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Sorry Fr Berg, as a resident of RC land (North Atlanta), with a couple of exceptions I have not seen much contrition, or even insight. I would say the RC is as sick as LC. Their "apostolate" is deceitful, based on sucking in mostly well meaning rich families, to brainwash them using pretty clever methods, to drain them of their money, take their children and family time. That is the "untouched" apostolate? It seems even Fr Berg is still drinking the Kool Aid.

I think Fr Thomas laid an egg with that particular point. However, the rest of the article is pretty good and is worth a read.

This is from the introduction to volume I of Envoy, a collection of ghost-written letters from the sexual predator con man founder of lc/rc:

“Institutions live on the spirit of those who gave them life. From the first days of its foundation, the mind of Regnum Christi's founder has guided its steps.”

It wasn't all that long ago that members of rc were directed by their lc priests and rc leaders to absorb these letters as though they were holy scripture.

And this from Cardinal Franc Rodé, prefect of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, telling Regnum Christi members in Atlanta (July 2007):

“To assimilate and get a deeper grasp of your Movement’s particular charism, apply what the Church tells the religious: the Founder’s interpretation of the charism is the authentic interpretation. So read, meditate on, and absorb the words of the man God chose to transmit this spirit to you: your Founder, Father Maciel. This is the most effective way that God imprints your Movement’s charism in your conscience, your heart, and your action.”

Despite the presence of decent people, rc remains a carrier of the movement's virus.

Reid hope you post this First Thing.

Personally I think Fr Berg goes along the line of "spiritual patrimony" as defined by the Cardinal but goes beyond him in making it something real and not a new definition of the old Kool Aid. I see it coherent.

Scipio's Buddy, how is it coherent? RC is as bad if not worse off than LC. At least some of you guys tried to speak out. We now know why you were ignored. "Reform" meant to “obediently” shut up. The process was rigged from the onset. This was only going to be a cosmetic affair, run by old guard "superiors”, under the delegate's direct supervision. He said so in the interview. 3gfs that had the courage to speak out also got the same treatment.
However, none of the lay families that stayed in RC, I mean none, zero, that I heard off, ever said anything about justice, or expressed any contrition for the deception in which they played an active role. They are waiting in the wings, to strut out any moment now, and triumphantly proclaim that they were right all along, that their cheating methods are "Gods' will", because the "Pope loves us". So yes, there is coherence. RC and LC are the same. If you read Rode’s approval of RC (written when all was know about MM in the curia, btw), he even says that RC and LC are inseparable.
But maybe I am wrong, so please explain..

Look, Tom, I know there is some wishful thinking in Berg's position (and in mine), but if the LCRC was rotten to the core none of us would have lasted one day there. I think his article is meaninful and it could do a lot of good if it's taken to heart by those people of good will who remain inside. No much of an explanation. I think that's what the article did.

@SB: I think Tom's grave concern, which I share, is that this "solution" allows the whitewash of RC's complicity in the matter. Not only does it echo the "bad founder, good foundation" lie, but it feeds the general atmosphere within RC, namely "See, we're good people." In fact, it goes even further to suggest, "We're not only good, but the real instruments of the Holy Spirit. Back to work!"

Those of us who left did the necessary soul searching and humbling self-inventory that allowed us to grow and mature. There is nothing in this prescription that would suggest that existing RC members need to do so. (I know I'm peddling a tremendous amount of self-referential data here, I know, but is our experience worth nothing?)

Esprit du corps, enthusiasm, purpose in life - all these are things that can captivate a person. Add Jesus and a focus on virtue, and it has a veneer of goodness. That explains the "charism" of the RCielistas.

Tom -- My attempt to post my comment at FT on Legion Reformed? didn't get past the gate keeper. My comment did not "advance the engagement of the issue," and FT does not comment on "moderating decisions." That's ok, kinda expected that would happen. I chose not to tone it down.

