THE LEGION OF CHRIST NOT A FAMILY, NOT MISSIONARY AND NOT HEALING
Paul Lennon, LC 1961-1984, MA Counseling, Cult-expert 1984 to present
- The Legion of Christ, Legionaries of Christ-morphed into Regnum Christi Federation to distance themselves from their pedophile and psychopath founder- is not a family. It is a sect-like, coercive persuasion group, sometimes described as cult-like. Look up in cult-watchers associations: International Cultic Studies Association, Steven Hassan’s Freedom of Mind, Rick Alan Ross’s The Cult Education Institute, etc. where there this organization is tagged as harmful.
- Nor is it Catholic and Orthodox in the full sense of the word. Despite Vatican approval -secured by conman Maciel-and two failed Vatican interventions, several US Catholic bishops have forbidden the Legion/Regnum from operating within diocesan boundaries: on the grounds that they are separatists, dividing parishes and families, poaching vocations to the religious life and priesthood, manipulating minors, children and teens, (ECYD), into spiritual direction and confession with unqualified priests (LC) and lay members (RC).
- Not a family in the ordinary sense of the word: one of the most serious accusations against this organization is that it separates members from their families and sometimes separated spouses. One of the rules of the order is that if a member is in a foreign country s/he can visit his family once every five years. Many members have been estranged from their families for much longer.
- Not and never was missionary in the common acceptance of the term: The Legion of Christ has only ever had one mission project: in the state of Quintana Roo, Mexico. The bulk of its members, clerical and lay, are otherwise employed: universities and schools for the upper classes in upscale neighborhoods in the USA, Mexico, Chile, Spain plus fundraising, recruiting and attending on its priests, seminarians and lay members. What percentage of Legionary priest, religious and lay member work on the Quintana Roo – did I say Cancún/Mayan Riviera- Mission? Why do Legionary priests consider this assignment as less desirable?
- The Legion of Christ’s specific apostolate is the recruitment and formation of leaders (business, economy, professions, politics, etc.) to transform society from the top down. See Legion of Christ Constitutions. As such it would be similar to the Jesuits and Dominicans, the opposite to the Franciscans, and the same as the Opus Dei. Take your choice: the Spanish way (Opus) or the Mexican way (Legion/Regnum Christi). A copy of the Constitutions of the Legionaries of Christ is not available for free in English. You have to buy the book. A Spanish language version is. Quoting and translating from the official Spanish:
“4. 3.º They exercise their pastoral ministry in the areas of proclaiming the faith, education, evangelizing the family, culture and the media, leading juvenile groups, clergy training, and the promotion of justice, charity and solidarity with the neediest; as well the spiritual attention and formation of Regnum Christi members.”[i]
The spiritual, psychological, and financial compensation of Father Maciel and other Legionaries’ abuse has long been a sore point for the Legion, a scandal to the Catholic community and of concern to popes and the Roman Curia. The American media has played a major role in keeping the Legionaries feet to the fire ever since two Catholic reporters brought the abuse to the public’s attention in February 1997. If this had not happened and if the victims had not lodged a formal complaint with the Vatican in 1998, it is the writer’s opinion that these abuses of obscure Mexican seminarians in a Mexican religious order would have gone unnoticed to the international community. One might suspect that the scandal revealed by American and Mexican media and the formal ecclesiastical complaint lodged by the victims with the help of a Vatican lawyer had much to do with the eventual major Vatican “visitations -euphemism for investigations- of founder Father Marcial Maciel by Monsignor Charles Scicluna in May 2005[ii], and his religious order by Monsignor Velasio de Paolis in March 2009[iii].
[i] “ejerzan su ministerio pastoral principalmente en los campos del anuncio de la fe, la educación, la evangelización de la familia, de la cultura y de los medios de comunicación social, la animación de grupos juveniles, la formación del clero y la promoción de la justicia, la caridad y la solidaridad con los más necesitados; así como en la atención espiritual y formación de los miembros del Regnum Christi.”
Vatican City, Nov 1, 2014 / 04:21 am
After four years of drafts and adjustments, the troubled Legion of Christ has announced that its new constitutions have been approved by Pope Francis.
The Pope’s approval of the final draft of the new constitutions brings the first phase of renewal and purification to a close after it was discovered that Legion founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, had been living a double life.
The new constitutions were drafted during the congregation’s Extraordinary General Chapter meetings, which began on Jan. 9 and was mandated by Benedict XVI in the wake of the revelation of Fr. Maciel’s scandalous activities.
These represent the sixth edition that have been approved for the Legion by ecclesiastical authorities. Previous editions were approved in 1948, 1965, 1970, 1983 and 1994.
While the previous statutes consisted of 878 paragraphs, the new ones consist of 247 paragraphs.
The first part of the new statutes is dedicated to the charism and patrons saints of Legionaries of Christ, while the second part describes the four vows every Legionary must profess.
In addition, the Constitutions lay out the steps for formation, the characteristics of suitable candidates to be Legionaries of Christ, the religious profession, the studies, the ordination and the management and administration of the order.
A key difference between the old and the new constitutions are that the old ones included many clauses regarding the application of the norms, while the new constitution focuses more on essential principles.
The initial draft of the statutes were given to an ad hoc commission established by the Congregation for Consecrated Life, whose results were presented by Cardinal Braz de Aviz to the government of the Legion on July 3.
It was also on that occasion that the appointment of Fr. Gianfranco Ghirlanda S.J. as Pontifical advisor for the Legionaries of Christ was made public.
An expert in Canon Law, Fr. Ghirlanda has been among the consultants of the Legionaries of Christ since the very beginning of their renewal process.
Following the suggestion of the Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, the constitutions include references to the documents of the Second Vatican Council as well as other official documents on consecrated life.
The Congregation also asked that clear references to Sacred Scripture and the Code of Canon Law be included.