Categorized | Marquette, News

Opus Dei committed to meeting students’ spiritual needs

Posted on 02 April 2008 by Remington Tonar

In addition to University Ministry, Marquette’s main campus spiritual resource provider, there are several Catholic student groups on campus, e.g. Catholic Outreach, Bellarmine, and Schoenstatt. Moreover, beyond these organizations, there are a few non-university affiliated Catholic groups that are becoming increasingly popular among students, such as Opus Dei and Regnum Christi. These groups have presented themselves as alternatives for students seeking different ways to enhance their faith.

The 87,000 member strong lay institution, Opus Dei, was established in 1928 by Saint Josemaria Escriva, and it has been the subject of controversy since the release of The DaVinci Code, which fictitiously portrays the organization as clandestine and manipulative. A growing number of Marquette students have begun attending a regular Bible study and discussion group sponsored by Opus Dei, finding it instrumental in advancing their faith.

“Ongoing faith formation is vital to Catholics who desire to live authentic, healthy, spiritual lives,” says Mark Adams, a third year law student. “I have found Opus Dei priests to be great at providing practical advice, as well as theologically sound and orthodox teaching.” Adams also finds that the group helps him evangelize, noting that it is convenient to invite friends to the group as a way of increasing doctrinal awareness.

The Opus Dei group is facilitated by Father Tim Uhen of The Priestly Society of the Holy Cross, the society affiliated with Opus Dei, and by Professor Christopher Wolfe, who teaches Political Science here at Marquette.

Regnum Christi is also seeing increasing interest among Marquette students. Regnum Christi is an international lay organization with close to 70,000 members, affiliated with the Legionaries of Christ, a congregation of priests founded in 1941. Regnum Christi has, like Opus Dei, come under criticism for being too conservative.

Describing the organization’s role in his life, sophomore Nick Preston says, “As a member of Regnum Christi, you have commitments…these provide a structure for my life and help me to be more proactive in my faith, rather than just showing up for Mass on Sundays like many students”.

Joel Mishork, who transferred to Marquette this semester, views Regnum Christi as an “extra tool” to support his faith journey. “It helps remind me that without action my faith means nothing,” said Mishork. Mishork hopes that Regnum Christi will motivate him to be an authentic witness to the Gospel at Marquette, and he aims to live out the doctrines and principles of the Catholic Church while attending school here.

The Regnum Christi men’s section in Milwaukee is administered by Father Robert DeCesare of the Legionaries of Christ, who travels from Chicago to provide spiritual direction and lead Bible studies for the Regnum Christi members at Marquette.

As a Catholic university, Marquette has a duty to provide for the spiritual needs of students; however, many students have found that their own spiritual needs can be best met by organizations outside the university structure. “We all have different ways of serving the Church and growing in our faith,” says Preston, “Regnum Christi is the way I have been called to do just that”.

31 Comments For This Post

  1. Jack Says:

    The Founder of the Regnum Christi movement was recently demoted by the Vatican on accusations of pedophilia. Then the Vatican abolished the Legionaries of Christ private vows, and now continues to change its rules.

    Having been in the Regnum Christi for a decade I can assure you it is not a means of getting closer to Christ, but a means to recruit and get money. It destroys families and brain washes its followers to any sort of constructive criticism.

  2. Jeannette Says:

    I would also disagree that criticism against the Legion is for excessive conservatism; mostly, it’s for its emphasis on recruitment and money, deception, and complete failure to protect young boys from the sexual predators in the order. All orders have had abuse problems, but the Legion’s haven’t been handled well (Frs. Izquierdo, Devlin, Cutanda, Rodriguez, et al) and are ongoing: there was a three-year-old abused at the Colegio de Oxford in Mexico City in 2006, and there were several accusations against a priest at one of the Mano Amiga schools last year. (See “Milenio” newspaper; I’ll admit that my Spanish is rusty so I’m unsure of the details). Please investigate this group thoroughly before getting involved so as to make an informed decision. Many, many people have reported negative experiences with the LC/RC. On campus, you might see them under Youth for the Third Millenium (now Mission Youth), Christian Life, Compass, or Gaudium, although I haven’t seen more than the name for the latter. All these groups, and the ones for other ages (Challenge, K4J, Leadership Training Program, Sportsleader, ConQuest, Pure Fashion et al) fall under the Regnum Christi, or “Mission Network”, umbrella.

  3. Phil Says:

    Jack, I think there is a difference between Fr. Maciel being “demoted”, and him asked to retire to private life. I have a degree in theology; a priest cannot be “demoted” per say, since ordination confects an indelible character. In the case of Fr. Maciel, he was essentially asked not to practice his priestly office, which is a sanction but not a demotion. The priesthood isn’t like an ordinary job. Also, I know several RC members whose families have been strengthened through RC programs and activities. I’ve confronted them before about some of the same criticisms brought forth by Jack and Jeanette, and all of their experiences have been positive, and I can assure they haven’t been “brain washed”. I will say that RC seems cult-esque. However, to many outsiders Catholicism in general seems cult-esque. Certainly RC isn’t for everybody, but I do think that some of the above criticisms are unfair. Certainly many people have had “negative experiences”, but I know many who have had enormously “positive experiences” as well.

  4. Jeannette Says:

    Again, I strongly recommend that everyone investigate the Legion thoroughly before getting involved. I respect a person’s informed judgment. One thing to consider: an LC/RC is strongly discouraged from saying anything negative about the Legion; the Vatican has recently abrogated the vow of charity but I’m sure it will take time for the order to reform. You can’t be certain that an RC member really is overwhelmingly enthusiastic (some are, I’m sure!) or just is reluctant to express his/her real feelings. There are some good priests in the Legion, but I’ve recently heard as much gushing about one of the good ones, as the one who earned the nickname “Prince of Darkness” in Atlanta, for example. So I’m not confident about your assurance that they aren’t brainwashed. “All of their experiences have been positive”.

    Which of the criticisms do you consider unfair, and which are fair? (of mine. I don’t know Jack. umm, not in that sense)

    Here’s a good place to start, if you’re concerned.

  5. Jeannette Says:

    Sorry; this link works.

  6. Glenn Says:

    Just ONE negative experience that is due to structural problems is one too many. And how about sexual abuse? I know many victims of Maciel and of other LCs. They certainly can be said to have had a negative experience. And the were, unfortunately, on the inside looking out.

  7. Keith Says:

    Caveat emptoris! Beware of the Legion and Regnum Christi! Having been a Legionary myself, I know too many exlc who no longer practice their Catholic Religion. These were very conservative, idealistic young men like myself who now feel disillusioned with the Catholic Church. Where was She when the organization formed to help exmembers of LC/Rc, Regain, was sued in Virginia for “stealing” the LC constitution and those superficial letters of Maciel, the perverted founder of the LC/RC?

  8. Nate Says:

    I must say first of all, that I find it very refreshing to know that there are some very concerned Catholics at here at Marquette University. Just the simple fact that we can read and respond to such issues surrounding movements of the Church is indeed a very encouraging thought.

    Now, in response to both Jack and Jeanette’s feelings on the accusations of pedophilia within the Legion, I would like to remind both of you that there are accusations found within virtually every order, movement, community, and so forth. Just because one is simply “accused” does not reflect on the order as a whole. If that were the case, you could say the entire Church herself was a breeding ground for homosexuality and pedophilia. So, because of all the million dollar settlements and pending lawsuits against the Church throughout the U.S., would it also be a fair assumption to suggest that all U.S. priests and bishops strongly condone such practices?

    As a committed member of RC for 11 years now, I can only tell you that some of my best friends and experiences came as a direct result of The Legionaries profound influence on my life. I was a troubled youngster consumed with the world before I was introduced to one of their retreats (I was 12 years old at the time). It completely changed my life. The priests and brothers at those retreats preached about everything I lacked. They taught me patience, humility, charity, sacrifice, and aboveall total consecration and love for Christ and all souls. Meeting Fr. Maciel for the first time, was on of the many highlights of my life. One of the most sincere men I’ve ever met…something I’ve always envied. He never once has ever talked badly of anyone, never complained. I have met him on numberous occasions and was always amazed at his humility and devotion to our Lord (read “Gospel Charity” or “Time and Eternity” for examples).

    One point I want to make sure you all understand is that the Legion is still a very new religious order by Church standards. With any new religious order, comes peresecution (such as the franciscans, jesuits, etc., etc.) There will always be someone who questions their methods, because of who they are and what they represent.

    Just to give you a little history lesson (for those of who claim to know so much). Fr. Maciel was persecuted around the 60s and 70s and was politely asked to leave the order and seperate himself from public ministry by his holiness. There were accusations of drug abuse (mostly from some bitter ex-legionaries among others). He was exiled for nearly two years. He asked nothing and said nothing, just prayed and prayed and prayed. He did exactly what he had always preached about. He humbled himself and obeyed the Holy Father, and embraced the cross always asking the blessed Mother for guidance and intercession. After all this controversy, it was found that the accusations were indeed false as an attempt to scandalize the holy founder. Accusations of pedophilia against Fr. Maciel were first introduced at the turn of the new millenium as these stories grew rampid throughout the Church. It then became a very popular cause and sadly, people often seeked publicity for such a very serious topic. Once again, the founder was asked to leave his office of public ministry, not because he was guilty, but to save the Church from more scandal. He once again accepted the Holy Father’s terms all the way until his death earlier this year (and oh by the way, the accusers turned out to be the very same accusers who claimed him to be a drug addict from the 70s…who strangely enough are still considered credible to some).

    Also, as for the issue of their “dirty politics” surrounding fund-raising and recruitment. Please keep in mind that because the Legionaries take vows of poverty, they rely solely on donations. So, it only makes sense and would only seem practical for them to raise money for expenses regarding both physical and spiritual needs. That is the only way they can flourish, to be with the world, not of the world.

    As for Jeanette’s insight on investigating the Legion’s history and background, I would like to strongly encourage you all to read the best-selling biography of Fr. Maciel and the founding of the Legion/RC. The book is called “Christ is My Life” and is available at most Catholic bookstores. This will give you a very detailed look at the founder and the movement’s goals and mission as it relates to the needs of the Church.

    My brother was an LC seminarian for two years out east. He left on his own accord…not because he was angry with their dehumanizing methods of recruitment, greedy fund-raising, or pro-pedophilia campaigns…but quite simply because it was not the vocation Christ was calling him to. He continues to embrace his RC vocation by participating in retreats, missions, and other apostolic activities. RC, the Legion, and Opus Dei are indeed not for everyone. It is a calling, just as you and I are called to be apostles and instruments of the Holy Spirit. It’s not up to us, but the will of God to show us the way and if we happen to find Christ in the process, how can anyone tell them that’s wrong? Last time I checked, we are one body in Christ, one Lord of all, one Church, and one faith.

    If we can’t even put aside our little prejudices for one second and unite our differences within the Church, how can one ever expect to win over souls who firmly oppose Her. You see, we only add to the scandals by publicizing our complaints…The real battle is on the outside, not from within. There are some souls that are in serious jeopardy that might not ever see God. It’s our supreme duty as Catholics and apostles to administer to those souls. So please, let’s put aside these petty concerns and misconceptions and focus our efforts on winning souls for Christ for the glory of God and the salvation of all mankind. Thanks for listening and Godbless.

