Most Helpful Posts

Helpful Articles

Blog powered by Typepad

Comment Policy

  • All constructive comments will be accepted.
    Commenting anonymously is certainly permitted as long as it adds to the understanding of this topic. The point of this site is to foster love for Christ, while analyzing the place of Regnum Christi in the Church. (Please know that no one will be able to track your comments -- neither the readers nor the webmaster. We all understand the hesitancy in speaking about this experience and the fallout that can accrue. All comments will only bear the information you choose to reveal.)

« ICSA talks | Main | Binding the 3gf's to the Legion »


Feed You can follow this conversation by subscribing to the comment feed for this post.

Please pray for Thomas Peters, who had a severe swimming accident (as per NCReg).

Tom, Thank you for the info! I wasn't aware of Thomas Peters' accident. It sounds quite serious.

As for the subject, there are obvoiously a few big problems with this young LC's perspective:

1. "Maciel as mystery" is a self-validated explanation of their founder based in part on Benedict's own words to Peter Seewald in 2010. The logic goes as follows: Church didn't disband us; Church said our founder was "mysterious"; ergo, we are valid and our founder is a mystery.

2. Continued confusion of the Legion for the Church. For example, in referring to the unprecendented pickle in which the Legion has found itself, Melicia Antonio makes the following comment: "Lots of things have happened in the Church in the past century that never happened in the previous nineteen centuries, because the Church began applying theological truths in new ways." Well - there we are then. (source:

3. Then of course he's using "the logic of his experience", rather than any critical reasoning, to discern his place (if any) in the Legion. Makes me wonder what kind of numb-skulls they are attracting these days.

Pius XII? I thought the findings of the first investigation were not available until his last days, or after he had already died.

Re: the use of Gregorian chant - is this a recent introduction into LC liturgies? (Something adopted during the time of Benedict XVI?)

Melicia Antonio has solved all the problems the Legion has. Really amazing. The superiors let her do. But it's nice that once in a while you get common sense pieces that remind us about real life. Now we know that 2014 has a few surprises in store for us.

Interesting that this was a sung Mass in the Extraordinary Form. If the cult thinks it's going to suck in the Latin Mass Catholics, it's going to be very disappointed. I think the EFM advocates are much too smart for that -- especially after the cult has been exposed.

Did anyone notice Sodano's involvement in the affair Sandro Magister wrote about yesterday (the homosexual priest/former diplomat the Francis named to monitor the IOR)?

I think the referred here was the Novus Ordo in Latin, usually celbrated Mondays and Fridays, or perhaps a Solemnity. This Gregorian and Latin have been around long before Benedict. Interesteingly enought, when the Tridentine came out the LC's were rather uncomfortable with the idea. We asked if we could attend sime masses or if a priest could celbrate it for us. But I think the reason why they dislike is that the protocol by Benedict, stipulates that is up to the priest.

The Legion loves to have control over everything, even the masses of the congregation as a whole. This shows the extent these people like to keep control over everything.

You can even see it by the brother's response, "mystery". That's how the LC's have portrayed the situation from the very beginning, almost justifying the founder. I am sure he is just repeating what the superiors are drilling inside their minds every Sunday Talk, everey monthly retreat, every daily Spirit of the Legion class, and so on.

After reasding the article I almost get the feeling that even in Connecticut the LC's are losing their presence. With Thornwood on sale, houses closing, and apostolic schools being "consolidated", let's see for how long can this "mystery" linger around in the US.

What is fascinating is to see how the LC continues to use the "in your face" impact as the reporter states 'of all those young handsome faces'.

As he notes the 70 young men march into the chapel I am reminded of the lyrics of Zefirelli's Rome and Juliet:

What is a youth?
Impetuous fire.
What is a maid?
Ice and desire.
The world wags on

A rose will bloom,
It then will fade
So does a youth.
So does the fairest maid.

