untrustworthy at such a conference.
The Legion has used its domination of the media and the press and radio as a way to legitimize itself and to control the opposition. It is a hall of mirrors, but that’s for another posting…
SEPARANDO EL TRIGO DE LA CIZAÑA: 20 SIGNOS PROBLEMÁTICOS DE UN NUEVO GRUPO RELIGIOSO.
Peter J. Vere, J.C.L., M.C.L.
Desde la clausura del Concilio Vaticano II, numerosos grupos nuevos han surgido dentro de la Iglesia. Muchos de ellos comienzan su andadura con buen paso y se mantienen con los pies sobre la tierra, otros sin embargo terminan con los pies “fuera del tiesto”. Esto puede deberse a su pobreza doctrinal o a prácticas cuestionables.
Sifting the Wheat from the Tares: 20 Signs of Trouble in a New Religious Group
Peter J. Vere, J.C.L., M.C.L.
Since the closing of the Second Vatican Council, a number of new groups have arisen within the Church. Whereas many new groups start off on the right foot and maintain solid footing, others fall by the wayside. This may be due to poor doctrine or questionable practices.
Red Flags and Warning Signs
As a canon lawyer, I am often asked what the Church looks for when assessing new groups forming within the Church. While the following is by no means exhaustive, it presents a pretty good list of red flags and warning signs that would give any canonist pause when examining a new association.
Banderas rojas y señales de alerta
Como canonista (abogado especializado en Derecho Canónico), suelen preguntarme qué es lo que busca la Iglesia cuando se asesora a nuevos grupos dentro de su seno. Aunque la siguiente relación no pretende ser exhaustiva, presenta un buen listado de banderas rojas y signos de alarma que deben alertar a cualquier canonista que se disponga a examinar una nueva asociación.
Fr. Francis G. Morrisey, OMI is well-known to every student of religious law. As a lifelong member of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate, Fr. Morrisey possesses much experience living in religious community. He is also a professor of canon law at Saint Paul University and a former consultor to the Congregation for Religious — the curial dicastery in Rome that oversees various forms of consecrated life within the Church. This has given him much experience examining and assessing numerous religious orders and new groups within the Church.
Fr. Francis G. Morrisey, OMI es bien conocido para cualquier estudiante de derecho religioso. Como miembro a lo largo de toda la vida de los Oblatos de María Inmaculada, Fr. Morrisey posee mucha experiencia en la vida religiosa en comunidad. Es profesor de Derecho canónico en la Universidad San Pablo y ha sido consultor de la Congregación para la Vida Religiosa -el dicasterio de la Iglesia que supervisa las distintas formas de vida consagrada. Ello le ha aportado mucha experiencia para examinar y asesorar a numerosas órdenes religiosas y nuevos grupos dentro de la Iglesia.
Several years ago, Fr. Morrisey proposed 15 criteria, or warning signs, when evaluating new associations within the Church. While these warning signs are not law per se — that is, law in the sense of legislation — most canonists accept these criteria as a solid guide when examining and assessing new associations within the Church. For those with access to a good ecclesiastical library, Fr. Morrisey presents and explains these fifteen criteria in his article “Canonical Associations…” published in Informations, vol. 26, (2000), pp 88-109.
Hace varios años, Fr. Morrisey propuso 15 criterios o signos de alarma a la hora de evaluar nuevas asociaciones dentro de la Iglesia. Aunque dichos criterios no son ley por sí mismos -es decir, no son normativos- muchos canonistas los aceptan como una guía consolidada cuando hay que examinar y asesorar nuevas asociaciones en la Iglesia. Para aquellos que tengan acceso a una buena biblioteca eclesiástica, Fr. Morrisey presenta y explica esos 15 criterios en su artículo “Canonical Associations…” (Asociaciones canónicas…) publicado en Informations, vol. 26, (2000), pp 88-109.
