Category Archives: grupos coercitivos

Legion of Christ, Mexican version of the Opus Dei



The following analysis/testimony of a former OD member confirms the contention that the Legion of Christ/Regnum Christi is the “Mexican version of the Opus Dei,” based on the clear parallels between the two “New Religious Movements.”

The Opus  Dei, founded in Spain by a Spanish priest, is strikingly similar to the Legion which was founded a few years later by a Mexican seminarian, Marcial Maciel-Degollado in Mexico. The Legion founder is (in)famous for his plagiarism of a host of ideas and creations, including the spiritual reflections of a Spanish activist during Franco´s regime, Psalter of my hours. Could the foundation of the Legion be another such case of the founder´s charism for copying? In this case not copying the best…

Hundreds of testimonies on this site and on the Spanish language Facebook blog, Legioleaks (2, 000 plus members), describe the Modus Operandi of the Legion of Christ. The perceptive reader knows by now that the Legion´s Modus Credendi or Loquendi (what it believes/says/writes/declares) and its Modus Operandi (the way it acts/operates/strategizes /treats others) are two different things.

ReGAIN has written before about the striking similarities between the OPUS DEI  way and the Legion of Christ´s.

The editors invite a careful reading of the following article comparing it to what Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi members have been telling us for decades in their testimonies and studies.

The same issues are present in both institutions: manipulation of conscience, intense recruiting, producing vocations, double-speak and double-truth, voluntarism, blind obedience, etc.

Here is a 2013  article which recently appeared on OD Watch, which has kindly authorized its publication here. The article is as relevant as ever. One wonders how the Vatican does not seem to “catch on” to these dangerous manipulations of true Catholicity.


AD MENTEM PATRIS (According to the Father’s Mind)

By Heraldo, 03/20/2013

The Impersonation of Conscience by the “Escrivariana”

On the occasion of the ten years of my dies natalis I wish to celebrate with my Opuslibros friends some of my reflections. The first one is precisely that these last ten years have been wonderful and I consider them my true life. I thank God that I had the opportunity to live them and not have been trapped in Opus Dei during my entire earthly existence. As is well known, something that identifies and constitutes us as human beings is the moral conscience, the sense of duty, the inner judgment that discerns what I should do and what I should avoid at every moment of my life. That inner judgment accompanies every human being throughout his conscious existence. The inner dialogue described by Gollum, the curious little man of the Lord of the Rings, who speaks to himself as if there are two Gollums, one good and one bad, one who bases his thoughts on on greed, envy and grudges, and the other who thinks and acts from the simplicity of a noble and good spontaneous nature.

With the passing of these last years, I realized that when I was in the Work, the place of the good Gollum had been completely replaced by an institutional consciousness. This consciousness can be called the “Escrivariana consciousness” according to its creator and origin. Instead of reasoning, measuring and valuing my actions from the spontaneity of a proper and original moral conscience, I did it from my character as a member of Opus. I am not saying anything with which the members of the Work do not agree, because, in fact, we were urged to reason and to conform our acts ad mentem patris, that is to say, according to the mind and the criterion of actuation of Escrivá, putting aside our own criterion.We were not told to think how Jesus Christ would act, but how Escriva would act. This observation is important because the two criteria point in divergent directions.Whoever knows the Gospels, even minimally, knows that Jesus Christ was guided first of all by the love of the person before him, while the Escrivarian conscience leads us to act always for the benefit of the Work, even at the expense of the person.

For some Christian authors, the voice of conscience is equivalent to God himself within the human heart. But in our numerary existence, that voice of conscience was replaced or identified with the  institutional spirit of Opus. So it was that my conscience was invaded by Opus Dei.At that moment, I stopped living my own life and started living the life of a Transcendental Being (here we call it the Thing, the Dark Side, etc.) whose only real correlate is an institution.So it is not that Opus Dei helped me in my life as a human being and as a Christian, offering me a formation that enables the authenticity and the rectitude of my conscience.No. The spirit of Opus Dei is so possessive of conscience that it constitutes the only criterion of moral rectitude.Opus Dei becomes, in the minds of all its members, especially its numeraries, the measure of all things. The deification of the Work is evident.

Opuslibros frequently examines the many perveted acts of the Work and its members.

Take, for instance, the recruitment of new vocations.

Now, we former members take our hands to our head when considering such a felony.However, when we belonged to the Work we devoted ourselves with a passion to the most ferocious proselytism, with the consciousness of doing good.I dedicated myself to the work of St. Raphael for many years and I was passionate about getting new vocations.How is it possible that I did not realize what is now so obvious to me?Simply because my moral conscience was then identified with what I have called “Escrivarian consciousness.”

Now, I see very clearly that the life I was living then was not mine.My former life in Opus lacked authenticity.My consciousness was swollen by the omnipresent outer influence of what Opus Dei called the “means of formation.”The Escrivarian consciousness is continuously nourished by countless daily readings, talks, circles, meditations, retreats, fraternal talks, notes, day after day, tirelessly.In the Work, the person, especially the numerary, is subject to a permanent bombardment that prevents the appearance of the slightest authenticity, or at least keeps it completely dormant.