  9. Joel Mishork Says:

    Hey Everybody,

    I was recently made aware of criticism brought about by this article in which I was quoted. I’m getting onto the comment board a little late as Nate has put very nicely my same thoughts. I won’t add to his comments with anything other then this right now; I have been in RC three years. I have had a Legionary as my Spiritual Director for 4 years. And I spent a year and a half working with them and living in a Legionary community. My views on the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement have only gotten better. I have also done numerous things with Opus Dei and Legion of Mary and my experiences have been equally positive. I see the beauty of the movements as a way to work within the Church, I particularly have found great means for myself to improve through RC. Like Nate said, I would hate for this to be a divider in our Faith and I’m more then happy to talk about any of my experiences if anybody has any questions or doubts. God bless!

    [email protected]
    (Mathew 7:15-20)

  10. Emily LaLoggia Says:

    Thank you so much for continuing to publish articles related to Catholicism! It is so encouraging and uplifting to see some awesome Catholics here on campus. So, thanks again! Keep it up! :)

  11. Jeannette Says:

    Nate, Yesterday at 12:35 PM I said, “All orders have had abuse problems, but the Legion’s haven’t been handled well (Frs. Izquierdo, Devlin, Cutanda, Rodriguez, et al) and are ongoing: there was a three-year-old abused at the Colegio de Oxford in Mexico City in 2006, and there were several accusations against a priest at one of the Mano Amiga schools last year.” so yes, I agree that many orders have problems. You didn’t really address the rest.

    It looks like you’ve gotten your information only from the Legion; it’s not quite correct.

    First, the drug abuse accusations were not found to be false: the “vow of charity” was instituted during the drug investigation so that the LC members could not cooperate with the Vatican investigators. This is the vow that the Vatican has now ordered the Legion to halt. I still see LC/RC people defending this vow- arguing with the Vatican!

    The men who accused Maciel took their case to Rome but have never sought financial gain, and they did so only at the urging of a bishop (Juan Vaca’s, I think, after he became a diocesan priest?) I suggest you read the Vatican statement of May 2006 if you think the Vatican does not believe Maciel was guilty. Again, all orders have problems, but it is very troubling that the LC refuses to accept that Maciel was most likely a child molester. “not because he was guilty”, you said. Sounds like you’re second-guessing the Vatican again. That’s not what I’m looking for in a movement.

    Sophia Press no longer publishes “Christ is my Life” because the Vatican invited ‘Our Father’ to a private life of prayer and penance, so you’ll need to look for it in a second-hand store. It was written by an RC (former LC I think?) so don’t expecting it to be objective; there’s nothing wrong with puff pieces per se, as long as one is honest about it. The book to counter it is “Vows of Silence”, also out of print. The facts are solid, but some of their conclusions are too left for me. I suggest you read both books if you’re not sure what to think.

    Unfortunately, Nate and Joel, the LC/RC is a divider. Many parishes in many dioceses have been torn apart by the Legion moving in. Several bishops have banned or restricted the Legion from operating on parish or diocesan property, including Ft Wayne-South Bend, Columbus, OH, Minneapolis-St. Paul, Richmond, VA, Los Angeles (hey, even a clock that runs backward is right sometimes), and Baton Rouge. (Is Baltimore next?) Archbishop Flynn calls the Legion a “parallel church”.

    If someone reaches the same conclusion I did, and decides to speak up, you should be ready for the false innuendo that will result. It isn’t too painful once you realize it’s their MO. Just keep on suggesting that people make an informed decision and remember that it’s better to be the recipient of gossip than the purveyor.

    “little prejudices” “put aside these petty concerns and misconceptions” “strangely enough are still considered credible to some”. Belittling us doesn’t change the truth, nor does it speak well of your movement.

    Where did you get the quote, “dirty politics”? To whom do you attribute this quotation? I didn’t see that above anywhere. Many former members dislike the emphasis that was placed on fundraising. Of course all nonprofits raise money, but the rank and file (3gfs) have been known to go dumpster-diving, while Maciel lived in luxury. How many Mercedes did he have? I’ve seen a lack of honesty about how the money is used. I think people who go on the YTM missions are charged $80 apiece, and the flyers (2 years ago-it may have changed) said “includes food and lodging”, both of which were donated by the hosting parish. That seemed to me to be a lack of forthrightness. I do hope Fr Corcuera manages to reform the Legion; it has the potential to become a good order. I’ve decided to wait and see if that happens, so my children aren’t allowed to get involved with the RC.

  12. Phil Says:

    Let’s not forget however that one of the accusers of Fr. Maciel did retract his accusation, saying that he was approached and asked to lie about Fr. Maciel.

    Also, Jeannette, I am interested in the Vatican banning the “vow of charity”, which I am not familiar with. Could you possibly cite your source, or provide a link to some information on that? Thanks.

    Finally, I thought Nate was very charitable in his analysis, even if he did not have all the facts. I felt Nate’s call for unity in his conclusion spoke very well of his movement.

  13. Glenn Says:

    Nate, I would like to correct the very first line of your “history lesson” with which you are so quick to teach us. It was in the 1950s. May show us how accurate your version of history really is.

    Also, Phil, the Vatican has more than the original 9 accusations. It has been reported that there are many many more who have come forward.

    And nearly all religious orders experience these accusations???? How many founders have been disciplined by the Vatican for them? And there is also the Spanish saying: Mal de muchos, consuelo de tontos.

  14. Phil Says:

    Glenn, I would like to iterate that I am a neutral party, and am simply looking for facts. Thus, just as I asked Jeanette to cite her source regarding the vow of charity, so that I might analyze the material for myself. I would ask that you direct me to your source regarding the further accusation that have come forward. Thanks Glenn.

  15. Jeannette Says:

    The man who recanted lied under oath at least once. I don’t know for certain which time it was, and neither do you.

    When you google, you could also use the phrases “secret vow”, “fourth vow”-I’ll check too and get back with you.

    I don’t consider the problems with the Legion to be petty.

  16. Heather Says:

    Oh, by the way, these articles will not be available through Regain for too much longer because the LC are using their Nazi-like tactics to silence the truth. If you think those articles are helpful, make copies of them and give to anyone who is interested, especially RC members. Based on my experience, seeds will be planted and the Holy Spirit will back you up and continue to lead them to the truth.

  17. Heather Says:

    The problem with that, Nate, is that you have been duped by the Legion so it is definitely a biased account, full of the Legion spin as usual. Because of this you are not able to be completely objective. I am sure that you mean well but be very careful which kingdom you are defending.

    The following is from another post that I think applies to this one as well:

    “We are well aware of the difficulty in discerning whether or not this movement is from God. Time will deifinitely tell. We have been given a discernment that you have not yet been given. We were members in good standing and experienced the evil that is at the root. We know for certain that it is there. Remember, we are dealing with a diabolical deception. Satan is far more intelligent than we are and knows very well how to deceive the elect. But in his arrogance he always shows his tail. That is what we have seen. You are a victim of the deceptive propaganda that is being spun by the Legion. Where did you get your information for your last post? Let me guess: Zenit News or better yet, The Regnum Christi website? The way that you responded to reading it is exactly the way your emotions were intentionally manipulated to respond. Remember Satan can appear as an angel of the light. How else would he reach orthodox Catholics? They would not be deceived by the same tricks that those with the liberal bent would be deceived.

    Persecution of the Church has taken many forms. ‘In former times Christians were incited to renounce Christ; now they are taught to deny Christ. Then they were forced, now they are taught; then violence was used, now it is deception; then one heard the shouts of the enemy; now, he prowls around, gentle and insinuating, it is difficult to recognize him. Everyone knows how he tried to force Christians to deny Christ: he tried to attract them to himself so that they would renounce him; but they confessed Christ and were crowned by him. Now they are taught to deny Christ by trickery, because he doesn’t want them to realise that he is drawing them away from Christ’ (St. Augustine, Commentaries on the Psalms, 39:1).

    He draws us away from Christ by the way we treat others.
    Christ would never treat people the way that MM/LC does in secret.He would never value them for their ability to bring in money or new members. He would never lie or deceive to evangelize. He would never believe that the end justifies the means. He would never psychologically abuse or intentionally manipulate our emotions to secure our obedience or our silence when we have ‘caught on.’ He wants us to respond out of FREEDOM and LOVE.

    ‘False messiahs and false prophets will appear, performing signs and wonders so great as to mislead even the chosen if that were possible’ (Matt 24:24).”

  18. Heather Says:

    Nate and Joel, we, the people who have experienced the good and the evil first hand, believe that you are drawing conclusions that God did not intend to be drawn. We can see why you feel so positive because we have been in your shoes but our experience includes much more. You cannot relate to us because you have not yet experienced as much as we have. We believe that you are rushing to judgments and, not only that, but we KNOW that your emotions were intentionally manipulated by MM and the integrated LC to do so.

    From a another former member:

    “I wanted to comment on the conclusions that I drew from the “signs” of God’s favor(apparent good fruit) that seemed to be present in RC. If God seemed to be blessing something that we did in RC, for example, a team resolution, a Pure Fashion Show, the fruits of a Familia study, a K4J camp, etc…, I automatically assumed that it was a “sign” that he was totally in favor of RC/LC/MM. This assumption was definitely encouraged by the LC. We were constantly led to believe that all of the good fruit were signs of God’s favor for the Legion. I see now that God was blessing our efforts in spite of the mixed agendas of RC/LC/MM not because of them. He was meeting us in our efforts to serve Him and trying to draw us closer to Him and His ways and not necessarily RC. Similar to the first reading from last week when we read about David defeating Goliath. At first it seemed to King Saul that God was blessing his kingship when, in fact, he was preparing for David to become king. Saul misread the “signs.” Another example is the way that God seems to bless other Christian denominations in their efforts to serve him. They may assume because of those “signs”(the good fruit) that God is totally in favor of the whole organization and that they corner the market on salvation.

    I think God will bless anything that we do that is good, true and beautiful but we have to be careful not to jump to the wrong conclusions when he does.

    Noah tried to warn others in his day and we all know how successful he was. Thank God he did not give up. God’s prophets have rarely been well received. I guarantee there was similar confusion among the faithful at the time of the Arian heresy or any other heresy for that matter. It is only clear from hindsight. We do not have illusions about being able to convince everyone of the truth but if we can save one soul from the trauma that we experienced then it is worth it. If the only thing we accomplish by posting on these blogs is a greater awareness of the hidden agenda and methods of the LC than so be it. Forewarned is forearmed.

