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Haven't read the testimony yet - but your comments are very timely.

"Take time to heal -- honouring all the requisite layers" is extremely important.
This was (is) the death of a dream - so many beliefs dashed and dishonored and as in the death of person, there are many stages and layers to the grieving.

" this Movement has cleverly coopted the best and brightest members of the Church."
Sorry, but that's utter nonsense. And obviously it's one of those soi-disant élite reflexes you may still have to fight against. The movement is soooo clever that it hasn't even been able to formulate an intelligent strategy facing disaster. And excuse me, but "the best and brightest" do not renounce their God-given brains so easily. Active, moneyed, enthusiastic -perhaps. But "best and brightest"?

I do have to disagree
slightly with this bit:

"...and I've taken years to try to figure out and share how this Movement has cleverly coopted the best and brightest members of the Church. It takes time."

I don't agree that the movement has coopted the best and the brightest. The very best priests I know are not Legionaries. Many of them had the choice be a Legionary, and chose otherwise. While kind in their words about the Legionaries, they were far too bright, and far too well-formed, prior to becoming priest, to become Legionaries.

I think many who join the Legion are earnest, good hearted, etc.

But I do not think they are the Church's brightest lights, by any means. Many of them remind me a bit of golden retrievers, in fact. It seems that the ones who stay are happy go lucky, go with the flow, happy to have their lives planned for them--not deep thinkers, not deep and contemplative personalities, not gifted with profound insight or wisdom.

Something has been in rotten in Denmark for a very long time. There are oodles of exceptionally holy & talented priests who smelled the stench from afar, and kept away.

I know that from personal friendships and personal experience.

I'm sorry if this sounds snotty. But the idea that the Legion and Regnum Christi have lead the elite astray is an illusion and a delusion.

For the most part, with perhaps a few exceptions, the best of the best did not join them.

Spot on, SS!

What giselle writes is corroborated by what I experienced in the break-up of the covenant communities. Loyalists expressed a lot of dismay and "concern" about the "bitterness" on the other side. One woman said to me: "I don't like to be around bitter people."
Outbursts of anger and vulgarity were received (sorrowfully) as proof positive that this person "had problems" and was beyond the pale.
If I said something like: "So-and-so made this excellent point..." a loyalist might respond with: "Do you know that he once punched a wall and attacked a priest with swear words in a meeting?"

OK, I've amended the text to read "many of the best and brightest..." but I would caution the readers not to pile on the ones who got sucked in. If we're going to run with the notion that "the best and brightest do not renounce their God-given brains so easily," then you have lost the point of what a cult is. To say that only second-rate humans enter cults is just as elite as to say that the Legion only takes the best. A very good cult leader can hoodwink just about anyone.

If we're going to throw stones at the stupidity of those who bought this, then we're sunk. SS said, "It seems that the ones who stay are happy go lucky, go with the flow, happy to have their lives planned for them--not deep thinkers, not deep and contemplative personalities, not gifted with profound insight or wisdom." Please remember that you did not know these people before they entered and had their critical thinking skills siphoned out of their left ears.

We cannot make this a "us vs them" fight -- because that's what the Legion did. As countless women have noted on other threads, the Legion priests were masters of grooming and playing women, using their vanity to the Legion's advantage. This is a learned behaviour.

I was going to sleep on this before responding, making sure this wasn't personal (just because I joined). Maybe it is, but all I've done to show that we have to look at this as a standard cult with a devious and powerful mechanism is undermined by the "snotty" rejoinders that smart people know better than to join cults.

Please. Don't. Go. There.

Ok, some of your points are well taken, Giselle.

I guess the aspect I was trying to highlight is that the Legion and Regnum Christi are very, very elitist and superior in their recruiting & formation, etc. It seems to seep far into the people who join.

I see that seepage in comments not infrequently by former members who think that the Church's best and brightest have been ruined by Regnum Christi. To me, that often seems like another slant on the same old elitism and superiority that was drilled in as part of the methodology.

Also, I did carefully refer to the Legion in my post, not Regnum Christi as a whole.

I do happen to think some of the best lay people have been duped.

But I really have to stand by my observation that the best priests, by and large, have not joined the Legion.
That's my personal experience.

Lastly, I didn't say smart people don't join cults. I said the very smartest of the smart tend not to join cults. Again, going by my personal experience, that's true. Not that my experience is exhaustive. But it's all I have to go by. In this, I'm comparing about 150 non-LC priests to about 40 LC priests. It's just a sampling of the whole. But the analysis is still worth something. That the very best and most gifted priests I know, not only did not join the LC, but were on to them, pretty early on.