On the other hand, after ten years away from the Work, I have had the wonderful experience of being reunited with myself. I have experienced a reunion with the moral life in its most original and authentic sense, in the simplicity of what I truly believe without the omnipresent and suffocating artifice of the “means of formation” and “spiritual direction.” Yet, even months after leaving the Work, I  continued to experience feelings of servitude. Thus, my release was a slow and ongoing process, but at the same time, a completely natural one so that the persistent external influence of Opus upon me gradually disappeared.

Now I must raise one question. Is that Escrivarian consciousness really a spirit? An inspiration? No way. In practice, our conduct was governed not by the inspiration of charity or the sanctification of ordinary life, or by putting Christ at the summit of all human activities, but by other particular criteria.

Here we are faced with a very convoluted and permanent contradiction that has been denounced repeatedly in Opuslibros as the contradiction between theory and praxis.

For example, we had theoretically been informed of the immense human value of friendship. It was explained in classes and talks that when you really like a person you want what is best for him. Then there is the apostolate to help another person to approach God that arises in a natural way, without the need for purpose or following slogans.In addition, we were told that affection could not be conditioned by the person’s response to apostolic action.In fact, true love has an absolute value, like that of the mother who loves her child and accepts him unconditionally, even if the child is not a well behaved son.

However, at the time of the exercise of the apostolate, and when we talked about it in the fraternal talk, we did not respect “friends,” and if one of those “friends” gave no hope of vocation, we  ceased being interested in him and we stopped cultivating his  friendship. What we called “treating a friend” represented the total violence and perversion of the deep reality of friendship. Each day that passed we mediated the friendship only in terms of proselytism, and we did it with total peace of mind. At least that was the way it was for many years, until authentic consciousness began to break through.

About 20 years ago, I began to wake up from the lethargy of my conscience, a lethargy to which I had been subjected by the violence of the formation of the Work.After many years of surrender one begins to discover these things, and it took me many more years to accept the fact that there was no possibility of reform from the inside.In the Work, as soon as you begin to have some idea of ​​your own that does not coincide with orthodoxy, you are being considered being “in bad spirit.”It is evident that our true consciousness had been buried under the omnipresent influence of the Escrivarian consciousness.But as the contradiction between spirit and praxis became evident, my conscience reached a crisis, and thus began the start of my liberation.

And is not that Escrivariana conscience the way that is interpreted as “to do Opus Dei being yourself Opus Dei?”Is not this the particular reading of dying to itself that is made in the Work?There is nothing strange about what I say here.When we awaken from their consciousness, Opus  calls it pride, butI call it authenticity.I believe it is that the truth can not remain forever hidden, however much it is concealed under what is called “supernatural vision.”For a member of the Work, the goal is to stop being ourselves in order to be another Christ, but in Opus, that”other Christ” really amounts to subjection to the Escrivarian conscience.This last reflection opens the way to the next topic.


The Production of a Vocation

We read a few days ago in the internal document against this website (Opuslibros) what we have always known about Opus’ reaction to criticism. Former members are accused of being people without rectitude. We are accused of being twisted people leading a life that is far from  exemplary. It is a euphemistic way of suggesting that we are sexual perverts, which is almost the only moral aspect that interests them. Therefore, I believe that it is necessary to respond to our Opus accusers who are themselves, hypocrites and whitened sepulchers…

Opus has perverted the true meaning of friendship by its fierce proselytizing practices. It has perverted the true meaning of family, pretending to be its friend. It has betrayed its members who decide to leave Opus after giving decades of their life to the service of the Work, without any social security. They have perverted the most elemental sense of charity when they try violently to force a nonexistent vocation upon any poor, naive and good-hearted boy.They have perverted Christianity, turning service to God and the Church into service to a perverse institution dedicated to destroying human lives.

Let us examine how Opus “produces” vocations.

As has been discussed here extensively, Opus Dei can recruit anyone as a celibate numerary as revealed by “Castalio” on July 10, 2009 in How We Made Numeraries in Mexico.

To the young man who is ensnared by the transnational Opus Dei, he is told that he has a vocation and that he will be a wretched man if he does not respond affirmatively to the call.

The poor innocent man has to believe this because he knows that the Catholic Church approves of the Work. The young man is defenseless. He begins a long process of training, mentalization and alienation in the most rigorous sense of the term. He is made to feel happy and privileged for having been chosen. He does not seem to realize the most complete artificiality of the mentioned procedure: rules, means of formation, fraternal talks, retreats, circles … an artificial device with which even a brain-dead patient could be sustained in life. By means of this procedure it is possible to artificially produce a vocation to feed it, to maintain it and even to reproduce it. But this is very far from a true vocation which is something that emerges from the center of the soul with natural spontaneity. Not surprisingly, the poor boy, in a very few years begins to show symptoms of internal breakage.