  19. Amy Says:

    I was a member of RC for many years. I was very (100%) committed to it for a long time. I remember when I first heard stories about abuse in LC/RC and had witnessed things that troubled me, I had a panicky feeling that if these stories were true what would I do? I could not dare to believe the accusations. That would cause too big of a loss in my life. If I had to let go of RC I don’t know if I would know who I was. My very identity was tied to this movement. So I did what every member who is emotionally attached to RC/LC does; I rationalized every gnawing feeling I had. I found a way to blame the accusers. I let the mesmerizing words I heard from the LC priests drown out the voice of my conscience. But God did not let my peace from this “coping mechanism” last for long. He began to gradually reveal the reality of the situation. I was living in an illusion. I really thought that LC/RC were a foundation in my life. I associated this foundation with Christ. What I came to find out through much heartache was that my faith in RC/LC was built on sand. Through a series of events my eyes were opened to the truth and I began to question and object. At that point I became not useful to them any longer.(You exist for the sake of the movement. The movement does not exist for the sake of the soul) Once you become useless to them psychological abuse takes the place of the previous flattery that had been the Modus Operandi.One of the modern techniques that is used today by evil is inverted psychiatry(psychological abuse to destroy minds)and the LC priests are trained extensively in psychology. There are subtle threats to damage your reputation if you let the truth of what you have discovered be told; you are purposely isolated from your close friends; the LC priests purposely try to stir up jealousy between you and your friends; the LC priests try to provoke outbursts of anger by stirring up your pride or vanity; whisper campaigns are started against you to undermine your influence as you are indirectly pressed to go inactive. The legionaries are trained in emotional manipulation. The know exactly how to say the bare minimum with just the right look or sigh to plant seeds of doubt or to steer your very dear friends away from you. At the same time they appeal to the pride and vanity of your friends with flattery to secure an inordinate attachment to them and this is another potential source of division between the flattered friends and the rejected member. These are just a few aspects of the MO that is part of the movement. It is not just the weakness of the priest. This is the way the more integrated priests of the LC are trained to force the useless member out of the movement. Stories like this are common in all parts of the country.
    When someone is considered “useless” to RC/LC it is usually because that person has begun to catch on to the bigger picture of what is going on simultaneously with all the “good fruits.” Their conscience has begun to be very bothered over the very uncharitable way seemingly holy priests, consecrated women, and other formators treat certain people and this member begins to question and object to these sins against charity (the supposed “queen virtue” of the movement). This causes a gradual disintegration for the disillusioned member. That is when the Nazi-like tactics of “promote to remove,” “press to release,” and “isolate” come into play. As if that is not enough, the psychological abuse goes deeper. At the same time the LC priests cover their tracks legally by publicly offering the secretly blacklisted member aids to persevere in their RC vocation so it seems to the rank and file members that everything is being done out of charity to help this person who is struggling with their vocation. What the rank and file members do not see are the psychological abuses that are going on simultaneously. On a side note, The blacklisted member has never been directly told that they are being “kicked out” so he/she is very confused as he/she tries to read between the lines. Talk about evil. In God’s mercy, Christ was there to draw me closer to Him through all of this. I now know that my hope is in Him alone, a painful but important lesson. Many accusations like these are being investigated by the vatican.
    The best way to defeat this evil, I believe, is to cooperate with God in using our suffering for the good of the Church. We are so lucky to have the charism of redemptive suffering available to us.
    God willing, as we, the victims of LC/RC, grow in true charity by offering up our suffering(in union with Christ especially in the Mass) for the very ones who inflicted this on us,God will act and all will work for the good(Rom 8:28). This suffering can also be used for penance for our own personal sins as a purification(purgatory). In the mean time we are given the opportunity to grow in the patience of God and true charity(love Him above all things and everyone else as He loves us). As we attend Mass and offer ourselves and our suffering with Him our hearts will begin to heal and we will be overcoming evil with good(Rom 12:21) Our suffering will not be in vain. It will be used for an eternal purpose. Our speaking out is very important as well. I found needed support from Regain as have many others. The isolation that is part of the psychological abuse of the legion is greatly overcome from the testimonies of Regain. The gates of hell will not prevail against the Church. Our Blessed Mother will help us to be a part of crushing the head of the serpent and to defeat him by “blood of the Lamb(Mass) and the word of their testimony”(regainnetwork).(Rev12:11)Let us unite together for this purpose. Thank you regain for letting us know that we are not alone!!!

    I am sorry for the anger that testimonies like this cause the well intentioned RC/LC members. But like we heard in the Gospel recently “Christ did not come to bring peace but division”(Luke 12:51-53).

  20. Catholic girl Says:

    I was a 2nd degree member of RC for many years so I can sympathize with the positive view points. However, your personal experience is only a part of the reality that is going on. The personal testimonies of those who have had a negative experience are many. Some of them are stories that have resurfaced but many are personal testimonies that have happened recently and new victims are finding the courage to speak out everyday because of Regain. I could write one myself that would greatly disturb you if you were open to the whole truth. I do not need to share my testimony because I have read other testimonies written by other ExRC members who have experienced the same “evil” that I did. The same attempts from the more integrated LC priests to psychologically manipulate a person who has caught on to the bigger picture of the evil that is going on simultaneously with all of the obvious good fruits. Your belief in the innocence of Fr. Maciel and LC could not be based on anything but heresay. Do you know him personally? Have you met any of the 100’s of victims of the LC? If you really knew them you might not feel the same way. You would probably feel very confused by their sincerity and authenticity. Just because your experience does not yet include the dark side of LC/RC does not mean that it does not exist. If you are truly growing in authentic humility (that is difficult in RC because of the flattery and deception that is part of the MO) or at least truly desiring to grow in humility the Holy Spirit will gradually reveal the disturbing reality of the situation. He will not pull the rug out from under your feet. He knows how psychologically attached integrated RC members are(I am speaking from personal experience) and does not want “to pull the wheat up with the weeds.” As you grow in true humility and if your hope is placed in God alone and not RC/LC, He will be able to reveal the whole truth. “I have much more to tell you but you cannot bear it now. When he comes he will guide you to all truth…”(John 16:12-13) And then He will want you to be a part of the solution.

  21. Heather Says:

    Why I Decided to Leave the Regnum Christi

    The following is a letter written by a former Regnum Christi member after having decided to formally leave the Movement. Because there are many real and good fruits of the Regnum Christi, sometimes members do not take the time to reason out some of the bad and illegitimacies that they see and experience. The exiting member spells out a few elements of Regnum Christi that need re-thinking by its current members —

    1. cult-like behaviors (if not overtly a cult);

    2. the controversy of Fr. Maciel’s private life;

    3. the dispute of the valid canonical strength and message of the Communiqué from Pope Benedict of May 19, 2006 and why it can not be just a response from the Pope to quiet disgruntled journalists or former LC/RC members. (This was the “company line” that so many are led to believe as truth.)

    4. The disregard that so many Legionaries have for the directives of the Bishop and/or pastors and then, in turn, the LC distrust of many strong lay and clerical leaders in our Church;

    5. The divisive recruitment strategies LC/RC uses between husband/wife and parent/child; and

    6. Is it really spiritual direction???

    Dear N,

    … [Personal introductive paragraph]…

    I sincerely thank you for the concern you show by writing this email to me about your opinion on our leaving the Regnum Christi Movement. It appears to me that your perception of why our family left the Movement did not come from us or a close source, but from the rumors that have been circulated by the Legionaries and RC Members. I thought that it would be good for me to explain why I have decided to leave the Movement. I imagine you can understand how committed to and invested in the Legion and Movement we were for so many years, and how we had placed so much affection, sincere faith and hope in the mission we believed the Movement had from the Church. Indeed, there were many good times and great fruits over the years. The decision to leave the Regnum Christi Movement, after the initial period of taking a step back to reevaluate and research different aspects of the Legion and its work was all extremely difficult. This process and decision was not taken lightly whatsoever. Even if limited to the clubs of our children and for our community of friends, the social consequences alone of this decision have not been light for us at all. I hope you understand that we have prayed much over this decision.

    There are many factors contributing to the opinion we now hold of the Legion and Regnum Christi. I don’t mean to number them all off here, but I do want to share with you a few of the main ones.

    Many ORDAINED Legionary priests have left the Legion

    So many ordained Legionary priests have left the Legion, which is significantly more than the statistical norm in the Church. This is a simple math equation … add up the number of ORDAINED Legionary priests that there were in the Legion back in 1989. Then go through, class by class, year by year, the number that the Legion of Christ has ordained. For example in 1991, one of the largest classes ever, the Legion ordained 60 men. During the 50th anniversary of Fr. Maciel’s priestly ordination celebration in Mexico City in 1994, the Legion ordained 57 priests. On the Legion website, they say that they have 662 priests now. Adding up all of the Legionary ordinations over the years is almost double of the number 662. The facts are clear, A LOT of Legionary ORDAINED priests (not seminarians but ordained priests) have left the order. The percent is 48 – 51% depending on the exact number of Legionaries that are in the Legion right now. The percent is staggering. Some are still priests elsewhere; some have left the priesthood completely. And that doesn’t even address the huge number of seminarians and pre-candidates that have left. This is far more than the statistical norm in religious life. Why? Perhaps they too have figured out the moral lies and the abuse in the Legion?

    United States Diocesan Disdain for Legionaries

    Many, many diocesan priests throughout the United States have grave concerns about the Legionaries and the Regnum Christ and prohibit any of their programs in their parishes. Why? If we could dismiss the many allegations against Fr. Maciel himself, how can we dismiss the serious concerns and outright unwelcome that so many diocesan and religious priests give the Legionaries and the Regnum Christi? For years, I was told that it was the liberal, dissenting priests in the Church that did not like the strong orthodox stance of the Legion of Christ. I have come to find out that it is very clearly the opposite: it is the active, traditional, conservative, orthodox priests that have greatest concern over the harm that the Legion is doing to so many in the Church. Legionaries are not allowed on many campuses in the United States, notably some of the more conservative colleges such as Steubenville, Thomas Aquinas College,
    Ave Maria, Christendom College , the Catholic University of America, just to name a few. There is terrific disdain from Vocation Directors in most dioceses towards the Legionaries and their recruiting practices. This was shocking news to me when I realized that I believed the line that NON-SUPPORTERS OF THE LEGION OF CHRIST WERE UNFAITHFUL CATHOLICS.

    Diocesan pastors will not even let the Regnum Christi women’s teams meet at their churches. Why? These pastors are outwardly unsupportive and vocal in their stances against the Legion. How can this be? These are respected and holy priests in the dioceses around the country. In one of my positions in the Movement, I remember dealing with Fr. N, pastor of X, who wouldn’t even let one of the Regnum Christi Women’s teams just do a Holy Hour at his parish. Why would he hold this stance? Is he against prayer before our Eucharistic Lord??? He is a fine and holy priest in our Archdiocese. Even with the shortages of priests and the difficulty in covering Christmas and Easter holidays, many US pastors will not let the Legionaries help out even for sacramental purposes. Again, why?