Mary Ann, if only. Most in RC that I know are good people by themselves. But RC deforms people to do deceitful things, contrary to honesty and fair play, values that most grew up with, be it the US, Mexico or anywhere. Behind religious sounding words, people become cogs in a system of self serving deceit. Those are not values of honest people.
LCRC goes only after rich gringo families, that are already Catholic. What is their astonishing “apostolate”? “Spiritual Spas”? Couple days a year “Ogling the Poor” recruiting/PR safaris? “Mega missions”? “Fashion” shows in potato sacks?
The only charism that would make sense to me, as Another ex-LC | January 11, 2014 at 02:45 PM said, is to do the reverse of MM. Tackle drug addiction (Atlanta is a big hub btw), abuse. Help and pray with those with mental illness, those abused, fighting abortion, without fanfare (without "obsessing" in the case of abortion, of course) , not for a few days, by for the long run. Otherwise, why even bother?
Reid, perhaps if you quoted without citing the authors it may have been posted (e.g: used proper LCRC scholarship standards and ethiquette)..
In the end, lets pray that the GC adopts Latin as their ecclesiastical language, its our only hope...

Reid, your comment is there now.

I want to give props to Fr. Berg.

His article is well-written article and raises a number of valid points, most of them being thoughtful criticism of RC values and culture. In the end, though, I have to agree with others here that his attempt to establish some kind of valid basis for RC falls flat.

In the comments section following Berg’s article, a poster by the name of A.L. brings up an excellent point that has been raised here at LARC in the past, but hasn’t been mentioned in a while.

Quoting A.L.:

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“When I was an LC in the 90s, we were told on one of our cursillos (I honestly can't remember who told us) that the RC was founded as a means to further the LC and its apostolate where we, as consecrated and as priests, were unable to because of opposition from our enemies, from those who did not like us, from those who did not want us.”

“These first RC members were an imitation of the LC brothers except for their clothes and their vows and canonical obligations. This meant that where the LC had to ask permission from the Bishop to work or live in a diocese, the RC did not have to ask permission. The RC could then set up a "community" or school or other apostolate and invite the LC priests or Brothers to attend them spiritually. This was shown to us as an explicit example of the ends justifying the means - of being clever for god's apostolate and overcoming obstacles such as Bishops and canon law. We really believed you could do anything as long as it was for god. It was as if we had a special license, being called to the Legion, to lie cheat or deceive.”
------------------------------------------------------------------------------------

So, if one of RC’s core foundational premises was to be an instrument (or front?) utilized by LC to end-run diocesan bishops, outmaneuver local clergy, and circumvent canon law, a point made by A.L. above and testified to by numerous movement survivors, then Fr. Berg has his work cut out for him if he believes that a valid charism can be found at the bottom of this pile.

I like Fr. Thomas' article. I just wonder why the Legion do not consider the teaching as their patrimony. They did it before RC, and they have mane schools. They can become like the Salesians, etc. This part of their past has never been highlighted. Why?
Thank you.

Tom, I was just mentioning the natural things that could make a recruit feel like there was a charism.....and then comes the manipulation and deformation.

Agree, Mary Ann.

Even healthy ecclesial movements remain problematic when it comes to harmonizing them with local diocesan structures and are no cure-all even in the best of hands.

In the hands of an institution that has decades of bad habits to overcome, the LC would have no reason to ever leave itself and serve the broader Church.

I am surprised that Berg has not caught on to the danger of insularity. A lay movement can offer to a group of priests a closed circle of accountability, who need only to please and form their privileged group, and such a group needs only their priests to fulfill all their sacramental and spiritual needs. This is a very toxic combination.


The foundational objective of the RC - at least in Mexico where I was when the RC was "launched" - was not, as Frank quotes, "to be an instrument (or front?) utilized by LC to end-run diocesan bishops, outmaneuver local clergy, and circumvent canon law, a point made by A.L. above and testified to by numerous movement survivors."
I was present at the very first presentation meeting in Cotija. Like almost everyone else, I couldn't believe we were sworn to secrecy about the new "methodology" which was written mostly by Frs. Ferran (then a Bro.) and Alonso. From that moment on, the expansion of RC became our dominant objective. It was the principal means of fulfilling the "charism" (although we never called it that.)

