Catholic (Convert) Parents Beware of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi recruiting your young sons!
Note: because the Legion of Christ received so much bad publicity from the Founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel, scandal and the subsequent investigation/supervision of the order by the Vatican, 2000-2018, the Legion has morphed into Regnum Christi (or other front names).
This warning is for all Catholics, especially Orthodox and Traditional Catholics, home-schooling parents and even more for converts to the Catholic Faith. By this we mean very devout and generous Catholics who want to protect their children from the ravages of Modernism, hedonism and materialism. These Catholics who seek the very best in Catholic tradition, systematically eschew liberal orders and movements, and seek groups which are very devout, faithful to the Pope and Catholic Doctrine, solid devotions (Rosary, Stations of the Cross, etc.) and strict moral guidance (forbidding pre-marital sex, artificial birth control, etc..) The Legion/Regnum will offer them this.
They are often approached by the Opus Dei, the Legion of Christ and its Regnum Christi lay movement. Because these organizations, New Religious Movements, are loyal to the pope and preach the Catholic Catechism, well-meaning Catholic parents are easily duped.
Some founding members of ReGAIN, 1990-2000 were from the Catholic and Convert group described above. They had been duped by the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi: we had a intensely dedicated (2GF) married woman, a mother of a Legion seminarian, and a wonderful convert couple of Catholic Educators who had given their everything to staff a Legion school in the Atlanta area…
So that the reader does not dismiss ReGAIN’s caveat emptor as some kind of personal vendetta, we are including a message received today from a totally different source.
Quote: When I first heard about Maciel
I was sent a copy of an article in a CA newspaper by a home schooling Catholic couple. C Hernández was dying in the hospital and asked a nurse to write down his testimony. He explained how he left the Legion of Christ and how Maciel abused him repeatedly as a child when he was recruited into his Order as a child along with other young boys erroneously called seminarians.
The couple who sent me the article were concerned that another couple with two little boys who were also Catholic converts were being continually being treated to visitations by two handsome Legion priests.
As converts they felt special when they were told their little boys had vocations to the priesthood and were becoming convinced to send their children off to the Legion boarding school, Apostolic School, in NH.
Concerned the young converts were being brainwashed , the couple who had contacted me asked their pastor to intervene and speak with these parents.
Mr. Bell called me from San Diego . Having been educated at Wharton Business School Philadelphia and having looked into the Legion’s Oxford school in Mexico, he was shocked to see the Legion employed the same professor he once had at Wharton. “Why would a “Catholic” institution of higher learning hire a man whose main topic in all of his classes goes back to EST training. Previously I thought EST was Scientology .
Shortly after speaking to their pastor the Bell’s received a letter in the mail from a Col. Laughton or Naughton , I cannot recall exactly.
It contained the copy of an offer to sue them on behalf of the Legion’s good name and was addressed to Monsignor Bannon LC. Bannon’s reply was also included in which he stated that the couple’s motivation may have been just misguided concern for the children. and to hold off but keep them posted.
Mr. Bell was taken aback when he called me and realized he had just been the recipient of a threat. Later they decided to relocate on the East coast.
Then I began to read some articles by Gerald Renner in the “Hartford Courant.”
Mr. Renner was interviewing several seminarians who had escaped after being held in the Legion’s Westchester NY mansion. After they had expressed the fact that they wanted to leave the Legion seminary they were sent there and were held against their will. It was the same mansion previously owned by Sun Myung Moon wherein college students ,whose parents had hired de-programmers, were also held . I saw the film footage of a Documentary on TV recorded by several of the parents of Moonies trying to gain access at the guard house in an attempt to talk to their children.
Brainwashing appeared to be habitual in these quasi-religious groups and apparently the Legion was applying the same techniques.
Magdala Mary, Catholic journalist
Enlace a un artículo en Proceso:
Pasaje largo en castellano de la carte original de las víctimas más abajo.
Article below by ReGAIN staff:
Pope Francis, Cardinal Braz de Aviz,
Compel Legion of Christ leaders to
Have Mercy on Fr. Maciel’s Victims who continue to be
victimized by the institution’s Devious Methods!