    Bishops Forbid Legionaries in their Dioceses

    It is my understanding that there are 9 confirmed American Bishops/Archbishops that have totally disallowed the Legionaries from their dioceses, despite the LC constitutional approval from Rome years ago. I know of many bishops that although they have not formally suppressed Regnum Christi activities, they are openly unsupportive and warn their flock not to attend their schools or programs. For years, I had spoken with these bishops and tried to defend the Legionaries and their actions. I tried to “prove” the successes and Scriptural fruits of the Regnum Christi Movement. I never won not even one of them over to become supportive to the Legion. The same holds true for MANY lay and religious leaders in our Church today. Many outstanding and renowned Catholic lay leaders have expressed to me their lack of support for Legionaries over the years. I have had many conversations with Franciscans, Jesuits, Dominicans, Opus Dei priests and lay members … all, quite literally all, have expressed serious concerns about the practices and in some cases the overt lies that the Legion endorses and uses to “win kids over,” attend their boarding schools, start apostolates, fundraise, etc. The ill-regard for Legionaries at the North American College (a major seminary in Rome) is notable. There are very few persons, very few, outside of the Regnum Christi or the Legion of Christ that are enthusiastically and fundamentally in support of the Movement or the Legion. Those who were in support of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement before the Legionary response to Pope Benedict’s Communiqué (May 2006) are now overtly opposed to the group. I would be happy to point you to these people so you could talk with them directly. These are upstanding members of the Catholic Church, theologians and well-educated lay ecclesial ministers with universal respect in the Church. Again, we must ask why. Can this simply be chalked up as character assassination of Fr. Maciel? The crazy liberals attacking the Church we love? The complacency of diocesan priests? Those were the arguments that I was given and foolishly (albeit reluctantly) I listened to those explanations to compensate for my lack of factual research as to what the real reasons were.

    Pope Benedict XVI Communiqué-May 19, 2006

    The Communiqué in May of 2006 disproves those LC/RC theories as Holy Mother Church spoke out on May 19th with authority and canonical support. The Church seriously punished Fr. Maciel and this was not done lightly. According to Canon law and procedure, a Communiqué must be written with sufficient and admissible evidence to take that strong of an action against a priest and founder in the Church. Pope Benedict’s recent corrective and punitive actions this past Fall (2007) in the abolition of the private vows as well as his corrections to the family visits show that indeed it is not just the authors (Jason Berry and Gerard Renner) of Vows of Silence or other “senseless attackers” that see error in the practices and norms of the Legion and the Regnum Christi Movement. Over and over again, I was told by Legionary priests and members of the Movement that the Communiqué was just persecution and that they were POSITIVE that Fr. Maciel is innocent WITHOUT A DOUBT. If he is absolutely innocent then this is an atrocious statement by our Supreme Pontiff. Does the Legionary response then say that Pope Benedict is lying? Is the Church the “senseless attacker” of the Legion and their founder? This is a horrible implication. We should accept the fact that the bishops and other priests and lay ecclesial leaders have substantial and real reasons in their love for the Truth and for the Catholic Church to support their overt disapproval and lack of advocacy of the Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ. Perhaps only God will ever know the truth of Fr. Maciel’s private life but we must at least recognize that perhaps the Holy Spirit knows more than Fr. Maciel’s blind loyalists. To state boldly that they know he is innocent makes open ridicule of the seriousness of Pope Benedict’s statement of May 2006.

    Legionaries Attacking US Bishops (Where is the Charity Vow Here?)

    Many people have told me that the “weaknesses” and “spineless” actions of the diocesan priests and United States bishops is part of the reason why Legionaries don’t get along with other groups in the Church. I DO believe that that American Catholic Church is united to Rome despite the attacks I have heard from LC/RC members. And I wholeheartedly agree with the line you quote of working from within the Church to build the Church. It is because of this that I can no longer stand for a group that belittles or disregards the wishes of the princes of the Church (the Cardinals) and encourages the faithful of the diocese to sidestep the counsel or requests of their local ordinary and their pastors (I know multiple first-hand cases of Legionaries receiving a request from the local bishop or pastor about wanting to start apostolates or not recruiting through certain events, and then disregarding that directive and proceeding as they saw “best for the Movement”). Again, there is the justification that all is okay if the Movement will benefit . . . this is simply wrong. Why didn’t their secret vow (now, thankfully abolished by Pope Benedict in November of 2007) stand when it came to speaking well of their local ordinary in the dioceses that Legionaries serve?

    Regnum Christi/Legion of Christ Recruiting Practices

    A major part of the reason we left the Regnum Christi Movement was due to the stark reality we confronted many times, which was very painful to us spiritually. One of these realities is the immoral and unchristian practices and foundations for recruiting. Many young girls, ages 17-18, are inarguably pressured to become consecrated. The same was true for young boys going to the Apostolic Schools or entering the Novitiate. I know first hand of both directresses and territorial directors disregarding health symptoms, and explaining, for example, that it was common for young girls to no longer have menstrual cycles while they were “discerning”. These young ladies would show other conditions that would be labeled stress symptoms by anyone proficient in the medical field. Gynecologists do not agree with this position the amenorrhea is “normal” for young women, yet gynecologists DO recognize that severe stress is indeed a factor.

    Women and men who are of great financial talent are recruited for both their money and their positions in the society. I have now spoken with many affluent women who say that their “Spiritual Direction” appointments had nothing to do with their personal spiritual lives but just to make sure all was well at home and that the “tithing” would still come on a regular basis. No, this did NOT happen in EVERY case but it is certainly a common practice. Asking money from the elderly, some of whom are on fixed incomes, by using pressure tactics and lines of, “It’s God’s will for you to give to the Legion and not to your family members.” this is another area of major concern to me. I would be happy to discuss with you the immorality and disrespect that I know personally in way more than one case.

    Some have said, “Well, this has not been our experience.” This should never be ANYONE’S experience. That is a weak argument. (I have never had an abortion, but the fact that they take place in anyone’s life is WRONG regardless of my experience. Moral principles stand on their own.) Many girls and young men about to enter religious life are directly pitted against their families, under the directive of “this is God’s will AND FAMILY ADVICE SHOULD NOT BE SOUGHT” …SO MUCH THAT THEY ARE COUNSELED NOT TO EVEN BRING UP THE TOPIC OF THEIR DISCERNMENT ON HOME VISITS OR PHONE CALLS. There is something deeply wrong here especially when the son or daughter comes from a strong, openly communicative devout, daily-Mass-attending family. This is, in my opinion as a parent, terrible pressure to put on a young man or woman.

    Spiritual Direction … or is it Spiritual Strangulation?

    I believe (as does the Catholic Church teaching) that spiritual direction is not one person giving commands to the other, but rather 3 people discerning God’s will for that 1 person. The role of the Spiritual Director or Spiritual Guide is to help analyze if the correct catechetical, Scriptural and spiritual principles are being applied and then never to dictate the decision. The Church is clear here. This is a crucial issue that is so often not lived our correctly in the Legion and the Movement. It was common for women to come conflicted to other spiritual guides or spiritual leaders in the church (priests or members of their local Church Community) because their Legionary spiritual director had told them that they must be more generous with their time given to the Movement, despite the contrary discernment of their spouses. There again I see this as an illustration of how the Movement separates and drives a wedge between the Godly familial order. Through the sacrament of marriage, a husband is the head of the family, the woman the heart and together through the complimentarity of their sacramental bond, the husband and wife are called to prudently decide how they should live out their Christian vocation as the parents of their children . Young children should consult their parents, especially in cases of parents who only want the will of God for their children. I am afraid that sometimes spiritual direction in the Movement was used to “convince” a member that what is best for the Movement will automatically be best for them, their marriages, their families and their checkbooks. This then becomes a form of manipulation and exploitation which is NEVER a part of spiritual direction.

    Legal Disobediences

    I believe that there is a huge problem in the Regnum Christi Movement with employing illegal administrative tactics to start or maintain an apostolate. No matter what it is for, it is never right to lie or cheat or steal, not even “for the Kingdom.” Unfortunately, I cannot ignore or deny that the Legion operates with many practices rationalized as “the ends justify the means”; even if the means are forged checks, false fronts to creditors, perjury, or bribery. How can we be part of a group that can rationalize breaking both civil and moral laws to expand the Kingdom of God? It seems to me that the kingdom of God requires that we follow God’s rules and commandments not those rules of man’s dishonesty and exploitation. At what point are we accountable to God when we know that these behaviors and actions take place but we sanction it by our membership and loyalty?

    Please be assured, N., that all the members of the Legion and the Regnum Christi occupy a special and uppermost place in our family’s prayers. I do not wish any harm to come to any of these dear people. This is why I maintain our stance against the practices and fundamentals of the Legion and Regnum Christi, not against the people. Only God can judge people’s hearts. Only in heaven will we understand why God has allowed all of this hurt, betrayal, and overt disobedience to occur. As Catholics, we must stand for the truth of the Gospel and never even attempt to go against God’s immutable moral code.

    N., please know that I pray often for you and all families that choose to remain a part of the Regnum Christi Movement. I hold nothing against any of you personally; for many years, you all were my dearest friends, which is why it pains me so that some have ended our friendship once we publicly left the Movement. You said in your note that I know the Legionaries well. You are right. Yes, I do know these men and women well in the Legion and in the Regnum Christi and I know well the Manual of the Regnum Christi. Undoubtedly, there were fruits that our family received and experienced from the Regnum Christi Movement. We met a fine group of people associated with the Movement, in love with God and wanting to do something big for the Church.

    But I also think that is how Satan tricks us to be duped. For some mysterious reasons, God allows Satan to tempt us with disguised evil. God has allowed Satan to come appearing as the light and disguised as the good throughout salvation history. And then God, in His Goodness and in His Love, will bring good from evil, deceit and exploitation. God is the Master of making straight our crooked paths. But we must do our part.

    I do hold high the Catechism of the Catholic Church and the moral code set forth and lived out for over 2,000 years. Woe to all of us if we don’t preach the true Gospel of Jesus Christ and live by His moral principles. Ephesians 5:6 “Let no one deceive you with worthless arguments. These are sins that bring wrath down on the disobedient: therefore, have nothing to do with them.”

    I hope to remain friends with Regnum Christi people but I think Our Lord will have a lot to say if we put His Gospel, His Church and His unchangeable moral code second to our friends, and now that we know all of these facts, if we shrink from defending the Truth of our rich and true Catholic Faith.

    I will always remain sincerely yours in the love of Jesus Christ,

  22. Catholic girl Says:

    One of the most widely respected apostolates of the Regnum Christi Movement has always been Familia. Known nationwide as a four-year program of catechetical formation, this course was written by Paul and Libbie Sellors of Minneapolis, MN and launched in the early 1990’s. The series moves brilliantly from encyclical to encyclical, and then through the Universal Catechism in a coherent way that creates the building blocks of faith – a faith that is personal, reasonable, and inspiring.

    It is the last part – the inspiring part – that has proven so helpful to the Church at large and to the Movement specifically. One discovers in Familia a gold mine of catechesis – because once one discovers God’s plan for the family, God’s personal plan of salvation for each soul, and the meaning of our existence, it is nearly impossible to hide one’s joy. Year after year, men and women finally learned the faith they had taken for granted (or were not taught in the hastily revised CCD programs after the Second Vatican Council) and they wanted to share it with others. They turned gratefully to the group who had taught them – found it was something called Regnum Christi – and signed up to spread the Good News.

    It is important to know that the Sellors created Familia independently of the Legion, writing the materials themselves. Joining the Movement early on, their apostolate seemed an excellent fit with the stated goals of Regnum Christi, and the Legion moved in quickly to lend a hand. As long as the Sellors were members of Regnum Christi and saw eye to eye with the Legionaries of Christ about catechizing the faithful, all was well. Familia quickly became the top recruiter for the Legion because of its comprehensive approach to the family. Thus, fathers and mothers joined Regnum Christi, their daughters considered vocations in the consecrated branch, their sons tested their call to the Legion, and everyone raised funds for seminarians and other projects of the Movement. Everything was golden – or was it?

    What Was the Real End-game of Familia?

    A rift opened quietly, behind closed doors as those who signed up for Familia quickly found themselves invited to Legion-sponsored retreats, other courses, and conventions, which each suggested that they join the Movement because of the urgent need to build the Kingdom. While joining was usually quite appealing, the Sellors were increasingly frustrated that the members who incorporated into Regnum Christi dropped out of Familia. Since the demands of the Movement (daily, weekly, monthly, and yearly) required significant commitments of time and money, one could not participate in both, and Regnum Christi prevailed. Knowing that all four years of formation were important, they begged that the recruiting of their participants be delayed until they had graduated from the complete course, but the Legion persisted.

    Only in hindsight did Paul and Libbie realize that there had been a deliberate attempt to drive them out. In about 1999, the Legion began a conscious effort to throw many obstacles in the Sellors’ path to overburden them. Thus in 2002, through deceit, the Legion was able to oust the Sellors and take legal control of Familia for themselves. Finally, the Legion removed the Sellors as directors of the program in 2002 with the excuse that laymen would have a greater respect for the program if they could see that it was run by priests.

    Besides revealing the questionable “clericalism” of a mindset that permeates the Legion, this would prove to be the first of many very visible lies that the Legion would tell concerning this apostolate – lies, no doubt, “for the good of the Kingdom.” Having been well-trained in “gospel charity” and loathe to spread scandal, the Sellors accepted their removal from their own program, seeking to learn humility, trust, and abandonment to the will of God. So great was their oblation that they didn’t tell anyone of the change – but then neither did the Legion! For the excuse – to enhance credibility of Familia by showing the members that it was in the control of a priest – was a lie. Indeed it was run by the Legion completely, but the masthead never changed. Everyone was soothed knowing that the Sellors were still in charge, because the Sellors had earned widespread trust. It took a year for the story to leak out third-hand that the Sellors had been cast aside, after writing the program, using their home for the apostolate, and working doggedly over many years to form souls in the truths that had transformed their own marriage.

    Since then, the Sellors prayed and embraced their quiet humiliation. In that time of reflection, many truths have dawned on this couple and they knew they had to act. They saw that the Legion was not interested in building the Church at large, but simply in growing its own numbers. For all the talk of formation, fund-raising is a far greater priority. Looking back, they could see that the Legion had actually tried to water down the course materials in order not to “rattle the cages” of Catholics who may have embraced contraception as an integral part of their married life. Finally, the scooping of Familia members before completing the courses was deliberate, because the actual Year Four material of Familia (which studied Christifidelis Laici) could easily inspire members to build up the Church in areas not related to Legion apostolates, thereby undercutting the effectiveness of Familia’s recruitment for Regnum Christi.

    Prayer Leads to Legal Action

    The feedback over the years from those who participated in Familia had been overwhelmingly positive. Marriages were saved, relationships were deepened, new children were conceived, families turned their hearts towards Christ. With this in mind, the Sellors knew they wanted to continue the work to which they were clearly called. Realising that they needed the materials they had created in order to continue the mission of forming the families that they loved so dearly, they quietly resolved to sue the Legion simply in order to win back permission to use their own courses. There was no public axe to grind, no visible act of vindictiveness. They just wanted access to the foundation they had laid over the years.

    The proceedings are available as follows:

    See Case Number: 0:04-cv-02895-RHK-AJB Sellors v. Legionaries of Christ et al.
    Filed 06/04/2004
    US Federal Court, Minnesota District
    Home page:
    Use Pacer System to access the court documents. Cost for downloading info is $0.08/page.
    Probably about 200 pages.

    The case proceeded through a federal court because copyright law is covered by federal statute. In 2004, the Sellors took the Legion to court over the materials, and late last year, or early this year, Familia (now owned and run by Legion) arrived at a confidential settlement in court with Paul and Libbie Sellors. Although Regain does not know the exact terms of the settlement (and the Sellors are not permitted to divulge them) we have read the court documents. Clearly, the Sellors retained the rights to publish their material under a new label: Together! at the same time that the Legion has permission to use it under the auspices of Familia. The records show the input to the settlement “ratification” but not the actual settlement “ratification” itself. However, a careful reading of these documents reveals what really happened and the games that the Legion played since then.

    The Legion Response: To Lie, to Obscure, to Bully (LOB)

    Sadly, the Legion is not even abiding by the judgment against them in civil court, and beyond that is lying concerning the whole situation. Seeing the real possibility of losing potential Regnum Christi recruits to Together!, which contains the same course material without the recruitment angle looming in the background, they have chosen to slander and harass the founders and to lie about events that can be easily researched.

    First, the Legion relates that Together!’s programs are for couples only, which is quickly countered simply by going to their web site: There, it is clearly stated that the programs are for any small group: Husbands and wives, Young Adults, Engaged, Single, Recently married, and Mature Single Adults.

    Secondly, the Legion has told members, “The couple that has started Together! were once involved in Familia for a short period of time, took the programs, and have set up a program in parallel to us. But their program is not as developed nor as effective as ours.” It has already been shown that the Sellors created Familia on their own, being both founders and directors for years. Anyone who went through the program during the time in question knew them to be in charge and they traveled extensively both domestically and abroad to spread this work. (Truly, if the Legion stood by this tremendous accusation, then wouldn’t they counter sue, or at least have won in court? They have never been hesitant to intimidate and attack when it comes to legal action and rights.)

    Moreover, since leaving Regnum Christi and the Legion, the Sellors have re-edited and re-published their own work and have already added two new programs. More programs are on the way, and the imprimatur is being sought for all materials. The Legion, Regnum Christi, and Familia combined have drawn up nothing significant to add to the Sellors’ original work. Time and again in other venues, the Legion co-opted other people’s contributions, exactly as they did with the Sellors’ material. In fact, it would not be a stretch to say that the Legion has made a habit of using the intellectual property of others and then passing it off as their own.*

    There is an accusation concerning the pricing disparity between Familia materials and those of Together!. The Legion says that “the reason Together! can offer its programs for a fraction of the price Familia charges is that Familia has to pay royalties to the theologians who wrote the programs.” This statement is sheer nonsense because of who authored the program: Paul and Libbie themselves and a few academic theologians. Other than the material written by the Sellors, Familia added only one “new” program, which was written by a Legionary priest, who was, of course, unpaid. Although the Legion pressed his work on the Sellors, they considered his work substandard from the outset. The theologians who were consulted by the Sellors and by the Legion were paid well for their contributions many years ago. Theirs was a one-time fee, not an ongoing royalty. (Interestingly, Together! continues to give credit to the theologians who have contributed to the programs written during the time of their work with Familia. The Sellors receive no such courtesy – or royalty – for their past contribution.)

    Another explanation of the higher fees for Familia material is that reprint fees are so high. This, too, is nonsense, since the printing fee is the same for both – other than the complete and expensive reformatting that Together! had to undergo in order to change its name. Their format is visibly more costly and attractive, although they graciously did not factor that into their price.

    Not only is the Legion passing on misinformation to potential Together! subscribers, but they are now actually harassing parishes and pastors who openly support Together! instead of Familia. Such was the recent experience of a parish in the Archdiocese of Minneapolis-Saint Paul that published a story written by a parishioner in the parish newsletter and later appeared on a web site. (Recall that it is the Archdiocese of St. Paul and Minneapolis where Archbishop Flynn made it abundantly clear to the Legion and to Regnum Christi that they and their apostolates were banned in his recent statement. click here to read the statement.

    The parishioner wrote: “for nine years the Church of xxxxxx has been blessed with the teachings of John Paul II through the programs now called Together! (formerly Familia).” Shortly thereafter, a lawyer hired by the Legion sent a threatening note to the pastor telling him that he is in violation of a “confidential agreement” between the Sellors and the Legion, which purportedly inhibits making such a connection. This is a patent lie. The priest to whom they sent the letter was simply supporting his bishop, both in the pursuit of offering good formation to his parishioners and in breaking the ties to the Legion, which is banned in the archdiocese.

    Whisper campaigns are well-known to those who have interfered with the kingdom being built by the Legion. Bishops, priests, laymen, colleges, and apostolates have all experienced the quiet buzz of criticism and disdain that the Movement sends along the channels of unofficial communication. Families become divided, parishes take sides, and the Mystical Body of Christ suffers wounds that are unconscionable – especially at the hands of those who purport to love the Church. No Movement can sanction vice – even to build up the People of God, for the creation built on the good reputations of well-meaning people is a sham, built on a false foundation for the wrong reasons. Even Familia, as still packaged and marketed by the Legion, would attest to that.

  23. Catholic girl Says:

    What is Meant by “Parallel Church”?

    In his letter banning the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi Movement from the archdiocese of St. Paul/Minneapolis, Archbishop Harry Flynn stated that the Legion is vague in its dealings and appears to be building a “parallel church.” How can this be? What parallel, or rival church could he possibly mean when the Legion professes to be Christ-centered, focused on the Gospel, consecrated to Mary, and faithful to the successor of Peter? How could anyone who reads the Legionary brochures or visits the Legion’s website be anything but confused.

    Appearances Are Confusing
    Those who have attended Mass presided over by a Legionary priest know that the Legionaries perform the liturgy with great reverence. Their clean and confident appearance suggests the orderliness we are to strive for in our own personal lives. How can an organization that looks so good and claims to be the Roman Catholic Church possibly be labeled and dismissed as a “rival church”? There are only two possible explanations: 1) either the Legion is, as it appears to be–a successful and effective wing of the Catholic Church–and the charges against the founder are false, or else 2) the Legion of Christ is not what it claims to be in its propaganda, and those who have brought criticism against the organization and charges against the founder are telling the truth. A third explanation, which the Legionary propaganda machine is already spinning in its many publications and internet news agency is that Archbishop Harry Flynn is ignorant and has made a hasty decision which, in time, he will recant. What is the truth beneath the veneer?

    Appearances May Be Deceiving
    What if the explanation is the second? Could it be that the perception of orthodoxy is just a veneer? Why, if they are defenders of orthodoxy, is the focus primarily on Father Marciel Maciel? Why, if it is Catholic, would the Legion and Regnum Christi center on the Movement and on unquestioning obedience to and dependence on the founder and director? Are all those photos, which the Legion circulates of the Holy Father and the Legionary founder, Marciel Maciel, intended to make the one interchangeable with the other?
    The fact is that the focus and center is not on Christ and the Church. Legionaries and those who want to be Regnum Christi are required to be unquestionably obedient to the directors because these “directors are accountable to God.” What if the devotion to Mary and fidelity to the Pope is merely window-dressing? A display of piety in order to hoodwink and confuse the faithful? Let us look closer and try to determine the truth.

    Claim vs. Fact and Example
    1) The Legion claims that its mission is to support and motivate the laity in their calling to build up and support the Church. In response, the laity is to create and sustain apostolates that will reach souls.
    Their internal mission, however, is quite different. The laity is the facade for an ever-growing need for fundraising, power, and control on the part of the Legion’s elite circle of superiors.
    (Example: Who is it that really pulls the strings for Helping Hands Medical Missions and Familia, two apostolates that originated in the English speaking world and now are non-profit corporations taken over by the Legion? Apostolates that have been begun by the laity have been seized by the Legion in less than honest and upright ways, their founders have been discarded, and Legion-appointed puppets have been given the official title of director. And aside from the laity, what about the hundreds of priests and seminarians–not to mention the consagrada, the consecrated women–who have been used, manipulated and pushed out the door when no longer useful?)
    2) The Legion claims that the laity holds positions of responsibility.
    In reality, there are highly-visible members of Regnum Christi who appear to hold positions of responsibility, but they are there only so long as they tow the “party line” and speak as the mouthpiece of the Legion. Any deviation from the Legionary propaganda or “talking points” and they are replaced by anther high-visible member of the laity. The former Regnum Christi leader begins the confusion of the “degradation shuffle”; he/she is no longer included in meetings or consultations; decisions are made without his knowledge or input; his office is changed to a windowless closet in a remote part of the building. When he/she asks the Legionary authorities about this situation, he/she is urged to greater R.C. commitment and then pointed to another “very important” apostolic work that needs his/her talents. If the layman balks at being demoted from a good work that he founded or administered,, he is admonished about his pride; the “Litany of Humility” is recommended to him. This Litany, which includes several lines of self-deprecation, is a great favorite in the Legion and Regnum Christi. Repeatedly, through this “degradation shuffle,” the lay founders have been forced out of the works that they originally brought to the Church. The once-thriving apostolate is co-opted by the Legion as soon as it becomes an effective money-maker, which can send the obligatory 20-30% of its income to the central pool of Legionary money in another country. What happens to these lay founders, who were at one time hailed as “fruits of the Holy Spirit” by Fr. Maciel himself as “co-founders” with him of the Movement? Does the Holy Spirit condone such ill treatment of people of good faith? Does the Holy Spirit continue to inspire stolen goods? (Example: A better word for what the Legion calls “work of apostolate” may be “institution” since it is simply one of over a hundred non-profit corporations owned by the Legion; see: “front organizations” on Regain website. These institutions are staffed by Regnum Christi members–paid and unpaid–and have become yet another means to generate income for the already economically wealthy few that command the Legionaries and Regnum Christi corporate empire.)
    3) The Legion of Christ claims that poverty is essential to its mission, and the seminarians and priests are given nothing that they can claim as their own, except their crucifix. (Examples of Legionaries who continue to control their personal wealth are Father Luis Garza, LC, the Vicar General of the Legion of Christ and his sister, Paulina Garza, who is a director of consecrated women. Both are incredibly wealthy regardless of any vow of poverty.) In fact, the Legion brings in vast amounts of unaccounted monies, which are pooled in a central account and located outside of the USA. There are hundreds of constantly changing (and being renamed) front organizations for the Legion that skim more than 20% from its schools and universities, from KidsNet (K4J), and other operations. Recently, the Legion began creating “universities” (which are tax exempt) instead of “headquarters” (as at Thornwood), so as to avoid having to pay several million dollars in taxes. Universities are exempt from many of the investigations (possibly federal investigations) that would otherwise look into similar questionable business operations. Anyone interested in knowing the magnitude of the Legion’s structure can begin to get a good idea through some simple searches on the web (see: Also, many of the front-organizations for the Legion and Regnum Christi hide under the umbrella of dioceses and can be found in the Official Catholic Directory under the Legion of Christ. Your parish may have a copy of the OCD.

    The Elderly are Cheated out of their Property
    As with their seizing independent apostolates started by the laity (contrary to the exhortations of the Pope), the Legion is not above using fraud and deceit in relieving defenseless seniors and others of their property with no regard to the well-being of the owners who are duped, thanks to their generosity. (see: Who could refuse the requests of the teams of clean-cut priests, seminarians, and eager youths who pay personal visits to those who have the wherewithall to become “cofounders” with the Legion? These teams are coached in doing “whatever it takes” to increase the wealth of the Legion. What moral lessons are they teaching the seminarians about poverty and charity under the guise of “generosity” of and for the Legion? How can such men remain uncompromised when they are used as tools for this kind of fraud?

    It’s all about the Economy
    But another question that is often raised, even by the bishops, is that of why the Legionaries do not work in parishes or do missionary work. Their excuse is their claim to being missionaries to the wealthy. Yet, the real missionary societies, such as Divine Word Missionaries, Missionaries of Africa, the Salesians, etc., do not act like the Legion; they occasionally preach missions in wealthy parishes to raise money for their missionary work, but not on a round-the-clock basis like the Legion does. And to what missionary activities does the Legionary money flow? The Legion’s only legitimate missionary effort, Helping Hands, goes once or twice a year at most. It operates on a shoestring budget, run out of the tiny kitchen and garage of a generous but poor Mexican woman, and the doctors have to pay their own way to make the medical mission. Further, other orders–like the Dominicans, Jesuits, Franciscans and others–have a history of taking on parishes under the bishops, so why not the Legionaries? If the bishop were to offer the Legion a wealthy parish, as has happened recently in New England, the Legion is very pleased to take it over, as an exception. However, if it is a not-so-wealthy parish, then the Legion is “much too busy with not enough priests, thank you”. It’s all about money and men–both are actively siphoned off from the parishes and programs of a diocese in order to set up a rival, a “parallel Church” as Archbishop Flynn has stated. Several bishops have complained that their diocesan seminarians have been “lured” from diocesan seminaries to Legionary seminaries with the boast that they will find there the best of everything — the most challenging and orthodox training available and the greatest adventure! In fact the Irish bishops have forbidden the Legion to work in Ireland, and the extremely valuable property owned by the Legion outside of Dublin houses non-Irish seminarians, as there have been no Legionary vocations from Ireland for many years.

    Ecclesiastical Robbery
    It is said that traditionally most Catholics make donations to an average of between four and six charities each year. Some of these might be: the missions, vocations, Catholic education, works for the family, youth work or evangelization. The Legion’s master plan is that, if you can create enough “apostolates” that address each of those areas of charitable giving within the Church and give them enough publicity, you can divert the charitable monies away from the Church and into the Legion’s coffers. These resources are then passed through a common clearing-house, such as Horizon Institute, and then out of the country. Little or nothing returns to the apostolates or those whom the apostolates were founded to help. The Legion also holds title on a considerable amount of real estate, developed and undeveloped, in Ireland, Mexico, and around the USA as well. Then there is the matter of the charges against Maciel, and other Legionary superiors, of sexual molestation. Other dioceses have had to face bankruptcy because of the rash of such scandals perpetrated by priests within that diocese. However, the charges against Maciel have been summarily dismissed by the Legion itself and never investigated by the authorities in the Vatican. Thus, the Legion continues to rake in money (a seminarian in Cheshire claimed on the phone that it was a million a day that was taken in by the Legion) and not incur any penalty for possible sexual abuse of some members.

    The Media as Advertising for the Parallel Church
    Another less obvious characteristic of the “parallel church” is the Legion’s move to create its own news and spin on the news. While most dioceses have a paper, the Legion has several major media resources. One of the most important projects of the Legion is to control the major media voices of the Church. It has been remarkably successful in this way through a series of acquisitions in the early 1990s and through staking a claim to the internet in multiple websites as well as major news service sites (such as the popular Zenit).

    National Catholic Register
    The Legion is actively trying to establish itself as the means of creating news about itself. While its media resources are disseminating the news of the Church, the Legion is using every opportunity to promote itself in the process. Here in North America the Legion bought Circle Media ten years ago and now owns the National Catholic Register, a major weekly Catholic newspaper. It not only suppresses news that is unfavorable to the Legion (damage control), it constantly does image-laundering for itself. The National Catholic Register is a tool to promote and reward those who support the Legion and its institutions. It runs articles and stories that sing the praises of the Legion’s own works and activities as well as those of their affiliates even though the institutions are often only shams that have little or no substance to support them. What a great means they have to appeal for donations to these Legion-owned “apostolates”. What an astute plan for establishing “respectability” among the many other legitimate Catholic apostolates, which are given some exposure (especially in paid advertisements) but which come across in the Register as looking like the “poor relation” compared with the glamorous and glorious Legion! A discerning reader needs only to keep an eye on the front page of the Register for a couple of weeks. It becomes obvious that the Register has a set of “talking points” that are designed to win over those in the Church who might question the work of the Legion, especially our bishops. Notice how carefully they tread so as not to offend anybody. There will be all kinds of articles supporting the Legion and covering Regnum Christi events especially in Rome with the Pope, but do you think you will ever see notices by bishops expelling them from their dioceses? Is there any in-depth coverage of the founder’s case (not cause) being re-opened in Rome? [Example see NCR, January 16-22, 2005: There is a little side-bar box on page 3 that briefly tells that the Legion has been expelled from the Archdiocese of St. Paul / Minneapolis. Nothing said about the case against Maciel being re-opened in the Vatican, though.].There are several interesting and subtle ways in which the Register vouches for the validity of the Legionary propaganda. There are pictures of the Pope everywhere. But as if the Pope’s presence was not enough, the Register features a photo of Jesus Himself as a fan of the Legion and Regnum Christi (; online Register for January 16-22, features a photo of James Caviezel in his role of Jesus advertising a rosary, study guide, and stations of the Cross created by the National Catholic Register and Faith and Famiily magazine! Another interesting concept at this flagship publication, the Register, is that of stuffing the paper with so much information, both trivial and substantial, that readers have no time for any other periodical. And in that way it helps restrict the readers to the one publication. The Legion has the financial resources to get the best writers and load each week’s paper with timely articles. It is a simple way to choke out the competition. Further, every Regnum Christi member is expected to take out a paid subscription to the National Catholic Register, which bumps up the Legionary income by peer pressure to “support” the news. Another subtle twist is that many regular contributors to the Register depend on income from their articles. As with the secular press, is it possible to be objective about the Legion in the Legion’s own paper or any other publication with immunity and not be punished in some way – most likely by never having an article in the Register again and by being slandered in hushed whispers?

    Faith and Family
    Like the Register, the magazine Faith and Family (for Catholic homemakers), is now owned by the Legion through the same Circle Media acquisition. Faith and Family was chosen over another magazine for Catholic women, Canticle Magazine (, even though Canticle was offered to Regnum Christi as an apostolate and means of raising funds. It became obvious that Canticle would not be the moneymaker that Faith and Family would be, nor would editorial control be relinquished to the degree that the Legion would have liked. Not only did Faith and Family come to the Legion with a sizeable circulation, it was promoted for all Regnum Christi women. Further, it was bolstered by hundreds of paid advertisements as well as free advertising for the various Legionary events and conferences. Canticle, on the other hand, could not further the Legion’s self-serving plans. Although it had a small circulation, it offered substantive assistance and Catholic interpretation of the hard issues facing a woman’s life in today’s society. For many years, Canticle carried a strong message to women that their vocation was to image the Church in its mission as Virgin, Mother, and Bride, and it was universal in its target readership. In each edition of Faith and Family, however, one finds members of Regnum Christi highlighted as being models of true Catholics, called to work for the Church. However, in examining their efforts more closely you will see that their “volunteer spirit” is free labor going to build and support Regnum Christi activities, rather than the Church at large.