For those without access to an ecclesiastical library, or for those looking for an explanation more accessible to the average layperson, here are Fr. Morrisey’s 15 criteria along with my personal explanation of what they mean:
Para quienes no tengan acceso a una biblioteca eclesiástica, o para aquéllos que estén buscando una explicación más accesible para el laico promedio, aquí se enuncian los 15 criterios del Padre Morrisey junto a una explicación personal de su significado:
Fr. Morrisey’s 15 Warning Signs-
15 SeŇales de Alerta del Padre Morrisey
“Total” obedience to the pope
Many will find this first warning sign surprising. As Catholics, are we not all called to obey the Holy Father? Indeed, we are. When a new association sincerely seeks to obey and follow the teachings of the Holy Father, canonists are for the most part satisfied the group is doing what Catholic groups ought to do.
Nevertheless, some new associations abuse Catholic sensibility in this regard. These groups cite “total obedience to the Holy Father” when what they really mean is partial obedience to selected teachings of the Holy Father, without embracing the entire papal message. Additionally, when challenged over their partial obedience, these groups will appeal to their “total” reliance upon the Holy Father in an attempt to bypass the authority of the diocesan bishop. This brings us to Fr. Morrisey’s second warning sign.
Obediencia “total” al Papa.
Muchos puede que encuentren sorprendente este primer signo de alarma. ¿No estamos llamados a obedecer al Santo Padre como católicos? Sí, lo estamos. Cuando una nueva asociación busca sinceramente obedecer y seguir las enseñanzas del Santo Padre, los canonistas están para asegurar que dicho grupo cumple lo que todos los grupos católicos deben hacer.
Sin embargo, algunas asociaciones católicas nuevas abusan de la sensibilidad católica al respecto. Esos grupos citan la “total obediencia al Santo Padre” cuando lo que realmente quieren decir es obediencia parcial a determinadas enseñanzas del Santo Padre, sin abrazar el mensaje papal al completo. Por añadidura, cuando sean advertidos de que su obediencia es parcial, estos grupos apelarán a su obediencia “total” para intentar hacer un puente a la autoridad del obispo diocesano. Esto nos lleva al segundo signo de alarma que señala el Padre Morrisey.
No sense of belonging to the local church
As Catholics, we belong to the universal Church. Yet we also belong to the local church community, meaning a local parish and a local diocese. Even the Holy Father is not exempt in this regard; he is, after all, the Bishop of Rome and thus belongs to a local Roman Church. Thus the ministry and apostolate of any association should focus on the local church. If a new association or religious order has no sense of belonging to the local church, then this becomes cause for concern.
Ausencia de sentido de pertenencia a la iglesia local.
Como católicos pertenecemos a la Iglesia universal. También pertenecemos a la comunidad de la iglesia local, entendiendo por ello la parroquia local y la diócesis local. Ni siquiera el Papa está exento a este respecto; él es, después de todo, el Obispo de Roma y por ello pertenece a la iglesia local de Roma. Por tanto, el ministerio y el apostolado de cualquier asociación debería enfocarse hacia la iglesia local. Si una nueva asociación u orden religiosa no posee sentido de pertenencia a la iglesia local, entonces hay motivo para preocuparse.
Lack of true cooperation with diocesan authorities
To belong to the local church, one must cooperate with local diocesan authorities. After all, Christ instituted His Church as a hierarchy. Within this hierarchy, our Lord instituted the office of bishop to oversee a portion of Christ’s faithful. Thus the local bishop, and not a particular religious group or association, bears ultimate responsibility for the care of souls within a particular geographical location. If a new association refuses or impedes cooperation between itself and the local diocesan authorities, then its fidelity to the Church is questionable.
Falta de cooperación auténtica o verdadera con las autoridades diocesanas.
Por pertenecer a la iglesia local, uno debe cooperar con las autoridades diocesanas locales. Después de todo, Cristo instituyó Su Iglesia como una jerarquía. Con esta jerarquía, nuestro Señor instituyó el oficio diocesano para supervisar una parte de los fieles de Cristo. Por tanto, el obispo local, y no una asociación o grupo religioso, tiene la última responsabilidad del cuidado de las almas en una localidad geográfica particular. Si una nueva asociación se niega o impide la cooperación con las autoridades locales diocesanas, entonces su fidelidad a la Iglesia es cuestionable.