For what it’s worth, I’ve talked with many religious from different orders over the years... the notion of "charism" never received the importance for them that it now has in the context of the LC debacle. It's a bit of a red-herring.

The LC, in my time, never worried too much about diocesan approvals. This first became a challenge when confronted by the much more hierarchical approach in the US. Hence, the movement fell through the normal diocesan approval-process cracks because lay "movements" was a relatively new phenomenon. Hence, the Movement became a useful (pragmatic) way for the LC to move ahead while allowing the Church's ineffective bureaucracy to catch up. This is the root of a lot of trouble.
The stealth approach effectively became a part of tan overly dominant, twisted methodology. I recall, many thoughtful LCs worried – mostly in private conversations - about the emerging, all-encompassing focus on methodology to the detriment of spirituality. Our fears turned out to be real. To doubt publicly would have meant we were not “integrated.” The Movement totally took over our lives – because it seemed like such a common sense approach to the demands of Vatican II.
The rule driven, methodological approach, nurtured a latent inclination to manipulate people, learned from Maciel, and it became a hall mark of LC behavior. No doubt this approach caused more than one mental breakdown. An almost total lack of critical thinking is not at all healthy.

With regard to Fr. Berg's observation on "charism" (First Things) I contributed the following commentary:

"Fr. Berg’s thoughts are grounded in common sense. I was a Legionary from 1962-1982. I documented my experience in published memoirs. I mention this because the process of remembering the experiences I would seek to publish leads me to agree that “the formation and evangelization of lay people” is the abiding mission statement that I remember from my early years in the congregation. In order to achieve this aim, Legionaries were to “excel” in their professional approach to living the priesthood. This emphasis on a new zeal, and military-style commitment to the cause was, I think, the main recruitment slogan used to recruit the first Irish Legionaries. We never discussed “charism” because the mission was abundantly clear in the decades of the sixties and early seventies. Many of us were surprised with the foundation of the Regnum Christi movement as the principal vehicle to achieve our aim. However, there was a certain amount of logic in the approach and most of us embraced the notion. It also, at the time, made sense – especially in Latin America – to focus on the recruitment of “leaders’. Because we were so few, it seemed to make sense to focus on the top of the societal pyramid (in terms of wealth and power) especially at a time when few if any religious orders spent much time on the wealthy. No doubt Maciel was emulating what he saw, and admired, in Opus Dei.
I subscribe to the recommendations Fr. Berg makes. It is high time we saw tangible proof of LC commitment to eradicate Maciel’s evil influence. They owe this to his victims – those who were sexually abused, those who he and many Legionaries emotionally abused and manipulated for evil purposes, and to the faithful at large who have had to live through this demented scandal."

The general consensus among many of my Mexican friends and acquaintances is that there is a growing, discernable change in Legionary behavior. Far less robotic, more in touch with their feelings, distanced from Maciel, and, in general, excellent preachers. This only refers to those LC seen at public and semi-public functions (funeral masses, retreats, and etc.).

Since it never seemed likely to knowledgeable observers that the Vatican would close the Legion down (at least in the relatively short term) I've always opined that we can only begin to judge the effects of their reform when we see what comes from the General Chapter.

None of us change very easily, if at all, despite the fact that we often wish others would change. It will take an entirely new generation of Legionaries to take the process to fruition, if they survive. I'm still not very optimistic... but the Holy Spirit is capable of surprising us. I presume Pope Francis is in touch with Him/Her (the original notion of “Spirit” in the Bible is feminine).

I knew there was something amiss with Father Berg when he made that comment about Jim Fair lo these many years ago (to wit, that Fair "has earned a very high place in heaven for what he has had to endure this week.") sounded bizarre at the time and still does.