    Internationally, the Legion controls the daily internet news service Zenit. Through this free service, the world receives the news from Rome that the Legion wishes to promote. (n.b., the material on Zenit is copyrighted and requires user registration plus a fee to reprint material contained there; thus it is a money-maker as well as an intelligence gathering center for those who wish to use the material from Zenit). If it should conflict in any way with the agenda of the Legion or the Regnum Christi Movement, Zenit will not mention the anti-establishment news, but even the smallest event that can be twisted to the benefit of the Legion finds its way into a “news service” article.

    Sacerdos, a magazine for parish priests, is another of their media tools used to reach diocesan priests and give them the pitch on the Legion and Regnum Christi. Regnum Christi members are encouraged to push all these publications as well as the “internal” publications of letters of the founder.

    Regnum Christi: Divisive in Parish and Family
    When a Legionary institution enters a Catholic circle — whether parish or home — the first thing that happens is divisiveness. What about the members of Regnum Christi, these zealous individuals whose first apostolate is to recruit to “the Movement”? Regardless of what area of work they are assigned, members are to be constantly on the lookout for those social and economic leaders who will further the work of Regnum Christi. Once recruited these leaders are diverted away from parish life and given their assignments within the confines of Regnum Christi that correspond to their abilities and training as well as their ability to bring more large donations to the Legion. They are given flattery and attention by the Legionary priests and the Regnum Christi leaders, which inflates their ego: “I am part of a great undertaking, involving so many important people; I must be doing something important for Christ!” The Legion knows how to keep members so busy that they have no time for anything else. Marriages and families have been badly hurt, split or destroyed because one spouse, usually the wife and mother, is completely taken in by Regnum Christi and those handsome Legionaries, and begins to give her whole attention to what she is told is Christ’s work. She thinks that her husband is just not giving enough of himself to Christ. She thinks that her children will get the religious formation that has been lacking in their lives. She begins by giving one or two nights per week to Regnum Christi activities: encounter groups and Familia. Then there are more added on: Schools of the Faith, Holy Hours, day-long conferences, four day conferences, helping at the “apostolate.” When she finally burns out or draws back, she is left behind by her “friends” in Regnum Christi who have no time for anything except “building up the kingdom”.

    Spiritual Direction is Formation in Legionary Methodology
    In the greater Catholic tradition of spiritual direction, two people try to find the guiding presence of the Holy Spirit in a director-directed relationship; there is no coercion in true spiritual direction. In other religious organizations, the sacrament of Confession is separate from spiritual direction; moreover, confession is never made to one’s superior. However, this is not so in the Legion, and most priests and seminarians who leave the Legion are mistrustful of authentic spiritual direction, as it has been misused in the Legion to manipulate their will. As with the Legion, the lives of the Regnum Christi members are guided by the spiritual guide (a lay person) or a spiritual director (Legionary) and their works “for Christ” are manipulated by “apostolate directors” — again usually the same Legionaries or Regnum Christi laity. They are told that they must follow the Regnum Christi methodology but are seldom, if ever, able to see and read the real Regnum Christi Handbook or Regnum Christi Statutes or a good translation of either. These works, like the secretive constitutions, may not even exist in official English translations. Their spiritual directors must transmit verbally the “wisdom of the founder” because “only a provisional copy of portions of the handbook is available and these are a poor translation from the Spanish”. Not surprisingly, these interpretations to change from year to year, or even from month-to-month.

    Violation of Confessional
    Perhaps the most serious violation is the violation of the seal of the confessional. Every Legionary seminarian and every Regnum Christi member has a file that is kept on what they have said and done. These files are kept at the Legionary offices in Rome. When a penitent makes confession to his/her Legionary priest, the priest will ask if this information can be brought up with a spiritual director. With or without the penitent’s consent, the information that was intended only for God’s ear becomes part of the record of that seminarian, priest, or Regnum Christi member. This is a useful tool for blackmail of an individual or of an individual’s family.

    What it Means to the Family When a Child is Recruited
    Recruits to Regnum Christi are bright, winsome, and good-looking. The recruits are instructed initially to return to their parishes and “win over” the pastor and those of the community so as to give legitimacy to Regnum Christi, and gain economic support for its “apostolates”. Further, they are encouraged to identify candidates for the Legion seminary and give these names to the Legionary priests, who will then go after these candidates. However, what is more insidious is promoting ConQuest boys clubs and retreats, Challenge girls clubs and retreats, and KidsNet or K4J activities for very young children and their mothers. It looks so good to faithful Catholic families, including home-schooling families looking for activities outside the home, that few questions are asked and only at the beginning. Sometimes the methods of recruiting are disguised in the invitation to “come to a birthday party”; the party becomes a session of older girls and boys pressuring the young guests to “be cool” and join this great club of Jesus and the Pope! Then one day Johnny or Suzie comes home from one of the retreats and announces that he or she has made a commitment to Jesus through this program and without first obtaining parental consent. It puts the parents into the very awkward position of having to extricate their child from the program, especially when they are bombarded with pressure from the other children and their parents, especially the Regnum Christi parents, to let the child stay in the program. For those boys and girls who do stay close to Regnum Christi, there will be an invitation to go with a group of others to visit the “elite” apostolic schools where the red carpet is laid out for them. They are treated as important and as grown up. Rules are ignored, as in a group of sixteen-year-old boys who were given beer at a recruiting event and then treated “like men” by the older boys, who drank beer with them. The younger boys will be so eager to go back to the apostolic school with their newly found elite friends that the parents have a greater difficulty refusing them. Parents who are looking for a way out of the hard work of raising a teenager, sometimes see the prospect of “boarding school” for their child as a help. Either way, once those young boys and girls are there, though, the process of de-personalizing them and turning them away from their parents and family begins. Their relationship with their natural family is undermined and in many cases destroyed, so that the Legion becomes their new “family”. Once within the Legion, the process of stripping these boys and young men of their ability to think for themselves begins and they become merely instruments of the Legion. This happens as well for girls and young ladies in the consecrated institutes.

    My Name is Legion
    If at any time it appears that they don’t fit the Legion mold, they can be told that “they do not have a vocation” and sent away. When they are ripped from this new “family” dependency, they no longer have an anchor in the world and so drift aimlessly. Why? It is because these young people have been exposed to the Legionary cult-like formation in the apostolic schools, seminaries or “consecrated life” only to be told later that they do not have a vocation. How sad it is to see the hundreds of those lost and confused young people who leave the Legion after years in their institutions. Such damage has been done to their relationship with their families that it takes a long time to recover, if they do at all.

    Lost Vocations
    Many a young man, who has felt God’s call to the priesthood long before being exposed to the Legion, has left the Legionary seminary convinced that God no longer wants him. After all, he has been told this by his Legionary spiritual director (who has become the “voice of God” for the seminarian), and it is impossible for him to conceive that this spiritual director could be wrong. The Legion has been claiming to have anywhere between 2000 and 3000 seminarians each year for the last ten years; they now claim to have 600 priests world-wide. How many thousands of priestly vocations have been destroyed beyond recall when a young man leaves after 5 or 10 or 20 years. Worse is the life of a woman, who has given her life to serve Christ and is later nudged out if not openly expelled after as many years (in Mexico, these former consagradas are called “Legionary widows”). Then, after nearly a score of years, her youthfulness and opportunity to have a fruitful family life is waning rapidly. How devastating that she (and her parents) were led to believe that this was the same as a religious institute with canonical approval from the Vatican. It is not. There is no canonical protection for consecrated women in Regnum Christi. Whereas she has been duped into believing that she is serving Christ and “married” to Him for life, she has made only private promises (not binding vows) to an institute (not Christ and the Church) that has made absolutely no commitment to taking care of her for life. Instead, she is looked upon as free labor (“Be more generous, for the Kingdom!”); she does not foresee when she is twenty that she will be dismissed when her usefulness is spent. In fact, men and women who leave (or are dismissed) from the Legion or Regnum Christi are smeared with the tar of “traitor” and never mentioned again within their former circle; photos of former Legionaries are excised from the ranks, leaving blank holes in the picture where the face of a “traitor” once smiled among the ranks of his brothers.

    Very High Rate of Attrition
    What about those men who have survived the cuts and been ordained? Over the past 12 years the Legion has reported that an average of 40 young men (excluding the 59 in November, 2004) have received Holy Orders each year; the overall total ordained would be about 540 priests. In 1991 the official count of the Legion was reported as 385 priests worldwide. That would give them a total of over 900 priests. But, they reported in their Legion-owned National Catholic Register and Zenit news service in December 2005 that they have “over 600 priests” now. Where are the rest? What has happened to the other 200 to 300 priests? Being a young order, very few have died. Instead, they have been leaving the Legion at an incredible rate: 40 are ordained and 20 leave. Yet some who leave manage to remain priests, quietly serving at a diocesan post, if an understanding bishop can be found who will take them. Because the Legion wants to hide this scandal of the high rate of exiting priests, the Legion makes it very difficult, and in most cases impossible, for a former Legionary to get into a diocese. The Legionary superiors exclude many of these exiting Legionaries from the greater Catholic priesthood because of calumny against them “of a delicate nature”–which can neither be proved nor disproved. It is, however, an often- repeated pattern in the Legion’s dealing with exiting priests and seminarians. Only a small number have continued in the priesthood in dioceses or other orders. Most have left the priesthood completely and some have even left the Catholic Church. These hundreds of men represent thousands of vocations that have been and are daily being ruined by the Legion. Bishops and diocesan seminary rectors should be aware that the Legion has even been so bold as to go into diocesan seminaries, persuade candidates that they should come to the better seminary where the real work of “the Kingdom” is being done and take them to the never-land of Legionary “formation.”

    Offer Sacrifice on the Legion’s Altar
    In his letters banning the Legion from the archdiocese of St. Paul-Minneapolis, Archbishop Flynn spoke of his getting vague and ambiguous answers from the Legion. Legionary spokesmen do not give direct answers to questions about Legionary policy or organization. That is part of the methodology of the Legion to support its position. Its history is really quite vague as are its numbers. The Legion must deceive not only the hierarchy of the Church but the laity as well to maintain its position. Moreover, if a bishop, such as Archbishop Flynn, bans the Legion, he is subtly undermined and portrayed as an enemy of the true believers of the Catholic Church. Often, a silent “whisper campaign” attempts to link him to aspects of scandal. The Legion wants to form a ring around the Church through which the faithful must pass, much like the way that the Patriotic Church in China works. As mentioned above, the Legion wants this same ring around the Church to re-direct all money intended for the maintenance of the Church into the Legion funds, which are banked and recorded only in another country. Legionary books are never made public or revealed to Church authorities, as Archbishop Flynn pointed out.

    Trashing the Church…
    One theme the Legion promotes is that the dioceses are all bankrupt, both materially and spiritually, and it falls upon the Legion and Regnum Christi to “save the Church.” Is that supporting the Church, or is it rather casting a shadow over the Church, so that the elite Legionaries can portray themselves in their propaganda as the saviors of the Church? The most unfortunate part of this deception is that it uses and destroys those faithful Catholic families, which have worked hard and sacrificed to raise families in a hostile culture just to offer up the lives of their sons and daughters along with their wealth on the altar of the Legion.