I entered Opus Dei at age 14. At age 24 I was subjected to psychiatric care and pharmacological treatment. I remained so throughout my life in the Work, up to a year after I left.  For more than 30 years I have been the recipient of many generations of antidepressants and anxiolytics. I have consulted with several “psychiatrists,” most of whom were, in fact, doctors from other specialties who occasionally went to the University of Navarre to take a short course on how to “attend” people from home.

That is the way Opus Dei holds on to a “vocation” A vocation they say they have clearly seen in prayer.They support it by blocking distress (benzodiazepines) and injecting supplementary energies (antidepressants that recapture serotonin) in order for the young man to achieve fidelity in the ascetic struggle in his Work of God.A pharmacological procedure, strictly chemical, is put at the service of a spirituality.

Is not this procedure something completely artificial, which has nothing to do with the naturalness of an authentic vocation? Is it not altogether inhumane? Is not a definitive traumatic breakup being prepared? Is not the seed of hatred being sown?

But we are told they do it for God, for His Work, and that justifies everything.If the boy has no vocation they say, God would grant it immediately, there is no doubt, for God can not leave in the void the desire for surrender…

It is evident that what I describe here is a colossal injustice? Is it not an obvious violation of the dignity of the person, of the respect with which each human being should be treated, to take possession of a human being when the latter is just emerging into the autonomous life from adolescence, to arbitrarily attribute to him from the outside, as a violation, a meaning to his life, subjecting him to an omnipresent process of indoctrination?This is an injustice and an act of arbitrariness of incredible dimensions.I believe it is a sin comparable to of the sins which Scripture says cries out to heaven.So cries my spirit at this moment.

Between the ages of 25 and 30, Opus Dei sent me to “rest.” I was still drugged for periods of weeks on end at “a retirement home” so that I might recover from “wear” and “fatigue.”  Why was a 27-year-old young man, who should be courting girls and who had reached the the apex of his professional career be taking anxiolitics and antidepressants?

Is this the way an ordinary Christian sanctifies his ordinary life!  As natural and logical as an octopus in a garage.I see it now with a clear mind, and I react furiously to those who dared to take over my life and manipulated it that way.And I hope someday to be heard and these raptors punished.

Opus Dei, from the candor of its charity, says that we are “wounded people,” but they have fallen short in their description of former members. I am a maimed man because Opus stole my life !!!  Don’t you think so, motherfuckers?

Hopefully, God does exist and will punish the perverse system that calls itself Opus Dei and which boasts that its founder is a “canonized saint.”

Opus Dei says that it is not responsible for the mistakes that its members make. But this statement is radically false. Quite the opposite is true. Among the people of the Work are the most noble and innocent of human beings. They are so noble and innocent that they are easily ensnared. So noble and innocent that, like me, they remained for decades, believing like imbeciles that God was there in Opus Dei. So noble and innocent that, like me, they continued to believe for years in “the truth of the Work” even when they were confronted by profound contradictions which were readily evident to anyone with eyes to see and ears to hear.

Each of us who has abandoned the Work has followed a different path, although there are close parallels which come to light in various biographies.

In my case, the human and spiritual wear and tear reached its maximum with the passage of time. How can one endure, without a vocation, such an artificial and intense situation?

The departure from the Work is usually a painful process because it means not only breaking away from the Work, but also a break with oneself since our authentic identity has been lost. Confusion, sometimes explosive, naturally ensues. Then, in an instant, everything changes.

In an instant, the Work which once constituted the very meaning of life for me ceased to be important. Thus, after 30 years of never doubting it, I decided to leave the Work.

In some cases faith falters or is lost when one leaves Opus Dei. The moral life may follow uncertain directions as the liberation leads to a blind search for the meaning of one’s existence?The reunion with oneself is carried out under precarious conditions and it takes a long time… Remember that I held internal positions in the Prelature for more than 20 years so I know what I’m talking about.


I Blame the Work

I blame the Work for those who have lost faith after their passage through the Work; I blame the Work for those who have lost their faith in the Church; I blame the Work for those who have abandoned the practice of the Sacraments; I blame the Work for those who have abandoned the morals of Jesus Christ. I am shouting to the four winds, for someone from the Vatican to listen to me. For bishops around the world, and good priests and all men of good will to listen to me!!!

Opus Dei began to take over my life when I was just 13 years old. My father had recently died  and could not defend me.My mother did not defend me because she was afraid, because she was told that the Catholic Church supports Opus Dei.My brothers tried to defend me, but they were too young and could not do anything effective.

On the other hand, Opus Dei was very effective. It indoctrinated me in its own way with lies until it made me invulnerable to any external aid. What I could not foresee was that my conscience would break through after more than 30 years of Escrivarian consciousness, and that one day I would have the strength to free myself from its chains. So it was, and I am filled with joy for it, and now I celebrate it with all my friends of Opuslibros, at the end of the ten years of my liberation, the ten years of my dies natalis.