Making use of lies and falsehoods to obtain approval
As Catholics, we concern ourselves with speaking the truth. After all, our Lord denounces Satan as the “Father of Lies.” So any new association should be truthful in how it presents itself to its members, Church authorities, and the outside world. This is not just a matter of basic honesty; any group or association that resorts to falsehoods to gain approval is likely concealing a deeper problem.
The Church understands that every association, particularly when the association is new, makes mistakes when engaging in ministry or apostolate. When an association is honest, however, these problems are easily identified and quickly corrected. This in turn increases the likelihood of the new association succeeding within the Church.
Hacer uso de la mentira y la falsedad para obtener la aprobación.
Como católicos, nos obligamos a nosotros mismos a hablar con la verdad. Después de todo, nuestro Señor denuncia a Satanás como el “Padre de la Mentira”. Así, cualquier nueva asociación debería ser auténtica en cómo se presenta a sí misma ante sus miembros, ante las autoridades de la Iglesia y ante el mundo exterior. Esto no es una cuestión de honestidad elemental; cualquier grupo o asociación que se valga de la mentira para conseguir la aprobación está ocultando un problema más profundo.
La Iglesia comprende que cualquier asociación, particularmente cuando es nueva, comete errores cuando se involucra en el ministerio o el apostolado. Cuando una asociación es honesta, sin embargo, esos problemas son fácilmente identificados y rápidamente corregidos. Eso aumenta el éxito de la nueva asociación en el seno de la Iglesia.
Too soon an insistence on placing all goods in common
While the Church has a history of associations and religious orders in which members place all their goods in common, the decision to do so should come after a reasonable period of careful discernment. Placing one’s goods in common in not for everyone, and the consequences of such a decision are lifelong. Additionally, the potential for abuse by those who administer the common goods is great. Therefore, canonists frown upon any insistence by an association that its new or potential members place their goods in common.
Due to the fact that modern times see less stability in common life, with members sometimes opting to leave after a number of years, the most prudent handling of goods in common is to place them in trust until a member dies. That way, if the member leaves, the goods are available to meet his or her needs outside of the community.
Prematura insistencia en la necesidad de poner en común los bienes.
Aunque la Iglesia tiene una larga historia de asociaciones y órdenes religiosas en las que los miembros ponen todos sus bienes en común, la decisión para hacerlo debería tomarse tras un periodo razonable de cuidadoso discernimiento. Poner los bienes en común no es para todo el mundo, la decisión de hacerlo afecta de por vida. Por otra parte, el abuso potencial de quienes administran esos bienes es grande. Por tanto, los canonistas tendrán que fruncir el ceño ante cualquier insistencia de una asociación nuevas para que sus potenciales miembros pongan sus bienes en común.
Debido a la vida en común es menos estable en los tiempos modernos, con miembros que se plantean abandonar tras cierto número de años, lo más prudente en cuanto al manejo de bienes en común es ponerlos en custodia (fideicomiso) hasta la muerte del miembro. De ese modo, si el miembro abandona, sus bienes están disponibles para sus necesidades fuera de la comunidad.
Claiming special revelations or messages leading to the founding of the group
Although this represents a warning sign, it is not absolute. The Church recognizes the presence of many legitimate apparitions and private revelations throughout her history. Yet not all alleged apparitions or special revelations turn out to be true. Therefore, the Church must further investigate any claims of special revelations or messages — particularly when they become the catalyst for founding a new association. If, however, a new association refuses to divulge or submit its alleged revelations or special messages to the Church, then this immediately calls into question the authenticity of both the association and the alleged apparition.
Reivindicación de revelaciones o mensajes especiales para la fundación del grupo.
Aunque esto representa un signo de alarma, no es un signo absoluto. La Iglesia reconoce la presencia de muchas apariciones legítimas y revelaciones privadas a lo largo de su historia. Sin embargo, no todas las supuestas apariciones, revelaciones especiales o mensajes son probados como verdaderas. Por tanto, la Iglesia debe investigar cualquier pretensión de revelaciones especiales o mensajes, en particular cuando se convierten en el catalizador para la fundación de una nueva asociación. Si una nueva asociación se opone a la divulgación o al sometimiento de las supuestas revelaciones a la Iglesia, entonces es procedente cuestionarse inmediatamente la autenticidad tanto de la asociación como de las supuestas apariciones o revelaciones.
Special status of the founder or foundress
Of course, the founder or foundress will always enjoy a special role in the founding of a new association or community. Nevertheless, in all other respects he or she should be a member just like everyone else. This means that he or she is similarly bound to the customs, disciplines, and constitutions of the community. If the founder or foundress demands special meals, special living quarters, special dispensations from the rules imposed upon other members of the community, or any other special treatment, then this is a clear warning sign. It is of special concern if the founder or foundress claims exemption from the requirements of Christian morality due to his or her status (see point 15 below).
Papel privilegiado del fundador o la fundadora.
Por supuesto, el fundador o la fundadora siempre disfrutará de un papel especial en la fundación de una nueva asociación o comunidad. Sin embargo, en el resto de aspectos debería ser un miembro exactamente igual que los demás. Esto significa que el fundador o la fundadora están sujetos a las mismas costumbres, disciplinas y constituciones que la comunidad. Si el fundador o la fundadora reclama comidas especiales, viviendas especiales, dispensaciones especiales de las reglas impuestas a los demás miembros de la comunidad, o cualquier otro tratamiento especial, entonces esto constituye un claro signo de alarma. Será de especial preocupación si el fundador o la fundadora solicita la excepción de los requerimientos de la moral cristiana debido a su estatus (ver punto 15).
Special and severe penances imposed
As St. Thomas Aquinas teaches, virtue is found in the middle, between two extremes. Therefore, any penances imposed upon members of the community should be both moderate and reasonable. Special and severe penances are not signs of virtue — rather, they are signs of extremism.
Imposición de penitencias especiales y severas.
Como enseñaba Santo Tomás de Aquino, en el término medio está la virtud, entre ambos extremos. Por tanto, cualquier penitencia impuesta a los miembros de la comunidad debería ser al mismo tiempo moderada y razonable. Las penitencias especiales y severas no son signo de virtud. Más bien al contrario: son signos de extremismo.
Multiplicity of devotions, without any doctrinal unity among them
The purpose of sacramentals and other devotions is to bring us closer to Christ and the sacraments. Hence sacramentals are not superstitions. A new association or community should insure that any special devotions or sacramentals unite its members to Christ, the sacraments, and the mission of the association. For example, praying three Hail Marys in front of the statue of St. Joseph while the Blessed Sacrament is exposed does not offer such unity. Eucharistic Adoration, Marian devotion and devotion to St. Joseph are all good in themselves, however, they should be offered either individually or collectively as devotion to the Holy Family. They should not be offered simultaneously.
Multiplicidad de devociones, sin ninguna unión doctrinal entre ellas.
El propósito de los sacramentales y de otras devociones es ofrecernos más cercanía a Cristo y a los sacramentos. Por tanto, los sacramentales no son superstición. Una nueva comunidad o asociación debería garantizar que cualquier devoción especial o sacramental sirva para unir a sus miembros a Cristo, a sus sacramentos y a la misión de la asociación. Por ejemplo, rezar tres Avemarías delante de la estatua de San José mientras se expone el Santísimo no aporta esa unidad. La Adoración Eucarística, la devoción mariana y la devoción a San José son buenas en sí mismas, sin embargo, deberían ofrecerse por separado o colectivamente como devoción a la Sagrada Familia. No deben ofrecerse simultáneamente.
Promotion of “fringe” elements in the life of the Church
As previously mentioned, every association or organization within the Church should exist to serve the needs of Christ’s faithful. Therefore, canonists view any association that exists solely to serve fringe elements — whether these elements be special apparitions, private revelations, or extreme social or political agendas, etc. — with suspicion.