Fair enough. I was referring to both LC and RC, but perhaps we have two segments of a cult that have to be analysed separately. Both are played, but the methods are different, given that LC's are in-house (thus totally controllable) and RC's aren't (aside from 3GF's).

It must be acknowledged that LC formation is over-rated. Of all those years, many are spent in recruitment teams, traveling, and doing "grunt work" for the superiors. The rest is spent in LC houses where the education is spotty and manipulated. Whether the "better" men see through the scam and go elsewhere or see that they'll be on road-teams in the Back of Beyond for years and say "no, thanks" is up for grabs.

As for RC, we could go on forever -- which this board (and others) have done. And will continue to do. It's all becoming crystallised and easier to nail, regardless. I'm glad you're contributing.

I think that by saying the smartest of the smart don't join cults is like kicking a man/woman when he/she is down. I think joining RC/LC and the reasons why we did it and why we were attracted to it, and why some smelled a rat a mile away, is an interesting question. I think if based on pure IQ, it wouldn't help us much. I think a lot of not so bright people also saw through Maciel fairly easily. I think it has to do with a wide variety of reasons, and how well the particular recruiting agent was in pulling you in. A lot could come down to character/personality. I know in my case I was pulled in by the international aspect. I was delighted to have friends from Mexico, Chile and Spain. Practicing my Spanish with the coworkers was my thing. They had me at "Hola," so to speak (sorry, couldn't resist).

having been in a religious cult in my 20's, having been in a Catholic charismtic community in my 30's, then becoming "normalized", if you will, in a regular local parish in my 40's, only to have all the horror and anguish of old memories come roaring back when in my 50's three Regnum Christi members were recruited by the local priest to overhaul what he ultimatelty thought was a less than orthodox parish community and cause an anti spiritual civil war between parishioners, i have to say that now, i am smart enough to know the signs of an evil seed in our church's midst, but i had to be dumb enough in the decades past to learn how.

Anon--I use the term "smart" loosely.

I mean wise, learned, prudent, and a variety of terms when I say "smart." I'm not basing it on pure IQ. It includes life experience, intuition, spiritual formation, etc. I'm referring to a very high degree of awareness about people, life, vocations, holiness, serving the Church, what God's expectations of his servants are, what the Church's teachings genuinely are, etc.

I guess, too, I'm coming from a background where superlatives are not used lightly. In my family, we consider Ava Gardner and Grace Kelly to be *beautiful*. We don't toss that word around for any pretty face. Audrey Hepburn is lovely, pretty. She's not, strictly speaking, classically beautiful. That's not a slam on Audrey. It's just an observation. (A personal observation, of course. I could be wrong.)

I don't consider myself among the smartest of the smart. Most people are not in that category. It's a *truly* elite category. It's a level of intelligence and insight that few have. Not having it isn't an insult.

I do see that my golden retriever comment was rude and I retract it. It just seems that most of the ordained priests are never conflicted. The ones who are tortured and who are *deep enough* to even be conflicted seem to have left.

Though, I think it is a point well taken that we don't know what some Legion priests would be like had they not been ill formed. And many of them joined at a young age.

Ok, I'm out for now. Good luck with the discussion.

I'm just trying to offer my observations.

My own experience is that the RC members here are quite arrogant, and they used flattery while they were trying to recruit me. But I can smell a kiss-ass from a mile away. Also, being somewhat informed, I knew that their claims to be recruiting the "best and the brightest" were cheesy and NOT what a bona fide Catholic order does, so when I read that Abp Flynn called them a "parallel church" it rang true. Of course all RC members are welcome to return to the Catholic Church, but they should go through RCIA just to figure out how their formation is lacking. Or maybe just read a bunch of GK Chesterton. (Sorry, "diplomatic Jeannette" is gone and "blunt Jeannette" has returned.)

Also, remember, who the 'Best and the Brightest' are isn't always apparent. (Just an argument against grouping Catholics this way.)

There are many, many AMAZING saints who were first written off as 'too dumb to be a priest' or 'never going to amount to anything.'

What we see, and what God knows, are very different.

I do think one thing RC specializes in is recruiting very BUSY Catholics. The people who would be running CCD, organizing parish fundraisers, and starting book discussion groups in the parish if they weren't doing those things for RC instead.