    …Setting up a Rival Church
    When the Legion destroys vocations that could be filling many diocesan seminaries, monasteries and convents, removes good people from the service of their parishes and diverts funds away from the diocese, you can see what Archbishop Flynn meant when he referred to the “parallel church” and why he and others have told the Legion that they were no longer welcome in their diocese or archdiocese (see: Legion and RC Banned from Diocese of Columbus, OH). The Legion is not welcome in several other unpublished archdioceses and dioceses for these.and other irregularities.

    Follow the Church or follow the Legion
    The normal reaction of the Legion to an article such as this is to categorically deny it. However, the Legion is not able to present one consistent history. Several histories have been published over the years in Legionary publications — contradicting or covering the preceding “history.” These several versions can be found only by difficult research, not readily available to diocesan authorities or ordinary lay people. Nor can accurate facts and figures about the Legion be found in print. While all other orders make their constitutions public, the Legion does not. It prefers to deliberately obfuscate, as aspects of that constitution could alarm Church authorities if they were available to them. (an “unofficial” version of the Legionary constitution is available on the Regain website; the Legionary norms are currently being translated from Spanish into English and will appear in Spring, 2005) We would urge all those who have been associated with the Legion to attempt to educate themselves about this order and where it has co-opted the authentic promises of Catholic orthodoxy. There is the gift from Jesus Christ in the One, Holy, Catholic and Apostolic Church, faithful to the Pope and his bishops. There is the opportunity to find true guidance and authentic Faith, not an elitist sham. There is the opportunity to help in the true renewal of the Church — through, with, and in Jesus Christ, in the Unity of the Holy Spirit.

    The Good Shepherd or False Prophets
    Those connected with Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ have a choice: either follow the Catholic Church through its hierarchy with the Vicar of Christ, Pope John Paul II, as its head, or follow the Legionaries. It is really quite simple and not a new concept. Many sects and other cult-like organizations have led the faithful astray in the past and are doing it today. The Legion is one of those organizations. That is the concept of “parallel church”.

  24. Nate Says:

    Jeannette and Glenn,

    I want to start out first by apologizing to both of you. My facts were a little off. The 1950s was indeed the time of exile. Also, I’m sorry for the “petty concerns and misconceptions” comment. Clearly this is a serious subject and should be treated as such. Any unjust patronizing on my part was wrong and inconsiderate. I apologize.

    Having said that, Jeanette, the “dirty politics” qoute was probably not the best choice of words, but I was just trying to express my opinion on how things seem to be viewed against LC from those who might have a certain hang-ups. My point is that we are of one faith…LC and Opus Dei are just extensions of this wonderful mystical body of Christ and our universal call to holiness.

    Furthermore, I never said that the accusers sought financial means for their allegations against Fr. Maciel. That was your idea, not mine. I was just merely suggesting that there clearly was something fishy about people who accuse a priest over pedophilia when it’s an easy and popular theme to politicize (especially when it’s the same accusers who lied about his drug abuses. Phil is also right that one of the recent accusers retracted his statements regarding apparent molestations).

    As for LC being a “divider” in certain midwestern dioceses, I have news for you:

    Cardinal Francis George (of Chicago) is a huge supporter of the Legion and RC and overseas all those territories (Minneapolis/St. Paul, Columbus, South Bend, etc.) LC has worked extensively throughout the area with his full guidance and support. Is he too then, part of the problem or the so-called “divisiveness” you are referring to?

    Secondly, Fr. Maciel has indeed been accused of sexual abuse. That is for certain. But let’s get one thing straight…He was simply asked to leave Rome for a life of private prayer and penance. ASKED…not commanded. Oh and guess what? He obeyed. There is a difference between being guilty and simply accused, so let’s be careful to pass judgement on these cases (whatever happened to the idea innocent till proven guilty anyways)? If you actually read the Vatican’s official statement you will find that Fr. Maciel was NOT found guilty. There was no trial because the Vatican chose NOT to pursue it…is She too, a confider then?

    Listen, I can’t account for anybody else’s bad experiences from the Legion. However, I can personally attest to my own and believe me when I say that the money is used for strictly apostolic purposes…no strings attached. Just one example of which:

    Legionaries have medical missions in Mexico all year long, enduring some pretty harsh conditions (no bed, no showers, no transportation, just a rosary would be enough for them). They travel all over the country bringing the sacraments to those in need. I hardly would think of them as living luxuriously. Yes, it’s true, Fr. Maciel might have owned a mercedes…which I believe was donated by a gracious benefactor…now Jeanette, are you seriously telling me that you would reject such an flattering gift (especially if that same benefactor pays for your seminarians meals)? I understand your complaint, but please know the full story before you attempt to make personal attacks.

    I have a friend who was an LC a couple years back and is now fully engaged in RC. When he first entered the seminary a few years back the cost to support his seminary life was $1,500. In contrast, diocesan life was around $3,500 in Chicago. Now correct me if I’m wrong here (I was never really good with math), but isn’t $1,500 less than $3,500? Yeah…Moneyrakers indeed.

    My best advice to you would be to read the article on the Vatican’s official statement which I believe you can find on This website will also give you the real answers behind some of the very many lingering questions and controversies surrounding Fr. Maciel and his movement.

    Oh yeah, and as for those “vows of charity” some of you were referring to earlier. Those were instituted as I understand it, as a way of growing in holiness within the order and priestly/seminary life: Speaking well of others, living the Gospel charity, avoiding all opportunities of sin. This is a universal message from Christ Himself. The Legionaries of Christ are part of the Church. This isn’t SSPX we’re talking about. There’s no schismatic sect here. This a religious order working under full compliance of the Church’s Magisterium. The Holy See recognizes it has such. If their methods are being practiced without supervision or direct obedience, I can assure you they wouldn’t last long (over 67 years now since the foundation to be exact).

    Lastly, I’ve notice a pattern of writing and vocabulary from such responders like Amy, Heather, and the so-called “Catholic girl.” While you may have some others fooled, I’m not buying what you’re selling. I know what REGAIN is all about and know their methods of trying to scandalize the Legion. You guys all posted within just minutes of each other and ironically with the same exact vocabulary and speech reflective of a REGAIN member. I could really be responding to one person for all I know. Let me remind you that this is a public forum. While your honesty is not required, I would sincerely hope your integrity and credibility is worth just a little something more than a few precious blog postings. Let’s be real here and not resort to taking on false identities, shall we?

    Again, lastly, I want to emphasize my original point, that there is a real battle out there to win over souls. This is exactly how the devil works…to turn us against each other, brother against brother, man against man…to destroy all things sacred, and to disrupt out goal to reach the kingdom of God. Let’s all focus together on living out our faith to the full and following in Christ’s loving example of Christian Charity…especially in such trying times in Modern Church History.

    Thanks again everybody for reading. You are all in my prayers. Gobless!


  25. Jeannette Says:

    Here is the Vatican statement of May 19, 2006:
    “Beginning in 1998, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith received accusations, already partly made public, against Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ, for crimes that fall under the exclusive competence of the congregation. In 2002, Fr. Maciel published a declaration denying the accusations and expressing his displeasure at the offence done him by certain former Legionaries of Christ. In 2005, by reason of his advanced age, Fr. Maciel retired from the office of superior general of the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ.

    “All these elements have been subject to a mature examination by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and – in accordance with the Motu Proprio ‘Sacramentorum sanctitatis tutela,’ promulgated on April 30 2001 by Servant of God John Paul II – the then prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, authorized an investigation into the accusations. In the meantime, Pope John II died and Cardinal Ratzinger was elected as the new Pontiff.

    “After having attentively studied the results of the investigation, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, under the guidance of the new prefect, Cardinal William Joseph Levada, decided – bearing in mind Fr. Maciel’s advanced age and his delicate health – to forgo a canonical hearing and to invite the father to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry. The Holy Father approved these decisions.

    “Independently of the person of the Founder, the worthy apostolate of the Legionaries of Christ and of the Association ‘Regnum Christi’ is gratefully recognized.” There are various translations; this is from Sandro Magister’s (who has a dossier on the Legionaries of Christ).

    Maciel was not allowed to wear the Roman collar, celebrate Mass in public, attend his own (great?) uncle’s canonization. The decision to forego a trial was based on his age and health. Many orders have sex offenders; what is disturbing to ME is the LC/RC’s inability to continue its apostolate “independently of the person of the founder”.

    In the same paragraph, you defend the now-abolished private vow, and tell me you’re in full compliance with the Magisterium. Which is it? Is the private vow a good thing, or are you obedient to the pope?

    You talk about “speaking well of others” but in the next paragraph, imply that some of the others are being deceitful! Should we take the suggestion to ‘Let’s all focus together on living out our faith to the full and following in Christ’s loving example of Christian Charity’ to be an apology for the nasty things you’ve imputed about us? And yes, Satan is trying very hard to set us against each other. I’m reporting facts and giving you my concerns, and you’ve responded with nasty, false innuendo.

    67 years is a very short time in the Church. We’ll see. If someone is looking for both sides, he should look at both and but as someone else pointed out, ReGAIN ran out of money to defend itself in the LC’s lawsuit against it so the website will soon be forced to shut down. Recovering exmembers will still be able to find help at, or .
    Nate, thank you for your prayers.

  26. Heather Says:

    Nate, I forgive you for your rash judgment about my character. I realize how difficult it is to read what we are posting. As another poster stated earlier, “I am sorry for the anger that testimonies like this cause the well intentioned RC/LC members. But like we heard in the Gospel recently “Christ did not come to bring peace but division”(Luke 12:51-53).”
    Be careful not to “throw the baby out with the bath water” as far as Regain goes. The following is another blog thread that is very informative about LC/RC. Notice in the comments that John was a member for 12 years.

    Everyday I pray for all involved and now you are added to my prayer intentions. I felt led to pray the rosary along with the 7 Hail Mary’s in honor of the 7 sorrows of Our Blessed Mother for this whole ordeal. I also think we need to be praying the St. Michael prayer for this.

  27. haro Says:

    “interestingly a documentary has just been released bout the LC/RC interviewing a graduate of Marquette Uni…” I wonder if there will be any spin going on by the LC at Marquette?

    “A key figure in the film, former Vatican official Christopher Kunze, a native of Wisconsin and graduate of Marquette University, breaks his silence since leaving the priesthood, criticizing a cult-like atmosphere inside the Legion. ”

  28. Dilbert Says:

    Our daughter became a consecrated member of Regnum Christi 15 years ago. Normally we are only able to talk to her once a month and to see her for 2 days per year. We have always paid for her trips home. She is not able to have her own e-mail and the consecrated women receive all their mail opened. She does not think that they use mind control techniques but if you check Steve Hassan’s (mind control expert) website and look at his checklist for mind control Regnum Christi scores very high and Steve Hassan lists the Legionaries as a cult, I believe because in his informed opinion they do use mind control. We miss having our daughter in our family. We wouldn’t mind if we felt that Regnum Christi was accomplishing anything other than recruiting and making money. By the way, she has no health insurance program. If she developed a serious illness we might find her suddenly home with us responsible for her medical costs. Beware.

  29. Surrogate Mother %0B Says:

    i was home schooled when i was still very young and i have to stay that it is also a great way to educate your kids *;:

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