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Knowing a girl who attended one of the high schools for a year, I think this is a very good thing.

The poor girl had come from a home with no order or structure and was absolutely traumatized by her experience with Regnum Christi. She had a look of terror on her face when she was describing to me what her experience was like. This was before any of the bad was made public but made me aware that there might be an issue of excessive control of individuals.

I hope that this site can assist the young women in healing from the toxins to which they were subjected.

Anyone familiar with the developmental characteristics of teenagers will see that this cult "(mal)formation" cuts exactly against the grain of normalcy. The cult also exploits the child's interest in group membership to manipulate the child and turn her into a "perfect sales rep" for the cult.

It's outrageous -- as a parent, the thought of this psychological abuse and manipulation in the service of "filthy lucre" makes my blood boil.

It's brainwashing, pure and simple.

I wonder if they have thought of a class action suit.

The opposite of RC- and LC recruitment: http://www.renewamerica.com/columns/abbott/120528

Good heavens, what a joy to read that, Mary Ann. Eight years of discernment, communication with the outside world, joy, apostolate, prayer, habit, orthodoxy -- what an excellent reminder of the good in the Church. There are lots of MM-free options.

"It's outrageous -- as a parent, the thought of this psychological abuse and manipulation in the service of "filthy lucre" makes my blood boil."

And yet it still continues today in LC "houses of formation." Why? Because the Vatican continues to allow LC to recruit and "form" future members. Time to recognize there is deep corruption and incompetence in our Church (not just LC) leaders.

"Why? Because the Vatican continues to allow LC to recruit and "form" future members. Time to recognize there is deep corruption and incompetence in our Church (not just LC) leaders."

And because too many parents are not using their discernment well to see the unhealthiness that is there for all to see.

We have developed a pretty skewed idea of what Catholicism--Christianity--is and that needs to be corrected as well. Otherwise another con man will put up a facade that seems to be orthodox and we will fall for it again. The Vatican cannot police everything.

Thanks for posting that, Mary Ann. Their website is an interesting read. Seems the foundress endured some real difficulties and was removed from the congregation for a long while. They also have a charism based on the Sacred Heart. It's almost like it's the story that the 3gf were supposed to have but didn't because their "founder" was a complete fraud.

Heartbreaking that the "consecrated" are no longer encouraged to find what's out there. They need to see that complimentary religious orders DO exist in the Church and are the REAL DEAL. A couple years ago they were attending conferences with and getting to know some of these other orders. Sad that De Paolis has shut that option down now.

The young woman said she "feels free to be myself with them." Amen.

amazing the level of control by LC/RC or any organization over its members to be called out in 2006 and for it to take this long to have enough courage to reveal truths denied by its own governing church. the tragedy is that the blogs are the saving grace in this. LC/RC still lives in its freedom to be mode made possible by leadership as cowardly as they are clueless. a culture of cowardliness can only make one stupid so its not that much of a surprise

This may be way off base, but sometimes I wonder if the 3GFs aren't more dysfunctional than the LCs or 3GMs. I don't mean to be misogynist, its just that what might be a somewhat inhumane system for men could be much worse when applied to women.
Size could be an issue as well: the smaller the group, the more oppressive it can be.

Another,

I don't know who's more "dysfunctional" -- but the cult's systems for training men, women and children are very "functional" -- insofar as they produce cogs of various sizes for the money-making machine.

And the "cool" thing is -- the machine parts are disposable.

@Another: Interesting. Although much is left to personality, you might be right. Some men like to live in lockstep and cleave to a shared mission (military comes to mind). Uniforms and walking in straight lines is a mindless thing that doesn't bother them. Women, by nature, have difficulty with conformity and community--based on their integral call: motherhood. But just as many men/women fall prey to cults, so perhaps it doesn't matter, and the harms are equal, but different.

Weighing in with some "arm-chair psychology" here:

We definitely see more cliques with girls, don't we - esp. at the middle/high school years. It seems the boys don't have as much problem with expressing independence in some ways but the girls may sometimes put getting along with others or "keeping the peace" above expressing independence. This tendency can certainly be abused by someone desiring complete control over a group because all she has to do is imply that someone's out of step with the rest. Of course, that's much harder in a large group of girls because they may naturally break into sub-groups based on interests, personalities, etc. I'm thinking that the 3gfs running ICA would probably NOT want the school to have grown too large anyway because it would have compromised the more controlling aspects of their "formation".

I had also heard years ago that the LC formation takes much longer than that for the 3gf because the guys are just naturally harder to "integrate". Probably meaning it takes longer to break them. The girls might be "broken in" more easily - at least on the surface - because they are balancing principles with "trying to fit in".

It would be interesting to get additional points of view on this. Not sure how much of my "psychological profiling" of girls is based on talks I heard at Challenge Club parent presentations!!! Yikes - I wouldn't trust any of that now!

I wonder if the apparent greater dysfunction is not really because of stricter controls on the women because of LC great mistrust of women (coming from Maciel of course) and also a disdain towards women - an itentional punishment.

Apart from that, the blog is heartbreaking for me. These are kids - it should not happen.

Forget about the vatican - I dont understand how the USA (insert any other country) can allow such schools to exist - the civil authorities should be made known of these places.

I hope this exPC blog can be a very healthy outlet for these girls to work through their harmful experiences. However, keeping a bit of perspective is necessary for this to be a healthy thing. The high school years are fraught with anxiety. This is part of the maturing process. Imagine for one minute the harm to the human person that can and does take place in a public high school setting, or a private high school setting (especially those that are Catholic in name only) or even a homeschooling setting! The point I am trying to make is that over
dramatizing the experience can be an unproductive step in the healing process making every part of the experience seem too intensely negative. The feminine psyche has a tendency to that. The fact is, there is no where in this country where the high school experience is a healthy one. Most are far more unhealthy than healthy.

Every point made by the young women who are writing their stories is certainly valid! Mind control and dehumanizing of the person are terribly wounding. Both are gravely sinful. Keep in mind, however, they also received Christ each and every morning in the Eucharist, confession on demand, time with the beloved in front of the Blessed Sacrament....these are all real experiences, all filled with the presence of Our Lord. No human sin can wipe that out of their very souls.

It is a good thing that ICA is moving to Everest Academy and the girls will not be isolated and controlled as they have been.

And let us help these young women who experienced degradation in any way remember that they were always in the presence of Our Lord. He was always protecting his faithful daughters. And that their sincere desires in His direction remain imprinted in their heart, mind, body and soul. God delighted in them then. And God delights in them now.

Seeking,

As much I am a fierce critic of schools, esp. public schools -- the isolation, and the manipulation of kids' psychological/emotional needs and religious goals in such a conscious way in this setting is abusive and manipulative -- there's a trust that's being misused -- as in all abuse.

And the sacraments are not meant to be one-a-day vitamins to compensate for emotional and psychological "malnutrition" inflicted by "Catholics" on vulnerable youngsters.

Shame on these schools and their staffs.

Seeking and Honesty,
My own experience with public school, both for myself and my children, is that if you have catechized your children well and have raised them to make good decisions, public school can give them opportunities to evangelize, that they just don't get in a Catholic high school or in a home where they are schooled. (One other thing I noticed from having many many discussions with many different girls from several different schooling situations is that: pregnant girls in a Catholic high school will be pressured to abort much more than girls in a public school, and the public schools are VERY interested in seeing teen mothers get their diploma, whereas in a Catholic school, the girls (but not the fathers!) have to leave and the school doesn't much care where they go. There are many many different topics that aren't covered by my tiny point and I don't argue any of them here.

Jeannette,

I was addressing the R.I. school and similar schools -- not the public schools.

They have their own problems, but IMO the cult schools are much worse because of the children's trust in the schools as religious institutions.