Still I regret the loss of my youth to Opus. It makes me angry to know that I shall never get those years back. I see Opus as a thief who stole the most beautiful of my days. My youth might have been happy or miserable, but at least it would have been MINE the life that God gave me. But no. They snatched my life with their tricks. They had no right to do what they did to me and I had nobody in this world to protect me. I am hurt, very hurt. And I also understand the hurt and pain of others who have suffered as I did, especially when I remember that I myself was instrumental in inflicting that same hurt on others in the Work when I was a member.

This is the story of my life in Opus Dei and I assume full responsibility for it. I do not renounce it nor do I despise myself for belonging to Opus Dei. On the other hand, it would be absolutely unjust for me to be silent in the face of the many abuses of Opus which are disguised as a service to God. I say it from the bottom of my conscience, fully assuming that God will judge me for it. I’m not afraid or hesitant to scream it out loud. Perhaps I am not “exemplary” as Opus understand the word.  But I know with a certain awareness that God does not give a damn about the exemplarity that they preach, which is a charity without love and without soul. Its own founder declared in a moment of strange lucidity: without charity, purity is fruitless and its sterile waters turn the soul into a swamp, a stagnant marsh, from which rises the stench of pride.” (Camino, 119).

It has been ten years since leaving Opus Dei, and I am so glad for it.These years have been wonderful.I do not say it out of spite.Nor do I think I have finished my recomposition process.I have decades to go to rectify my condition. I may never get all the way there. However, I see the hand of God in so many things.It seems that He feels obliged to give me special protection for the years that I dedicated to Him in the Work with rectitude of intention.

The Voluntarism of the Work

An important aspect of Opus is the radical voluntarism it professes. I use the term in a philosophical sense. Voluntarism means the absolute predominance of the will over the intellect to the point that truth can be transformed and even produced by simply willing it.

I remember very well, Carlos Llano, an Opus numerary and philosopher who I greatly admired. While I was enrolled at the University, I made it my business to attended all his philosophy courses, even if they did not correspond to my regular study schedule.  But there came a time when I realized with amazement that he did not care for the truth, and that he did not really believe in it or in philosophy.The reality was that he used philosophy to advance himself in the Work. I say this because he expressly confessed it to me in a private conversation. He told me that he did not really believe in philosophy and that he did not take it seriously, but that it had been very useful to him.That confession made me very disappointed and I walked away from him.I would have wanted him to be my mentor, but then I realized that I could not expect anything good from him.

The allusion to Carlos Llano is important because he was a mentor for many numeraries of the Work in Mexico.He was a bright and intelligent man, who had toabdicate his intelligence in order to be able to remain faithful to the Work.He and I agreed to occupy positions in the region, although, of course, he was much more important than me.However, I refer to this because in our conversations I could clearly see that he stopped believing in truth and intelligence in order to continue affirming the validity of the project of the Work…

In the Work, many study philosophy as a professional career, but in reality neither philosophy nor philosophers have any place in Opus. Instead of contributing to the development of the Work, as was once believed, we philosophers have become an albatross around the neck of Opus because we realized that there was something very wrong in the Work. Someone has said that the Work is more a creature of architects and engineers than philosophers (please understand that there is nothing pejorative in these allusions). The main reason for this truism is that philosophy is an intellectual discipline and the Work is a radically voluntarist institution. In the Work the least important thing is to understand. The decisive thing is obedience, which begins with the submission of the intellect. In the Work the word understand is used a lot, but it is stripped of its most obvious meaning…

Voluntarism is concretized in the end in that everything that serves the Work is good, and if it is not it should be so, and it will be by the grace of God. It is evident that in the Work much is done with very little thought. Intellectuals hinder the Work because they question what is done. Carlos Llano told me that when one did not understand something that was commanded in the Work, one had to formulate the theory that was necessary to support the mandate. That is voluntarism, the subjugation of truth to the will…

In the Work, the truth can be constructed, produced, done. The truth is at the service of a project. The truth is not discovered and respected as such… Escriva was a great volunteer as was Portillo and Echevarria. In the Work, what is important is “to do” and the rest are stories. Effectiveness is a primordial value. But it is clear that this can not have a happy ending. If the truth of things is not respected, the truth will be imposed, and the bill will have to be paid, sooner or later.


The Use of Double Truth in the Work

It is clear from the internal document of Opus Dei on Opuslibros cited above, that the Work uses the Catholic Church to defend its legitimacy. Opus Dei says that like Christ and the Pope, it is also under attack and that the good has always been attacked, yesterday, today, and tomorrow. It says there is nothing strange and nothing to fear from Opus because it has been approved by the Church. It proclaims that it serves the Church from its trenches, with its own spirituality…

How beautiful! How tender these words of Opus sound. But there is an essential trap, that of the double face  the double life. It is a fundamental hypocrisy that corrupts everything.

In his many postings on Opuslibros, Otaluto has demonstrated this feature of Opus very well. In Opus Dei it is possible that the same discourse means very different things depending on the context, according to the audience, or according to the interlocutor.There are not two speeches, but the same speech with several different meanings.