This is not to deny that extraordinary events may sometimes become the catalyst for a new association or religious order. For example, St. Francis of Assisi founded the Franciscans after receiving a locution from our Lord to “Rebuild My Church.” Nevertheless, St. Francis did not found the Franciscans with the intention of promoting his internal locution. Rather, the internal locution inspired St. Francis to found an order that would serve the Church.
Promoción de elementos “marginales” (periféricos) en la vida de la Iglesia.
Como se mencionó anteriormente, cualquier asociación u organización dentro de la Iglesia católica debería existir como servicio a las necesidades de la fe (de los fieles) en Cristo. Por tanto, los canonistas observan con suspicacia toda aquella asociación que exista exclusivamente para servir a elementos marginales -tanto si son apariciones especiales como revelaciones privadas, o proyectos de obras sociales o políticas, etc.-
Esto no significa negar que eventos extraordinarios puedan a veces convertirse en el catalizador de una nueva asociación u orden religiosa. Por ejemplo, San Francisco de Asís fundó los franciscanos después de haber recibido de nuestro Señor la petición “Reconstruye mi Iglesia”. Sin embargo, San Francisco no fundó los franciscanos con la intención de promover su llamada interna. Más bien fue la llamada interna la que inspiró a San Francisco la fundación de una orden que sirviera a la Iglesia.
Within the Church, one finds the three traditional vows of poverty, chastity, and obedience. Additional or special vows present numerous problems. Often, special vows are reduced to means through which superiors unduly control members of the community or association. The danger is particularly pointed where a special vow cannot be externally verified. Take “joy” for example; one can usually appeal to objective evidence that someone is not living a life of poverty, chastity and/or obedience, but as a feeling, “joy” is too subjective to be judged in an objective manner.
Dentro de la Iglesia, uno encuentra los tres votos tradicionales de pobreza, castidad y obediencia. Introducir votos añadidos o especiales presenta numerosos problemas. A menudo los votos especiales se reducen a ser formas de control indebidas de los superiores sobre los miembros de la comunidad o asociación. El peligro es particularmente señalado cuando un voto especial no puede ser externamente verificado. Estar alegre, por ejemplo. Uno puede apelar a la evidencia objetiva para saber si alguien no está viviendo su vida conforme a la pobreza, a la castidad y/o a la obediencia, pero en cambio un sentimiento como es la “alegría” es algo demasiado subjetivo como para poder ser valorado objetivamente.
Absolute secrecy imposed on members
While some discretion and privacy is necessary within any Church community or association, secrecy should never be absolute unless one is a confessor preserving the seal of confession. Therefore, any association or organization that imposes absolute secrecy upon its members should be approached with the utmost caution. Members should always be free to approach diocesan officials and the Holy See if certain problems arise within the community that are not dealt with in an adequate fashion. Similarly, since these associations exist to serve the Church, all members should be allowed to converse freely and honestly with members of the Church hierarchy when requested.
Imposición del secreto absoluto a los miembros.
Mientras que cierta discreción y privacidad son necesarias dentro de cualquier comunidad o asociación de la Iglesia, el secreto nunca debería ser absoluto excepto para quien sea confesor respecto a salvaguardar el secreto confesional. Por tanto, cualquier asociación u organización que imponga el silencio absoluto entre sus miembros debería ser abordada con la mayor cautela. Los miembros deberían ser siempre libres para dirigirse a los funcionarios diocesanos con el Espíritu Santo si ciertos problemas surgen dentro de la comunidad y no se resuelven de la manera más adecuada. De modo similar, puesto que esas asociaciones existen para servir a la Iglesia, todos los miembros deberían estar autorizados para conversar con total libertad y honestidad con los miembros de la jerarquía eclesiástica cuando fuese necesario.