Comes a time when one sweet smile
Has it's season for awhile
Then Love's in love with me

Youth- herein was MM genuis using this to the max at a time when so many Churchmen, seeing aging priests and religious, are vulnerable to its spell.

Moreover he idealized youth so much- knew its weaknesses and powers- and how to use it. To this day major superiors exalt primarily the earliest stages of formation- especially the apostolic school. One sensed always the older one got in the LC world, the less connected one was to that "docility" it wanted from those who had seen its failures. You will not see reporters running around a group of older men- in their 40's-50's getting their reactions. First because they are fewer, second less appeal- faded roses, all of them.

It seems as though they are trying to create an image of Nazi soldiers, all uniform, all fighters, all blindly obedient to a once sick and narcissistic leader. Some call it evangelical renewal, but all it is is religious extremism. Will this cause more Catholics to leave the church or will more join?

EyesOpen- It's unlikely to have any effect outside of the few isolated pockets where they still have a presence and some slight influence.

At this point, most 'normal' Catholics I meet have heard of the Legion and RC, but assume the groups must be totally defunct, because... how would anyone continue on with them after the revelations of the founder?

If you haven't been formed by the Legion, you see Maciel as a scandal, not a mystery, and you see that the group is clearly not legit. So, the influence is limited to the shrinking number of members.

“Deed not creed” vs. “theology does matter here.”

Dear Deirdre, I tried to argue the same point with folks at the ICSA. Catholic cult like groups (CCLGs) are similar to any cult groups in “deed”, since they use the same menu of methods. But I agree with you that, contrary to run-of-the-mill cults, theology matters in Catholic groups.

1) In a valid Catholic order, the founder’s charism will emphasize a particular theological virtue or gift of the Holy Spirit, and build the order around this particular fundamental concept of our Faith. This may also evolve over time.
2) De novo, independent 60’s type cults invent a belief out of the blue, these are almost irrelevant, just an instrument in the cult method, in the deception.
3) In CCLGs, the Catholic Faith is used as entry point. But elements of the Faith are taken out of context, and either exaggerated or diminished, not to highlight a particular theological virtue or gift of the Holy Spirit, or a particular fundamental concept of the Faith, but to do something that is opposite, not related to the Faith. So, a CCLG reinterpreted creed becomes a recruiting instrument for deeds that are not according to the Faith. This can be subtle, a matter of degree, not black and white. Double speak/Lifton’s “Loading the Language” is often used.

For example, obedience is important in any organization. But it’s a mater of degree. In most structured organizations, there are commonsense provisions when a leader goes AWOL, crazy or has obvious criminal intents. Yet excessive obedience is an important element of cults. In return, those that submit are given a sense of absolute elitism (this is the relational trade off, according to M Langone). In groups like LCRC and others, the concept of obedience is also manipulated. For example, “charity” is solely equated with absolute obedience to their superiors, thus dispensing members from their conscience towards others. In the end, the “deed” and the new manipulated “creed”, both become contrary to the Catholic Faith.

Unfortunately, people high up in the Church hierarchy, and at least one close to Pope Benedict (*), argue that cults can not happen in the Catholic Church. But the MM scandal clearly showed that it can. The danger now is that members of the Church hierarchy, in their hubris, will push the new concept that what ever they approved “must be good”, even if they approved orders created by criminals to do criminal activities, because they consider themselves to be direct oracles of God. This is why ongoing pressure is critical, imo.

*Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, O.P.: “Nobody needs to have studied theology to recognize the basic contradiction in the slogan ‘sects within the Church.’ Their presumed existence in the Church is an indirect reproach of the Pope and Bishops who are responsible for investigating whether ecclesiastical groups are in agreement with the faith of the Church in teaching and practice. From a theological and ecclesiastical point of view, a group is considered a sect when it is not recognized by the relevant Church authority…. It is therefore wrong if communities which are approved by the Church are called sects (by institutions, individuals, or in media reports)…. Communities and movements approved by the Church should not be called sects, since their ecclesiastical approbation confirms their belonging to and grounding in the Church.” L'Osservatore Romano, 13/20 August 1997. Cardinal Schönborn is Archbishop of Vienna and Editor of the Catechism of the Catholic Church. (OD web site)

pb - re use of Gregorian Chant.

During my 20 years in the LC we had two classes of Gregorian Chant every week. We modeled our style on the monks of Solesmes (France).

Chant was an integral component of the liturgy, especially on "solemn" occasions.

Also, during my time (62 - 82), Legionary priests celebrated their "private" masses in Latin. Latin was also preferred for solemn masses.

Sects "presumed existence in the Church is an indirect reproach of the Pope and Bishops who are responsible for investigating whether ecclesiastical groups are in agreement with the faith of the Church in teaching and practice.” [Cardinal Schonborn]

Well, yes, it is a reproach - - - when relevant Church authority has not exercised due diligence in its investigation of, for example, the legion.

I agree, Tom: “The danger now is that members of the Church hierarchy, in their hubris, will push the new concept that what ever they approved “must be good”, even if they approved orders created by criminals to do criminal activities, because they consider themselves to be direct oracles of God.”

If it's not enough that the pope has to deal with the clerical corruption in the Curia, he also has to contend with this creeping infallibility.

Thanks to Hope and The Monk for the info.

I was aware that private Masses were celebrated in Latin but I had not heard of public Masses being celebrated in Latin until now.

More incredibly poignant reasoning compliments of the Fair Blog - this comment is from a relatively new RC member:

"I am Regnum Christi and I believe that saints are being formed in our midst because of it. I never poured over the writings of the founder due to the timing of my incorporation but I understand the charism, and I see many in Regnum Christi live it beautifully.

I also wish to point out the delicate truth that the harm done in my mind has often come from others; Catholic friends, neighbors, priests, pastors, etc, and many of us have been more hurt by this than the person of he founder. So yes, talk about the issue but don't ignore how we can all heal as well.

Finally, I admit to comparing. I think about those who have left orders to start others for a simple reason; like wanting to work in an area of the world where their current order does not operate, or wishing to be radically poor as Mother Teresa did when she left her first order. No one reinvented the wheel. Then I ask whether the simple wish to have a holy founder is the only thing one needs to do what Mother Teresa did? Then how would this work and still retain our unity? The work we do is so precious."

Let's see:

1) Confuses RC for the Church;

2) More concerned for their "hurt" feelings than any damage done by the founder;

3) Believes they are so important that not having a "holy" founder is secondary to "unity" -

My friend, you claim you are Regnum Christi. Indeed you are.

According to this report, Mee family members filed again. If true, it’s a long shot, but I hope it works this time. The first time they may have lost, but the information uncovered and released just before the conclave was critical. Even the judge called it a red flag. Unfortunately, at this point, such actions seem to be the few effective ways at getting through the hierarchy. If this is indeed happening, imo, if anyone has any possible direct knowledge to the case, please consider helping. The rest, lets pray!

There are good lawyers and then there are others that just push for trials to get the fees... they did not prevail the first time because there was no standing - the niece is not necessarily entitled to the inheritance. The lawyer will have to bust the soles of his shoes researching similar cases so that the court can rule in the nieces favor.

There has to be a similar case with the money given to a sect or to Rajneesh, etc where a family member was excluded unfairly and money was restituted.

If not, this will be another huge failure. Unless the lawyer has done that, the case will not progress because there is already a precedent set.

I hope the niece wins, but they are going to have to roll up their sleeves to get it. Possibly there is a mother lode of cases out in California...

Little Light, those are good points. I don’t know the details of the case. People are free to choose whom they want as inheritors, even pets. In Athens GA, an eccentric army officer gave a piece of land to his favorite tree, now the sapling of the tree owns the land. I am not a lawyer, however, I don’t think there is a case of a cat, dog or a tree that scammed an elderly woman. I think that is the case. There are many examples of such scams, sadly. I believe the niece’s intentions are to create a trust, or a foundation. Regardless, even the first case was a victory, since it shed an important light on this group, and Church hierarchy’s response.

There is still the Chu case. I believe a son will have better "standing" than a niece. I don't know what is happening in that case. IIRC, the son is suing for $1 million and another $10 million in punitive damages.

The Chu case is more interesting also because he was living with family members and they were trying to protect him from the aggressive legionary fundraisers. And the Legion knew that - the word on the street was that they were "anti-clerical" and so the Legion played a cat and mouse game to get in touch without the family discovering that and then overcome the obstacles (to get the money...). In part because orientals are respectful for their elders they left him a certain amount of room and that was all the space the legion needed to get the $$ (and ride out of Dodge on a fast horse).

RE: that comment for Melicia's 'charism' series: It's clear Jim Fair let that comment conclude an otherwise negative string of substantial critiques.

We can see as noted above how the members have been encouraged only to look at what has attracted them (cfr. Ghirlanda conversation with a Legionary) , and in some way avoid all that is inconvenient or negative in their history. This way anyone who brings them to see and deal with the whole reality is only trying to hurt them, rather than make them objective about the institute they are living in.

Ghirlanda tells the LC struggling with reality to go back to what attracted him and take refuge in it, separate it from the 'other elements'. With that there is never an objective judgment about the whole reality, only a very narrow interpretation of one's "own experience", even including Evaristo Sada's classic line- 'The founder never did me any harm.' Really?

I remember one LC who left who only wanted an answer from Fr. Alvaro to one key question: Was it true that MM abused his own seminarians? By that time AC had no choice but to admit yes. To that we can add the plagiarized writings, the manipulated approvals, the theft of funds, etc.. No LC or RC member who left ever asked if MM was a saint, they only asked about his intentions during the founding process which he dominated for 60+ years, i.e. just the basic integrity of his founding and the foundation.

So for this renewal to work the subjective intentions of the members count, not the reality; whereas for the founder and the foundation itself the intentions of its participants are irrelevant- according to Melicia and Ghirlanda. Are not the intentions of a founder what gives the institute its distinctive spirit and spirituality?

Wow, just wow. What a way to turn the theology of a collective charism on its head.

While we tend to throw around the cult terminology, those who are in charge of this use other categories to judge these realities. Even here the logic has holes so wide you could drive a tractor trailer through them.

We were talking with a former nun friend about the situation with the 3gf's trying to identify a charism and clinging to the positive "fruits" as a way of justifying their existence as a religious movement. Our friend shook her head and said it sounded like someone trying to identify the positive benefits of slavery in the U.S., for example looking at the positive effects that it might have had on the economy or noticing how the adversity of the enslaved people brought some of them into closer community.
The way of life for nuns back in the 1950's and 60's and beyond was similar to the 3gf life today. The methodology used was indistinguishable from what is considered mind control by the experts today. I think that is one reason why the Church doesn't see anything abnormal about MM's structure and methodology (because it looks the same as the old way of life in convents).
Our former nun friend had sincerely believed everything she was told while she was living her form of consecrated life. She, like many others suffered emotional and psychological symptoms similar to those expressed by the young women on the 49weeksblogspot. Part of her faith life was permanently damaged and she has lost some respect she had for the hierarchy.
The Church needs to update its attitude towards the equality of women. It is never okay to use manipulative methods to enslave people and take advantage of their lack of power even though God may somehow bring some good out of it.
I sure don't see any evidence of "authentic or profound reform" yet in RC.

I highly recommend seeing "Magdalene Sisters". It's a true story and very powerful film about the hardships women faced in Ireland at the hands of cruel and very unhappy nuns. Many girls served time in these institutions (doing laundry) for "crimes they never committed like being raped or being flirtatious. And yet, these girls had to to pay for their sins. The last Magdalene laundry was shut down in 1996 (not that long ago). The women were basically held against their will and died there. Sound familiar?

The comments to this entry are closed.