For example, the founder of Opus Dei writes that “God inspired the spirit of Opus Dei,” and the Church repeats this claim. Opus says that the Church cannot put forward any objection to Opus Dei because everything in the Work is of God.

Now there is no doubt that promoting sanctification in the midst of the world and the sanctification of work are very good things.It is something that must be accepted in strict Catholic thought…But that very word to “inspire” means something very different within the Work.Here it means that the Work is of God and God determined that His Work will is done.Here it means that the will of God manifests itself supreme in the will of the Father, that is, the founder and the current prelate.Here it means that the will of God is manifested through the directors, who represent the Father.Here it means that if you do not persevere in your vocation to Opus Dei your life is not worth a cent. And so we could go on and on, with expressions of double meaning.

One of my first encounters with the double truth was when they explained to me that the special steps of admission and oblation and fidelity taken by a candidate were often accompanied by a period of trials and doubts for him, but these feelings of doubt and questioning should be of no concern to the interested party.They told me that the interested person should assume his vocation in fullness from the beginning, rejecting any thoughts of doubts as coming from the devil. I was told that the times of trial were only the concern of the directors, who had to ascertain whether or not the subject had justifiable doubts. Actually, that was not true either.We know that successive incorporations are commonplace in the institutions of the Church, a logical consequence of the candidate having to ratify or rectify his election. So Opus Dei found it necessary to give a different meaning to the same. One explanation to the candidates. One for the directors. And one for the ecclesiastical hierarchy. So now we have not one or two but three different truths. It is the skill of these holy men.

At this point, I simply want to say that under no circumstances would the Church approve of the following aspects of Opus Dei’s internal doctrine:

  1. The Church would never accept the precept that Escriva’s “inspiration” is the equivalent of the Divine Revelation of Our Lord Jesus Christ to the Apostles. Neither would the Church extend the mantel of infallibility to everything said by the founder or his successors, much less to the governing councils of Opus.
  2. The Church would never accept the precept that one’s vocation in Opus is immutable and changeless and that to question one’s vocation or to leave the Work exposes the member to the danger of eternal damnation.
  3. The Church would never accept the proposition that to persevere in the Work and to fulfill all the norms of the Work is a guarantee of eternal salvation.
  4. The Church would never accept the proposition that a member is a disobedient scoundrel or a worthless wretch if he confesses to a priest outside of Opus Dei.
  5. The Church would never accept the proposition that if you hide some thoughts from your director you have made a pact with the devil.
  6. The Church would never accept the proposition that through prayer, a director can, with absolute certainty, discern that another person has a divine vocation, or that directors meeting in councils can determine with infallibility who and who has not a vocation to the Work.
  7. The Church would never accept the precept that apart from making a sacramental confession to a priest, one is also obliged to confess his sins to a lay director or another appointed person in the fraternal talk or chat.
  8. The Church would never accept the proposition that all those who are in authority have the right to know all about the intimate inner life of Opus members.
  9. The Church would never accept that all the prescriptions that are not contained in the Statutes are equally obligatory…

None of these precepts or rules or propositions have been approved by the Church, but Opus has imposed them secretly on its members as doctrines revealed by God to its founder. Yet, the  founder has insisted that these rules are not imposed but freely assumed by the members.

I still recall that when I was fully secured for Opus Dei at the age of 14, the first thing they taught me was that the founder had received a revelation an express and explicit mandate from God.They based the authenticity of such a revelation on the founder’s holiness. They dedicated   hundreds of hours to me alone, telling me all kinds of supernatural events in the life of Escriva. However, none of those who helped in my early formation, except the priest, continued in the Work. In contrast to these supernatural stories, it was made clear to me that the life and spirit of Opus members was the life and spirit of the ordinary…  In later years, many of these same supernatural events were related in the founder’s biographies, but with so many modifications and attenuating circumstances that the miracles seem to have disappeared.

No matter, as far as I was concerned, Opus achieved its goal with me. I swear by my life, that in my later youth, when I was 16 or 17, I already valued the Father more than the Pope. I thought of the Father as another St. Paul…

Later, I came to know that many of these stories about the founder were blatant lies, but by then the Escrivariana conscience had completely taken possession of me.The image of the founder I had formed in my young mind was reinforced down to the smallest detail in photographs, writings, and films of Escriva. Everything that was negative or could be misinterpreted was destroyed.Thus a false and non-existent unreal image of the founder was sustained and promoted and he was canonized on October 6, 2002.

When the Work was in its infancy, a great faith was needed concerning the holiness of the founder. These false stories served to sustain that faith. Later, when the Work achieved signs of a positive presence in the world and in the Church, and after the founder’s canonization these are no longer necessary. It was a perfect strategy. And the worse part was that the Catholic Church put itself in the service of that lie. It is true that the Church was deceived, but the reprehensible thing is that she continues to be deceived. I underline this statement on purpose and I urge the Church to do her duty in this matter.