Control over the choice of confessors and spiritual directors
Confession and spiritual direction concern the internal forum — that is, those things that are private to a person’s conscience. Within reasonable limits, a person should be free to choose his or her confessor and spiritual director. On the other hand, obedience to one’s superiors in carrying out an association’s apostolate or ministry concerns the external forum. In other words, the latter are public actions that can be externally verified.
The roles of confessor and spiritual director should never be confused with the role of superior. Nor should there even be the appearance of confusion. Of particular concern to canonists is when a superior imposes himself as confessor and/or spiritual director of a member under his charge. After all, a superior will have to make decisions about a member’s future — and in so doing there exists a strong temptation to make use of information gathered under the seal of confession.
Control sobre la elección de confesores y directores espirituales.
La confesión y la dirección espiritual concierne al foro interno -esto es, al conjunto de cosas que son privadas de la conciencia personal. Dentro de límites razonables, una persona debería ser libre para elegir a su confesor y a su director espiritual. Por otra parte, la obediencia a los superiores en cuanto al apostolado desarrollado por una asociación o ministro concierne al foro externo. En otras palabras, el último está constituido por acciones públicas que pueden ser verificadas externamente.
Los papeles de confesor y de director espiritual nunca deberían confundirse con el papel de superior. No debería siquiera haber lugar para la confusión. Una cuestión de particular importancia para los canonistas es cuando un superior se impone a sí mismo como confesor y/o director espiritual de un miembro a su cargo. Después de todo un superior tendrá que tomar decisiones sobre el futuro de ese miembro -y actuando así existe una tentación fuerte a hacer uso de información reservada bajo el secreto de confesión.
Serious discontent with the previous institute of which certain members were part
Like some of the other red flags presented, this warning sign is not absolute. Sometimes, a very good reason exists for a member’s discontent with his or her previous institute. Nevertheless, serious discontent with a previous institute should be carefully examined. In most cases, such discontent points to some deeper problems with the individual, particularly if he or she has a history of “conflict of personalities.”
Serio descontento con el instituto anterior o con ciertos miembros que formaron parte del mismo.
Como algunas de las anteriores banderas rojas que se han presentado, este signo de advertencia no es absoluto. A veces, una muy buena razón existe para el descontento de un miembro con su instituto anterior. En cualquier caso, siempre debería ser examinado seriamente. En muchos casos dicho descontento señala algunos problemas profundos con el individuo, particularmente si éste tuvo una historia de “conflicto de personalidades”.
(Editor ReGAIN: conflictos del Padre Maciel con la orden de los Jesuitas)
Any form of sexual misconduct as a basis
This warning sign is fairly self-explanatory. The Church’s teaching is clear when it comes to sexual morality. If sexual immorality is the basis for a new group or association, then the association ought to be avoided. Additionally, one should immediately report this to the competent Church authority.
Cualquier forma de mala conducta sexual como base.
Este signo de alarma es de por sí casi definitivo. Las enseñanzas de la Iglesia son claras ante la moral sexual. Si la inmoralidad sexual es la base de un nuevo grupo o asociación, entonces la asociación debería ser evitada. Adicionalmente, uno debería inmediatamente poner esto en conocimiento de la autoridad eclesiástica competente.
Five Additional Warning Signs from the International Cultic Studies Association
In addition to the fifteen warning signs presented by Fr. Morrisey, Dr. Michael Langone has assembled a list of thirteen criteria by which many cult experts judge a group to be a cult. Dr. Langone is a counseling psychologist and the Executive Director of the International Cultic Studies Association (ICSA). He has spent nearly 30 years researching and writing about cults, and for 20 years has been the editor of the Cultic Studies Journal. The following five criteria have been adapted from Dr. Langone’s thirteen criteria and applied to the context of Catholic associations. Some canon lawyers find them useful when evaluating the legitimacy of a new association within the Church.