ReGAIN has previously alluded to the ongoing saga of Pedophile Founder of the Legion of Christ’s “historical victims” who have never received proper compensation for their sexual, psychological and spiritual abuse.
The leadership of this Vatican approved religious congregation has demonstrated time and time again their lack of human and Christian response to the plight of the victims.
Remember that Pope Benedict XVI described the Founder, Fr, Maciel, as a man “lacking moral scruples.” I fear the present Legion leadership suffers from the same spiritual malaise. Fr. Maciel, the conman, was full of tricks. One of these was to predate his letters. For example, he would delay answering a letter or demand -filed, say, in September- and answer at his convenience – (when it might be too late!) in November-, but dating his response in October! Present Legion leadership is using the same trickery in responding to the victims’ demands. Normal people are easily duped by psychopaths!
Another Legion trick is to divide the victim group by reaching out in devious ways to individuals. The victims had formally demanded they be approached as a group. Instead of honestly and nobly to the victims’ legitimate demands, Legion leadership has used a series of subterfuges more befitting a MAFIA and cult-like organization than a bona fide Catholic Religious Congregation.
What kind of Christianity is this?
What kind of Vatican oversight is this?
What kind of a so-called religious order is this?
The time for excuses, platitudes and promises is long past.
Legion Leadership, stop acting like a Mafia and Intra-Eclesial Sect.
Compensate victims immediately or accept your sins of negligence before God and man..
In our previous article we have explained how the Legion of Christ leadership has continued to stone-wall and play games with the victims who have been requesting clear acknowledgement of abuses, restoration of their reputation and just compensation for damages.
Their heretofore fruitless efforts have been going on for over 20 years!
As the Legion hosts its latest Chapter General in Rome seeking their illusive charism and miracle renewal through restructuring and producing reams of obsessive-compulsive documents, victims have attempted once more to make the Legion respond. In their latest effort -and here one must commend them for their patience with the Legion and hope in Holy Mother Church! – they reformulate previous unanswered demands:
Summary by ReGAIN staff
- That the Legion of Christ as an institution formally and unambiguously reinstate the good name of their Founder’s sexual abuse victims who were once branded “enemies of the Church and of the Legion.”
- That the Legion as an institution extend such an apology to all the media that once were instrumental in the detraction and calumnies spread about the victims, other former Legionaries, family and friends. This apology should be communicated unequivocally to all Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi members.
- There can be no real reconciliation with the “historical victims” until the Legion of Christ makes a just, appropriate and complete compensation to the victims.
- In order to bring this about, a team of three Legion delegates with full authority should interface with a team of three delegates chosen by Fr. Maciel’s ‘historical victims’ to effect a true meeting and dialogue between the parties.
- The victims group demands the right (because of advanced age) to transmit or transfer to others the benefits derived from the settlement.
- The victims will not accept any “silencing” by Legion authorities as a condition for compensation. This has been a consistent part of the Legion’s de facto historical Modus Operandi with diverse victims and their families.
Section of original Spanish language letter:
Dutch cult expert Frances Peters gave this masterly power point presentation at the International Cultic Association’s International Conference in Bordeaux, July 2017.
ReGAIN believes it is of great value to members, parents, friends, helpers and professionals involved with controlling, coercive, harmful groups.
ReGAIN wants to remind the public that such harmful groups can exist even in the heart of mainstream – including Christian and Catholic – churches and communities. We will post upcoming articles re questionable Catholic Communities and Movements.
Please click title below:
ReGAIN is proud to reproduce, with permission and in its totality, an in-depth article from OD Watch, December 2017 issue.
Vatican City, January 20, 2018
Startling parallels appear between the Opus Dei and the Legion of Christ as regards spirituality, training, systems and Modus Operandi. Both organizations have come under scrutiny since their inception until the present day because of their questionable methods; the author describes the following areas:
- Production of a vocation
- Loss of faith
- Double truth (double-speak)
- The Opus is Mortally Wounded
The comments made in the article could be applied to other questionable groups inside and outside the Catholic Church and may help readers understand how such groups, recruit, train and retain members; and to grasp the situation of loved ones who may be inside… and thus estranged from family and friends, among other things. Continue reading
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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