This is a slightly modified version of one woman's testimony submitted to the appropriate Visitator. I share it here so that others may consider their time in the movement and see it with fresher eyes:
· First, there is in Regnum Christi encounter groups and retreats outright heresy taught orally; since none was written down, it is hard to point to documentation. Everything written could, I think, be interpreted to be orthodox. The culture is transmitted in talks and social relationships. I will try to summarize some problematic memories:
o We were assured that there was an RC section of heaven.
o We were taught that if we didn't follow God's will exactly we would be in mortal sin. This will is difficult to discern, it can't be done without RC help. In other words, making a wholesome choice like getting married may jeopardize our salvation if it was not God's will. Small choices carried this same danger.
o We were assigned a spiritual director and team leader. We were taught over and over that it was our obligation as RC members to tell our assigned spiritual leaders every detail of our conscience. Holding anything back was akin to holding back a mortal sin in confession. When I finally did this, my directress later revealed sensitive information about me in a talk to the whole group without my permission. When I told Father, he said if I think I have been wronged I must forgive. That was that.
o We were taught that any moment of our time not spent doing something for RC was wasted and potentially sinful.
o We were told anecdotes about Nuestro Padre's holiness that I later found in the lives of saints.
o There were contemptuous stories told about the competing [Catholic grade school] that I later found to be false. It was counted as virtue to run down diocesan priests and other orders unless otherwise instructed.
o There were many stories told to encourage reckless, imprudent behavior to benefit the Legion. It was believed that you could lie to a potential benefactor about donating to a specific thing that didn't exist. The idea was that people would donate to something that they thought was already a success, so if you sold the dream as reality and raised the money, it wouldn't be a lie because the lie made the reality happen. This was considered a sort of holy boldness.
o We were told that the instructions in spiritual direction were the voice of the Holy Spirit for us because our director had 'grace of state.' My director once told me to leave my 3 month old baby in his crib with the door closed for twelve hours to make time for me to do my prayer commitments and apostolate.
o We were told that critics of the Movement were influenced by Satan.
o We were taught that the Movement's structure was based on Communism. To defend this structure, we were assured that the Holy Father approved of this and that it was shrewd to use the enemy's most efficient weapons against him. Of course 'end justifies the means' infused every decision even though they would deny that wording. Since I have learned more about Communism I can say that the Movement is most definitely modeled on the Communist party in every way.
My own history with Regnum Christi:
· I was incorporated into RC in
in the late 1980s. I 'gave a year,' taught at [a Rome ] and trained a Familia group. I went to some encounters, and many retreats and reflections. Legionary School
· I was invited to incorporate at the end of an intense retreat; I had just converted to Catholicism. Before the retreat I had never heard the name Regnum Christi mentioned although I had been invited to many things by the same group of ladies. I was pulled aside before the final Mass, told that I was 'chosen' to join RC, assured that this was very special and good, and rushed to decide without knowing what they were talking about. The docile mood the retreat had put me into disposed me to 'trust God's will' and make myself available to Christ in a generous way. I then made blind promises which I was later assured were quite binding on my soul.
· When I gave a year I befriended a girl who had been recruited out of [a small
Catholic Collegein New England] before graduating with the promise that the Legion would pay her student loans because she was such a special vocation. She got a call from her parents that the Legion had allowed the loans in her parents' names to default because they never paid anything and had no intention of paying. I witnessed similar incidents.
· When giving a year we went to different parishes with the intention of inviting people to RC events. This was before the Bishop had given the Legion permission to operate in the diocese. We were instructed to invite girls to Bible study groups without mentioning RC or LC. We were told that Father Maciel had found that bishops were more likely to give them permission if there were already thriving apostolates. They often said among themselves with mischievous glee, "It is easier to ask forgiveness than permission."
· I was pressured by my team leader to take a job that an RC business man was offering even though it wasn't convenient for me. I was assured he would work around my college class schedule. I worked for six weeks, had to hire people to cover the shifts the employer wouldn't cover even though he said he would. I was never reimbursed or paid for any of the work. When I complained about this to the RC leadership, I was made to feel ashamed for expecting payment – even though that had been the agreement. I was socially castigated for complaining about an RC member. I was spiritually counseled to look upon myself as a ragdoll in the hands of baby Jesus. No matter how I felt neglected or abused, I must count it all as a privilege. Another time I was hired for a job at the
's teaching summer school with the promise of future employment. I quit my job, showed up for work and the job didn't exist. When I found another teaching job, I was offered a job at the [LC high school] a week before school was to start. I was instructed by the priest and the headmaster to break my contract with the secular school because teaching at a Catholic school is so important that any other contract should not be honored. Fortunately I refused despite the pressure. (Note: RC offers an apostolate which teaches business ethics.) I witnessed RC business injustice in many other ways. Highland
· Please allow me to share the straw that broke the camel's back. I became RC right after I decided to join the Catholic Church. Catholic culture is very different than the Southern Protestant culture I grew up with. Many things about Catholicism were strange as I spent years learning to how to be a faithful Catholic. I excused the RC abuses I saw as anomalies and struggled to be charitable and humble. Because there were so many good people involved, because I loved the prayer, Eucharistic adoration, living the Liturgical year etc. I believed that at the heart of RC there must truly be heroic holiness, like a St Francis or St John Bosco. I wanted to grow in virtue and I believed that this group was the will of God for me; I just had to find my place in it. When I joined a Familia group, I thought I had found it. Here was real good being done. We were reading encyclicals and trying to conform ourselves and families to the heart of the Church. I was happy to agree to be a trainer, which was only open to incorporated RC people (I had been inactive but hadn't left.) When I showed up at the trainers’ conference, the first sentence was 'Familia only exists to recruit for Regnum Christi'. I had been looking for the good work that was the reason for RC's existence, but once again I was told explicitly that it was a front group.
I went ahead and fulfilled my commitment to train for a year. In the literature for Familia there is a question -how do you know God's will for you? The answer - If someone approaches you and invites you to a Church approved apostolate - it is God's will that you give yourself generously to that apostolate. Many people don't understand that Familia is an RC apostolate. The animators fill out forms with personal information on everyone in the group - including their spirituality, whether or not they contracept, etc. The Familia director goes through these forms with Father and picks the ladies who will be invited to RC information night. So after being prepared by Familia that someone inviting them to an apostolate is God's will for them, suddenly they are invited to a RC function without understanding that there is a direct connection. I saw the spiritual manipulation for what it was, and finally had the strength to quit.
There are so many more stories. I discovered that what I didn't like about RC was unique to RC, what I loved about it was simply Catholicism. It was very confusing until I saw this. They exploit the good will of Catholics and the trusting nature of Americans. I have seen mothers who were too busy with RC apostolates to tend to their beloved children. I have seen people threatened with sinister consequences if they revealed unjust treatment of the Legion. I have seen so many good women tormented with nightmares and guilt after leaving the movement.
Whatever scandal a public exposure would cause, it is nothing compared to the scandal of institutional tolerance of cynical con-men. We are so hopeful that our good shepherds will drive out the wolves.
Prayers for the Visitators continue: we ask that they be showered with integrity, wisdom, and fortitude.