So in that sense, it recruits a lot of parish leaders. Those of us who dread groups and activity are probably less likely to be sucked in, if only because the whole structure is built to appeal to a very different sort of woman.

But RC seems to be masterful at recruiting young moms who feel like they should be DOING more, and giving them a sense that they have important work in these apostolates.

(Me? I know I should be doing more.... like my kitchen floor.... and the weeding.... but I know a lot off diligent, organized young moms who really DO feel like they're being called to do more outside the home, and RC provides them with a pre-fabricated structuire of apostolates and meetings and what-not --- it's harder for moms like that in a parish, because usually the Pastor won't TELL you what to do next. You can ask for permission to start something and he'll look into the program and then give it a go ahead, but then you're pretty much on your own... and that's scary.

So I can see how RC appeals to these people. Most of us will go to great lengths to avoid 'scary'....even getting involved in something SCARIER.......

Mouse and others - I think this may be a case of everyone agreeing, but simply approaching the truth from different angles. You are right in stating that a lot of the "brightest and the best" discerned a vocation with other Catholic institutes, or avoided the Legion and Regnum Christi altogether.

On the other hand, I think Giselle's point is that many who entered the LC/RC were not pre-programmed Maciel-bots, but were highly intelligent people who over time were conditioned into Stepford Priests through the Maciel methodology.

Thus I think we can all agree now that Giselle has added the qualifier 'many of'...

I basically agree with Pete, but I do want to add this point:
Those who not only didn't fall for the Maciel scam, but tried desperately and at cost to open the eyes of others, deserve some credit, don't you think? Haven't many of them also got some wounds that want balm? And wouldn't duly acknowledging and paying tribute to their insight in this case help the general healing?
I mean, let me use myself as an example here.
There are a lot of things I'm really bad at. I'm a hopeless clutz at all things practical and domestic, for instance. But it happens that I am framed by training and temperament and experience and gifts to recognize and call attention to threats to human freedom and dignity before others see or want to see them. This has caused me a lot of grief over the years, starting as a junior in college when I took my first philosophy class and began in all sincerity and idealism offering my criticisms of the covenant communities and their influence on campus, and got labeled "rebellious" and accused of "attacking a work of God" and "causing disunity" for my pains.
That was just the beginning. It's been happening ever since. Not only am I always grateful and hugely encouraged in my vocation to hear someone say, "You were right," but it fills me with joy and confidence in the other person's healing, humility and Christian seriousness, and gives me a great, tender desire to put everything behind us and get back to being normal with each other again. ("Being normal" usually in my case involves worshipful admiration for that person's superiority over me in practically every other virtue out there.) When this acknowledgment is refused, on the other hand, I experience not only a lot of worry that the person in question is still ensconced in illusion, but a certain painful rejection of my self and my gifts--a disaffirmation of me at my most essential point--almost the only point I feel I have a genuine contribution to make to the Body of Christ.

I say all this not looking for anything for myself in this case. I am just an onlooker here, never having been close to anyone in the Legion and never really having suffered for trying to warn others about it--unless we can count being abused online by "RW" and co. :) What I'd like to do is speed the healing between others.
If you were in the Legion or RC and people who care about you tried to warn you about them, I think you'd do a lot of good by acknowledging their superior wisdom in this case. Regardless of how they came to have superior wisdom, they had it, and it should be humbly acknowledged. I can almost guarantee that if it IS acknowledged, you will find that person ready with mercy and eager desire to "move on" from the painful mess between you caused by your association with that destructive group.


Not only do we NOT see that kind of acknowledgment (or much acknowledgment of any kind, more than some vague comments about "distressing news about the founder"), but you have LC/RC claiming that the reason nobody around Maciel could discern his evil is that they were so very good. (the implication being that to see evil for what it is, one must necessarily be a bit evil oneself, I suppose).

Wisdom, prudence, and discernment seem to have no value at all to the LC in this situation.

I agree that some recognition would help with the healing process, just as acknowledgment of the Legion's part in the character assassination of Maciel's victims would help with healing (although to be honest, at this point in the game, it would be too little, too late). But we all see just how much of that kind of admission has happened.

I wouldn't suggest that any of those who tried to sound the alarm hold their breaths while waiting for acknowledgment from the LC. That would take the moral courage that Peter Vere so succinctly wrote about recently----and which we haven't seen from LC.

To look at the value of acknowledgement or recognition from a different angle, it may or may not help in healing but it is not necessary.

Consider a completely different abuse -- being raped or defrauded by a trusted neighbour. There is a healing process which involves many steps, from rage to forgiveness. It is important to know that the healing is completely possible without acknowledgement, contrition or any sort of apology. In many cases, it is actually impossible because the person is dead or gone. If God had made contrition to be part of forgiveness, then it would inhibit many from moving forward.

It goes without saying (I think?) that forgiveness never precludes the pursuit of justice -- for rapists and scam artists must be prosecuted for the safety of others, but the forgiveness operates independently for the sake of personal peace.

What I'm trying to stress is that waiting for an apology to help with healing is a red herring. It isn't necessary and permits the abuser to maintain control over the victim even longer.

Thank you, Katie; I'd really really like the RC members in the parish to stop damaging our parish with their arrogance, deceit, slander, etc. It would be great if I got to stop hearing how it's the cream of the crop who got sucked in (unless you're talking about this the way the world does-no problem there, I'm certainly not a mover or a shaker, as far as the world is concerned). But somewhere in the back of my mind, I can't but wish I could get my reputation back.

True, Giselle. I think what I am getting at is that continued lack of acknowledgment from the Legion could almost be said to constitute a form of abuse in and of itself in that the snubbing of those who tried to reveal LC for what it is continues. It does make it harder to heal when the abuse is ongoing. Impossible? Definitely not.

A young lady I know broke her engagement to a man she finally saw to be emotionally abusive. After the break-up, he began to send harassing emails and calling to scream explatives at her. Rather than making her decision more difficult, it confirmed to her that he was a nut and she rejoiced that she saw the light before tying the knot.

Sometimes, the continued bad behaviour of an entity actually helps the victim, and the outrageous responses show that the actions continue to be all of a piece.

My concern for this young lady would have actually grown immeasurably if the man in question had come hat in hand to apologise and beg forgiveness. Her decision then would have been all the harder.

The young lady was fortunate in that she was able to break ties and move on.

We are not quite so fortunate. The Legion is still very intertwined with our Church. No clean break has been made, nor is there any guarantee it ever will be.

So for now, we are stuck with an abusive order, and just having to watch what this organization is doing to our church is a form of ongoing abuse, if you ask me.

I do agree that the outrageously egregious behavior of the Legion in this crisis does make it much easier to say "That is bad". But that knowledge just makes it harder to swallow that they are still very much within our Church, still fund raising and recruiting, and the Vatican does not seem to care in the least that every day, more people are sucked in.

So one needs to forgive (eventually): the initial recruiter, the superiors, the entire LC chain of command, and ultimately all the paper-pushers in the dicasteries who turned a blind eye to their responsibilities. It still needs to be done. No one is ever going to receive acknowledgement from everyone who made this scam float.

Take ownership of the healing process, is what I'm saying. It took many -- legions even -- to make it a successful scam and God sees all. He will not be mocked, but freedom begins when one steps away from the expectation that anyone short of God will care adequately for each soul. Anything less will add disappointment to injury.


Give us time to ask you for forgiveness. There were many people in my life who told me the Legion was off, and I didn't believe them and I defended MM. I now know I was mistaken. I need time to understand this, and to forgive myself for having fallen for such a dufus. In time, I will ask those who tried to warn me forgiveness for rebuffing them. It will all come, in time.


I don't know if you've read Harry Potter or not but Dumbledore utters a great line in Book 7 that summarizes what's going on: "It's harder to forgive someone for being right than for being wrong."

So don't get too worked up over any lack of apology. First we need an apology to Maciel's victims.

giselle, I agree with you that healing and forgiveness are possible without an apology. Healing, that is, in the victim of wrongs. In my above comment I was speaking mainly of the healing of relationships that have been ruined or strained because the Legion. I know, for instance, of two sisters who can hardly speak to each other because one put intense pressure on the other to involve her children in RC—accused her of having irrational fears because she declined, etc. Think, too, of PaulM, who has testified here about how his marriage has suffered because of his wife's involvement with RC. My experience leads me to believe that such cases are typical.
These relationships may recover to a degree over time without any real acknowledgement on the part of the LC/RCer, but I think it will take longer and the relationship will lack a depth dimension it might have and ought to have.
Meanwhile, though, I understand completely anon's point. Those who saw the fraud for what it was can do their own part to help along the healing by exercising patience and resisting the temptation to say "I told you so."

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