The doctrines and actions of Opus have destroyed the lives of many of its members, yet the Church has failed to acknowledge much less demand that Opus correct these abuses. The problem faced by Opus is that it needs these lies and abuses to be effective, so the question of an internal reformation is not possible.

The Work is Mortally Wounded

…  Opus is a wounded, weakened, almost moribund giant, although it still continues to hold on to its erratic existence. Opus’ internal documents on how to deal with critical websites like Opuslibros try to hide the fact Opus is suffering in many ways. Indeed Opuslibros has struck the Prelature a mortal blow.

For me, however, Opus Dei is already dead… And it is dead because we live in the Information Age which acts as a counter-force to the Great Lie… The Information Age is finally suppressing and   preventing the vocations of many numeraries. It is also leading many who are still trapped in Opus to find a solution to their captivity. Without the vocations of numeraries from whom candidates to the Opus priesthood are selected, Opus Dei is nothing. I know very well. Wow, how I know! Corporate works will become white elephants, soap bubbles, machines without soul, without effectiveness, when the number of numeraries diminish. Supernumeraries alone are nothing without numeraries. The principals of Opus will become administrators of educational works, but that is not what they really want to do.  Yet somehow the search for numeraries must go on.

Unfortunately for the Work, today one must be an imbecile or underage to ask for admission to Opus. And as soon as these minors come of age, they too will leave. What took members like me 20 or 30 years to discover, anyone can discover it today with a computer with internet access. Nothing will be as before. Javier Echevarría will go to the grave with the bitter conscience that the Opus fell into his hands.

Heraldo, 03/20/2013


[Certainly you can reprint the newsletter. Just give credit to the authors and note that the articles originally were posted on Opuslibros and then reprinted in OD Watch. Anyone interested in being on the OD Watch list can contact me at my e-mail

Randy Engel]



Lista de Características de Grupos Cúlticos/Sectarios – Revisado

Resultado de imagen para Legion of Christ

Lista de Características de Grupos Cúlticos/Sectarios – Revisado

(Characteristics associated with Cultic Groups -Revised)


Michael D. Langone

for original English[i]


Intentos coordinados para influenciar y controlar, forman la esencia de los grupos, programas y relaciones sectarias (ingl., cultic)[ii].  Muchos miembros, ex miembros y colaboradores de este tipo de grupos no están del todo conscientes de en qué forma y con cuánta intensidad han sido manipulados, explotados o incluso abusados. La siguiente lista de patrones socio-estructurales, sociopsicológicos e interpersonales pueden ayudar a asesorar a grupos o relaciones particulares con dichas características.

Compara estos patrones con la situación en la que estuviste (o en la que se encuentre todavía algún familiar o amigo tuyo). Esta lista te puede ayudar a determinar si hay razones para preocuparse. Ten en cuenta que esta lista no es una métrica del control que pueda ejercer cierto tipo de grupo ni mucho menos una lista de requisitos para determinar si cierta comunidad se ha convertido en una secta (cult). Tampoco es un instrumento de diagnóstico, sino una herramienta de análisis.

  1. El grupo manifiesta un celo excesivo y una entrega incuestionable hacia su líder (vivo o muerto) en miras a abrazar su sistema de creencias, ideología y prácticas como la verdad absoluta o una ley inquebrantable.
  2. Cuestionar, dudar o disentir del grupo amerita una censura para quien lo hace, o incluso un castigo.
  3. El uso de técnicas de debilitamiento mental (meditaciones, cantos, hablar en lenguas, sesiones de corrección pública, sesiones de trabajo extenuantes) para eliminar cualquier tipo de cuestionamiento del grupo y sus líderes.
  4. El líder impone, a veces con lujo de detalles, cómo deben pensar, actuar y sentir los miembros (por ejemplo, los miembros deben pedirle permiso para verse con alguien más, para cambiar de trabajo o para casarse. También a veces los líderes imponen un cierto tipo de vestimenta, en qué lugares se debe habitar, si se debe o no tener hijos, cómo corregirlos y demás…
  5. El grupo es elitista, se declara especial y superior a los demás por sí mismo, por sus líderes y sus miembros (el líder es considerado una especie de Mesías, un ser especial o gurú- o el líder/grupo tienen una misión especial para salvar a la humanidad).
  6. El grupo tiene una mentalidad claramente polarizada del “nosotros contra el mundo”, lo que le ocasiona problemas para ser aceptado por la sociedad en general.
  7. El líder no tiene por qué rendirle cuentas a ninguna autoridad superior (cosa que no sucede con maestros, generales del ejército, servidores públicos, sacerdotes, monjes, rabinos o líderes de las religiones dominantes).
  8. El grupo enseña o sugiere que los fines superiores que persigue justifican cualquier medio que se considere necesario para alcanzar dichos fines. Esto provoca que los miembros participen en actividades o tengan comportamientos que antes de pertenecer al grupo les hubieran parecido poco éticos o moralmente reprobables: mentir a sus familiares y amigos, recaudar dinero para falsas caridades.
  9. El líder procura inculcar sentimientos de culpabilidad o vergüenza en los miembros para influenciarlos o controlarlos, A menudo, esto se hace a través de la presión ejercida por los demás miembros del grupo o a través de formas muy sutiles de persuasión.
  10. La subordinación al líder o grupo exige que los miembros corten sus lazos naturales con familia y amigos y que sacrifiquen sus metas personales, así como las actividades a las que solían asistir antes de llegar al grupo.
  11. El grupo se preocupa constantemente por incrementar su número de integrantes.
  12. El grupo se preocupa constantemente por recaudar más dinero.
  13. Se espera que los miembros consagren cantidades excesivas de tiempo al grupo y a las actividades del grupo.
  14. Se exhorta a los miembros a vivir y socializar solamente entre sí.
  15. Los miembros más leales al grupo (los “integrados” o “verdaderos creyentes”) sienten que no puede haber vida verdadera fuera de los confines del grupo. Piensan que no hay otra manera de ser y temen que haya consecuencias para sí mismos o para sus seres queridos si dejan (incluso si solo piensan en dejar) el grupo.