Cinco Alertas adicionales de la Asociación Internacional para el Estudio de las Sectas (ICSA)
En adición a los quince signos de alarma presentados por Fr. Morrisey, el Dr. Michael Langone ha aportado una lista de trece criterios mediante los cuales los expertos en sectas evalúan un grupo como tal. El Dr. Langone es terapeuta psicólogo y el Director Ejecutivo de la Asociación Internacional de Estudio de las Sectas (ICSA). Ha pasado cerca de 30 años investigando y escribiendo sobre sectas y durante 20 años ha sido el editor de la Revista de Estudios de Sectas. Los siguientes cinco criterios han sido adaptados a partir de los trece criterios del Dr. Langone y adaptados al contexto de las asociaciones católicas. Algunos abogados canónicos los encuentran muy útlies cuando evalúan la legitimidad de una nueva asociación dentro de la Iglesia.
The group is preoccupied with bringing in new members.
Of course every new association, if it wishes to grow, will seek to increase its membership. Such growth, however, should come because potential members identify with the mission or apostolate of the association. Additionally, members should only join after a reasonable period of discernment. Thus, any association whose main focus is to bring in new members, to the exclusion of other acts of apostolate or ministry, should be carefully examined.
El grupo se obsesiona con la incorporación de nuevos miembros.
Por supuesto cada nueva asociación, si quiere crecer, buscará incrementar el número de miembros. Dicho crecimiento, sin embargo, debería ir unido al hecho de que haya miembros potenciales que se identifiquen con la misión o el apostolado de la asociación. Además los miembros deberían solo incorporarse tras un período razonable de discernimiento. Por tanto, cualquier asociación cuyo objetivo principal sea incorporar nuevos miembros, excluyendo otros actos de apostolado o ministerio, deberían ser cuidadosamente examinados.
The group is preoccupied with making money.
Like the previous criterion, there is nothing wrong per se with raising money for one’s association or apostolate. After all, even Christ and the Apostles used money. Nevertheless, money should be a means of carrying out legitimate ministry and apostolic work. Raising money should never be an end in itself. Additionally, the means employed in raising money should be honest and transparent.
El grupo está obsesionado con hacer dinero.
Tal como el criterio anterior, recaudar dinero para una asociación o apostolado no es malo per se. Después de todo, incluso Cristo y los apóstoles utilizaban dinero. Sin embargo, el dinero o la financiación debería ser un medio legítimo para ejercer el ministerio y el trabajo apostólico. Recaudar dinero nunca debería ser un fin en sí mismo. Además los medios empleados para recaudar la financiación deberían ser honestos y transparentes.
The Catholic Church recognizes that by virtue of their baptism, a certain equality exists among Christ’s faithful, regardless of whether one belongs to the lay, religious, or clerical state. Additionally, among religious orders and newer forms of consecrated life, the Church recognizes different types of charisms. Some are active, in that they tend heavily toward active ministry and apostolic work. Others are contemplative, in that they tend more toward prayer and contemplation. Of course, you find everything in between. Therefore, any Church association that only recognizes vocations to its association is not thinking with the mind of the Church. Nor are those associations with a polarized mentality that divide their vocations from those of the rest of the Church.
La Iglesia Católica reconoce que por virtud del Bautismo existe cierta igualdad entre los fieles de Cristo, con independencia de si alguien es laico, religioso o pertenece al estado clerical. Entre las órdenes religiosas y las más nuevas formas de vida consagrada, la Iglesia reconoce distintos tipos de carismas. Algunos son activos, tienden fuertemente al trabajo de apostolado y al ministerio activos. Otros son contemplativos, tienden más hacia la oración y la contemplación. Por supuesto, hay infinidad de grados intermedios entre ambos. Por tanto, cualquier asociación de la Iglesia que solo reconozca vocaciones a su asociación no está pensando en comunión con la Iglesia, tampoco aquellas asociaciones con una mentalidad polarizada que separan sus vocaciones de las del resto de la Iglesia.
The leadership induces feeling of guilt in members to control them.
One’s vocation within the Church should be freely chosen. Similarly, obedience is something a superior should inspire among those under his or her charge. While it sometimes happens that a superior must impose his or her will upon a particular member, obedience should never be coerced through illicit or improper means. Additionally, if a superior must constantly impose his will upon the majority of the membership through coercive means, then this proves problematical to the long-term health of the specific association or religious group.
El líder(azgo) induce sentimientos de culpa en los miembros para controlarlos.
La vocación de uno dentro de la Iglesia debería ser libremente elegida. Igualmente, la obediencia es algo que un superior debería inspirar entre aquellos que se encuentran a su cargo. A veces sucede que un superior debe imponer su voluntad sobre un miembro en particular, pero la obediencia nunca debería ser coercitiva empleando medios ilícitos e impropios. Además, si un superior debe estar continuamente imponiendo su voluntad sobre la mayoría de los miembros empleando medios coercitivos, entonces esto será un problema a largo plazo para la salud de esa asociación específica o grupo religioso.
The group completely severs its members from the outside world
Granted, one must be careful here. After all, the Church has a long and honored tradition of cloistered and contemplative orders that sever themselves from the day-to-day activities of the outside world. Nevertheless, even those orders of the most strict observance encourage some forms of outside communication with friends, family and the world. Therefore, it is cause for concern when an association, particularly if the association is lay-based, encourages its members to completely sever ties with friends, family, and the outside world. Additionally, one should beware those associations that encourage or require their members to live and/or socialize only with other members of the same group or association. One should also beware if association or friendships with people outside of the group are encouraged only when they are used to further the goals of the group.
El grupo hace romper completamente la relación de sus miembros con el mundo exterior.
Garantizado, uno debe tener mucho cuidado con esto. Después de todo, la Iglesia tiene una larga y honorable tradición de órdenes contemplativas y de clausura que hacen a sus miembros vivir las actividades del día a día en aislamiento respecto del mundo exterior. Sin embargo, incluso esas órdenes que pertenecen a la más estricta observancia animan a mantener ciertos tipos de comunicación con amigos, familiares y el mundo. Por tanto, es causa de preocupación cuando una asociación, particularmente cuando está formada por laicos, anima a sus miembros a romper completamente sus vínculos con amigos, familiares y el mundo exterior. En suma, uno debería estar atento a aquellas asociaciones que animan o exigen a sus miembros a vivir o relacionarse socialmente solo con otros miembros de la misma asociación o grupo. Incluso debería estar atento cuando se anima a los miembros a asociarse o relacionarse con amistades de fuera del grupo solo para cumplir objetivos del grupo.
Each new association within the Church has its own unique charism. Nevertheless, the goal of every new association should be to fulfill a particular need within the Church. An association becomes dangerous if allowed to place its own interests, or those of its founder and/or leader, before the common good of the Church — both local and universal.
If more than a couple of the above warning signs are found to be present while assessing a particular association, then Catholics ought to be wary about becoming involved with the group in question. Such an association is likely to encounter several difficulties with legitimate Church authorities and possibly even degenerate into a cult — a destructive group that does psychological harm and poses a spiritual danger to its members.
Cada nueva asociación dentro de la Iglesia tiene su propio carisma único. Sin embargo el objetivo de cada nueva asociación debería ser llenar una necesidad particular de la Iglesia. Una asociación se convierte en peligrosa cuando se asienta sobre sus propios intereses, sobre los de su líder y/o fundador, anteponiéndolos a la primordial comunión con la Iglesia, tanto local como universal.
Si más de un par de los signos de alarma anteriores se encuentran presentes en una asociación particular al ser evaluada, entonces los católicos deberían ser muy cautelosos a la hora de participar en ese grupo en concreto. Tal tipo de asociación probablemente encontrará serias dificultades con las autoridades legítimas de la Iglesia y posiblemente degenere en una secta, un grupo destructivo que provoca daños psicológicos y supone un peligro espiritual para sus miembros.
Pete Vere is a doctoral student with the Faculty of Canon Law at Saint Paul University. He recently co-authored Surprised by Canon Law: 150 Questions Catholics Ask About Canon Law (Servant Books) with Michael Trueman and More Catholic Than the Pope (Our Sunday Visitor) with Patrick Madrid. He lives with his wife and two daughters in Ottawa, Canada.