HonestyPlease,

Did you misinterpret my comments as support for the precandidacy? If so, that was not my intention. Sacramental grace is a beauty that should not be underestimated. We need to help these girls reach into the depths of their souls and see that God, their heavenly Father, never, ever abandoned them. This is the only path to healing. What's done is done,now, let the healing happen. We should never deny or object to speaking of the spiritual reality - God with us - in all our sufferings. Not you, not me, no one. Whoever thinks of them as "one-a-day vitamins"? Wow....

Seeking,

Thank you -- perhaps I misunderstood your comparisions to other schools -- but, again, the phony "religious mission" of these schools makes the places highly toxic, the damage very deep and the wrongdoing extremely culpable.

Slightly OT-- I've noticed that some of the young boys who are discerning for the LC wear their hair "Legion-style." Are the recruiters encouraging them to do this? If so, doesn't that show a great misunderstanding of the whole 'hair for religious' thing?

I mean, a tonsure is a symbol that you've already entered the community and have dedicated yourself to being a servant of God (and that no monk, regardless of birth, can lord it over the others-- more of a problem in the middle ages than now). If your 10 year old who thought the Benedictines were totally awesome wanted a tonsure, you wouldn't let him do it--it would be bizarre, and jumping the gun...

So, if the LC hair is such an important part of their identity, why are they encouraging kids to adopt it? And if it's just a matter of personal taste and nothing a mom should be weirded out about, why don't they let the LC wear their hair however they choose?

My feeling on the matter is that they're trying to deliberately encourage an inappropriate degree of attachment to the order in young boys. (The Dominicans don't encourage ten year olds to wear mini-habits, and the Dominican habit is way cooler than the LC hair!)

Either that, or trying to weed the ones whose hair won't look right out early!

Also, I think the whole "swooshy hair required" thing is clear proof that Maciel totally misunderstood the idea of the tonsure, just like the suits and french cuffs are proof that he misunderstood the idea of the habit....

I was one of the ex-PC's who attended the school in the late 90's. And while I agree with some of SeekingTruth's comments about the anxiety ridden adolescent years, living at the Precandidacy (even with sacramental graces) took on a whole different meaning. Because there was such an emphasis on "this is your vocation" and "don't mess up or you will lose your vocation" it was very easy to confuse God with Regnum Christi. We were taught to view every minute norm as God's Will for us. I remember confessing small things such as: I was late for breakfast 3 times and I broke relative silence in the hallways 2 times, I broke universal charity by forming an attachment to X etc. (that priest must have been bored out of his mind in the confessional) When I finally left the precandidacy, I felt that not only was I not good enough for the movement, but God had utterly rejected me. It has taken me almost 10 years to finally reconnect with my faith and start receiving the sacraments again. I finally realized that God isn't (and never was) the movement. But even now I'll still catch myself looking down on parish activities (a very LC attitude) or thinking that in order to have a "real" relationship with God I need to be fulfilling a set amount of prayer commitments every day or do things the RC way. Because of the time spent in the precandidacy, I know many of my former schoolmates are no longer Catholic and still suffer from intense guilt.

For the former PC's, the blog is more of a way to finally express ourselves. We were never allowed to form close friendships and when we did leave the precandidacy, we weren't allowed to say goodbye. After I started running into my friends "in the real world", I never knew if they were still involved with RC, so I was afraid to open up to them. In another sense, I think there is a lack of information about our experiences and we would like to let parents, RC members and Catholics know what went on behind those closed doors.

While we did have the opportunity to attend Mass everyday (and I'm sure that's how we managed to not go entirely crazy), please do not discount the very real side affects that we are dealing with.

"We have developed a pretty skewed idea of what Catholicism--Christianity--is and that needs to be corrected as well. Otherwise another con man will put up a facade that seems to be orthodox and we will fall for it again. The Vatican cannot police everything."

Laurettas,
The Vatican doesn't have to police everything, this is a false dichotomy that I wish many people would stop using. It is in fact quite reasonable to expect the Vatican to tell LC "stop recruiting until you get your act together." They can do this today without attending to any other business. The fact is, is that the Vatican refuses to do so, and this is either a sign of corruption, incompetency, or both.

thank you for your honesty, ex-PC

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