Esta lista ha sido revisada en diversas ocasiones desde que el autor la presentara por primera vez en la década de los noventas (1990). Muchas personas han hecho sugerencias o contribuido durante las diferentes revisiones, sobre todo Carol Giambalvo, Janja Lalic, Herb Rosedale y Patrick Ryan.




Tradujeron al español E.E. Escobar & J. Paul Lennon



[ii] Primer párrafo en el original inglés:  Concerted efforts at influence and control lie at the core of cultic groups, programs, and relationships. Many members, former members, and supporters of cults are not fully aware of the extent to which members may have been manipulated, exploited, even abused. The following list of social-structural, social-psychological, and interpersonal behavioral patterns commonly found in cultic environments may be helpful in assessing a particular group or relationship.


Internacional Cultic Studies Annual Conference in Bordeaux, France, June 29…

Join former Legionaries of Christ, Xavier Leger,  Paul Lennon and other former members of Catholic  and Christian high demand   groups and learn how European and other countries deal with questionable groups and communities, enjoy comeraderie and support of people who know where you are or have been…

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Addict, Idol and Cult Member: Reflections on the Loss of Self: A Phenomenological Examination of Destructive Cult groups

Tate Wood, Allen

My paper and talk are a phenomenological morphology of religious and political extremism. In the presentation, I give a detailed exposition of seven key elements that are present in the mind of the successfully indoctrinated group member. These seven elements include: absolute leader, absolute teaching, hierarchical social structure, the psychology of the adversary, the ends justify the means as a modus operandi, crisis psychology and the inner circle. The second part of my presentation includes an examination of the variables at play during the process of recruitment and indoctrination: milieu control, communication web/the manipulation of intimacy, peak experiences and planned spontaneity, the splitting phenomenon: the experience of evil, metaphor and ritual: the binding chains, the repudiation of the conscience, the rejection of the critical faculties and the colonization of the imagination understood as an experience of god. My remarks will be punctuated by anecdotal material from my life in the Unification Church including my direct contact with Sun Myung Moon. In addition, I shall be drawing on my 27 years as an addiction counselor working with alcoholics and addicts in county jails and state prisons.




Recruitment: the Way to Unhappiness – an excerpt from Opening Minds, part 2

Some Catholics have remarked on the rigid and almost robotic appearance of the  Legionaries  of Christ, as if they were mass-produced by some kind of priest-making system. This could derive from the particular way they are trained and molded the moment they enter the group and deprived of their individual personalities and traits…


ReGAIN  is indebted to Opening Minds blog and book for the main content. What we like about this explanation is that it is very clear and simple; it cuts across the lines of particular ideologies or doctrines -and area in which Catholics seems to blank out.

We feel the need to explain to CATHOLIC READERS how we can approach ‘sects/cults’ from a theological or psychological/sociological perspective. We Catholics usually think in terms of theology; if a group is theologically ORTHODOX (modus credendi) it cannot be a sect. However, from a psychological, spiritual and truly religious perspective that same group can be suspect if is uses methods to recruit, retain members, fund raise and generally operate (modus operandi) in such a way that manipulates its members -does not let them discern, question, choose freely- and places them under undue pressure to conform, using coercive persuasion, control, manipulation…

The breakthrough, aha moment, for Catholic and Christian readers occurs when they realize that, no matter what, or how apparently holy, the doctrines/beliefs/ideals/goals involved, certain group leaders use the same manipulative techniques to recruit, retain and control their members; and that even though the doctrines/idealogies are miles apart, the methods used by these groups, associations, fraternities, communities, orders are all uncannily similar.


Editor’s Note: The following is adapted from Jon Atack‘s new book, Opening Minds, chapter 2. This is the second part of a two-part blog.