Apparently you just can't get rid of the Kool-Aid in your system that quickly (after several years?!). The effects may be permanent with some.


Fr. Berg is not really proposing a "solution" so much as a possible explanation of why Benedict did not suppress the Legion in the first place. I've heard this same explanation from others over the past few years, including from a few priests who are no fans of the Legion. Whether folks like it or not, the door was left open a crack for the LC to prove that they are valid over and above their current juridical standing (which could - and may well - have happened as a result of curial corruption and nothing more. And therefore certainly could be reversed).

Fr. Berg doesn't directly address what it would mean if the LC were NOT to undertake the list of "to-do's" but the implication is pretty clear. While the list isn't new, it certainly is comprehensive - not leaving much to differing interpretations of the term "genuine reform".

There is only one scenario in which the institute can succeed and that is that they must both have a genuine charism AND a genuine reform. The other three scenarios - 1) No charism, no genuine reform; 2) charism, no genuine reform; 3) no charism, genuine reform - are either an impossibility to begin with (#3) or will lead to the institute's demise (#1 or #2).

Fr. Berg has laid out the criteria that will signal whether the Legion can succeed. The question as to whether or not it ever had a charism is almost a secondary consideration at this point.

Monk-- I think the reason charism doesn't loom as large for other orders is because they sort of take it for granted.

I mean, you join the Franciscans, you know you're going to embrace Lady Poverty and love the poor. No one joins the Franciscans and then has a shock when they find out the founder advocated hugging lepers. They don't spend much time talking about charism because it's obvious.. they're imitating Christ by following in the footsteps of Francis.

The reason charism looms so large for the Legion is BECAUSE of all the masks and lies. There was no shared idea of what they were joining...

1. Well said Deirdre.

Perhaps by looking as DePaolis does, to the patrimony of the order, some might be better served since the patrimony is the means by which the group is too renew its charism in every generation- hence its what transmits continuity from founder to a member 200 years from now, and identity to group.

Normally the intentions of the founder are what configure the use of the diverse elements, however good or bad they me be.

How unshakable really therefore are those intentions? How much separation can be made? In theory, in the world of ideas you could do it, but our nature is more relational than we care to admit. Ideas might tell you what you are, but persons and their intentions answer better for a group- Who we are.

2. I also like IDS's logic, well done. It expresses simply a point I made 2 years ago. No charism + reform = demise. In other words if one did succeed in making all the changes, and what you loose are the false methods of control, and illusion of serving the Church by self serving/glorifying aims-- and then what? THE Void-- emptiness-- lack of definition. This is why the order cannot reform, letting go makes it feel the void, and awaken to its certain death.

Deirdre says it well, echoing Giselle's insightful comments.

I guess that phony-baloney "charism" would have to include the duplicity, lies, pride and utilitarianism that so many of the cult members were "(de)formed" in.

Bottom line -- it's a laughable -- and morally and spiritually dangerous -- idea/lie.

Reid, Do they still study Envoy in RC? I mean, they were given permission to do so as long as they didn't attribute it to Maciel (which, as you point out, he didn't write anyway). But it was "Maciel's" writings that convinced me that the LC/RC isn't Catholic, not Maciel himself.

And echoing Tom: last fall, the founder of Pure Fashion came to speak at my daughter's high school about modesty. OF COURSE, there was no mention of Regnum Christi, parents weren't told about her visit until after assembly was over, etc. Spots haven't changed, still isn't Catholicism.

Jeannette, I don't know if they still study Envoy in rc. But I do know this --- Envoy is, among other things, a crashing bore. You've heard the saying, turnabout is fair play, so how about this (I know, in my dreams, but it helps me stay sane): The legion superiors who produced mm's “writings” are locked in a room lined with books from floor to ceiling. The assignment is for each superior to read all the books in the room. But here's the rub -- the only books on the shelves are copies of Envoy.

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