Manipulative groups and individuals use similar approaches to trick us into handing over our cash and our  loyalty. In part one, we saw how manipulation most often follows a series of steps; today we continue with:

Step Three: Finding the Ruin

Once rapport has been established, the recruiter may seek out the most significant difficulty in the recruit’s life. In Scientology, this is called the ‘ruin’: ‘What is ruining your life?’ If the first steps have been followed carefully, most people offer up even their most secret troubles. Unless they’ve been hurt before after revealing their secrets, most people welcome a chance to say what they feel and receive sympathy for their problems. It is surprising how willing people are to share their deepest longings with complete strangers, as if there is a need to confess; this deepens rapport.

Step Four: Fear of Worsening

Scientology recruiters then push the target into ‘fear of worsening. The recruit is exploited to feel discouraged about the ‘ruin’: ‘I’m sure you’ve tried everything, but nothing has worked.’ Confession of troubles usually shifts the recruiter into a position of authority. The recruit will follow directions almost like Pavlov’s dogs, which salivated in anticipation of food when a bell was rung.

Step Five: Bring to Understanding

Next, the recruiter will use the information from this confession to demonstrate that the recruit desperately needs the group in order to make life better; Scientology recruiters call this step to ‘bring to understanding’. Sales manuals suggest that a story be made up to show sympathy: ‘I know a guy who had exactly the same problem. He took a few of our courses and everything started to work out for him.’

The ‘understanding’ is that the cult can solve any problem that is presented – whether it is romantic, financial, work-related or spiritual – anything and everything can be resolved by the offered course, counselling or study programme, so the recruiter has no difficulty in inventing a supporting story: the ends justify the deceptive means.

During the first course, seminar, or workshop, the recruiters will continue the love-bombing, while using a hypnotic technique to bring about a peak experience. After long enough, any type of repetition, mimicry or fixation leads to a euphoric altered state.

Chanting, drumming, group singing, visual fixation – as in meditation – repetition of a word or phrase (‘mantra meditation’), repeated movements, such as rocking, shaking, or walking meditations, all lead to an altered state. Some narcissists use sexual pleasure to trap their victims.Most people in western society are unfamiliar with the effects of eastern meditation, so they are delighted and surprised by the euphoria that floods them. Almost every former member I’ve talked with had an initial peak experience, and spent the remainder of their time in the cult trying – and failing – to repeat it.

It is likely that the peak experience is simply a release of dopamine or serotonin. These neurochemicals are the ‘reward’ system of the brain, and are released during sex and by alcohol and drug use. In a group setting, surrounded by approving people, cult techniques can lead to a powerful high in the new recruit. This is the experience of awe.

Awe changes our perception of the world. We are awed by celebrities, by vastness, by skill, by ‘miracles’ and by beauty. Awe can be induced as part of a peak experience. New recruits are infatuated by flattery and the prospect of miraculous change in their lives. When awed, our critical faculties diminish.

Once we believe that a leader has miraculous powers, we become willing to believe anything that leader says. Awe turns to fervour and the recruit adopts the beliefs of the manipulator and will defend them as if defending their own child: just as we are unwilling to hear criticism of our children, nothing bad will be accepted about the manipulator, whose ideas have become gospel truth.

Step Six: Reinforcement

Testimonials are demanded for reinforcement. In Scientology these are called ‘success stories’. This reinforces consistency: the more publicly and loudly you commit to a technique or experience, the more difficult it will be to change back later.  People trying to give up smoking are advised to tell all of their friends that they have given up, because, under the consistency principle, it will make it harder to admit defeat and light another cigarette.

We all suffer from confirmation bias, where we justify our actions and dismiss anything that disagrees with our beliefs. There is a quality of inertia to all human activity; we keep going in the direction we’re travelling in. Delivering a testimonial – or simply telling all our friends – reinforces the sense of belonging and further confirms our bias.

Often, members will be encouraged to confess their former sinful lives in front of the group. By humbling themselves in this way, people give ever more power to the group. Members come to believe that everything good can be attributed to the group’s practices, and everything bad is their own fault.

A particular group or individual may not use all of these approaches. Some will focus on the potential recruit’s desperation, others will head straight for an experience of awe. Once lured into the trap, by whatever means, the recruit will go through a process of reinforcement that will draw them into the group or relationship and isolate them from their previous relationships and values.


What do you think about this article? Do you agree? Have you read Jon’s new book? Do you have a story about recruitment into a high-control situation that you’d like to share? We’d love to hear from you! 

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Am I, or a loved one, involved with a Harmful Group? Find out


Info-Culte,  a prominent and well respected Canadian association that studies harmful groups and relationships, explains their 35 year trajectory. And how “the field” has changed over the years. The address by founder, Mike Klopfeld will give the reader insight into how people are drawn into harmful groups and why so many concerned people study the phenomenon of charismatic Pied Pipers who lead the unwitting on a merry chase out of their minds and money.

by Mike Kropveld

Article based on a presentation given at the Beijing International Academic Symposium on Cultic Groups and Religious Culture, Beijing, China, August 15–16, 2015: