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Maria et al: This is why I believe RC should be turned over to the bishops or the Jesuits. Either authority could strip away Macielism from RC and bring out its essential charism. The former because of grace of state; the latter because spiritual formation and discernment of spirits is the essential Ignatian charism.

Pete, what does it mean for a lay group "to be turned to the bishop", other than joining a parish? If there are lay entities attached to a bishop, they are not founded by the bishop, but started by someone that had a foundational Charism. In the case of RC, such an initiative would need to come from RC members. We saw how that went with LC. To me, RC are worse off then LC. BTW, I emailed the national CRHP office describing how their secret "copyrighted" retreat that I once attended had typical a 60's style cultish elements, and got a bunch of insults back in reply.

Pete, I have always appreciated your wisdom, an it was especially helpful when I was first leaving RC back in 2009. (I had been in RC for over a decade.) However, since leaving RC, I have come to appreciate Holy Mother Church far more. What I used to think of as a unique contribution of RC (the potential "charism" you refer to) I have since seen in many other areas of the church: in our own diocesan retreats, in many of the young priests we've met through our diocese, in the other charisms I've encountered since leaving RC, and the many extremely generous and dedicated volunteers I've met since leaving (there's so much more than just Knights of Columbus and Legion of Mary, as RC would have had us believe, and so many more selfless leaders than RC would have had us believe as well! True, sometimes, RC was the first to come up with a great idea. Perhaps RC was like the runner (the "rabbit") that sets the pace and then drops out; perhaps RC was never meant to run the race till the end. Just some of my thoughts.

There has to be a lot of confusion among the 3g's regarding their spirituality because we know there never an authentic spiritual agenda as the prime purpose for existence. Bringing in Jesuits would be one good possibility but perhaps they should be exposed to other valid forms of Catholicism. There were no truly inspired LC spiritual leaders (and still aren't) even though there was a genuine desire in the ranks to do good works.

So the main spiritual resources are the dedicated people who were willing to commit themselves to serve God but they are aboard a (spiritually) rudderless ship. Fortunately, there are a number of good alternative Catholic organizations (including Jesuits and local bishops in some areas) that are available that could make much better use of the wasted resources and people.
The good members who committed their lives never had an opportunity to truly discern their vocations. They were lured in by high pressure recruitment and now some of them are entrapped hoping that things will work out.
One possibility would be to have representatives from different religious orders and movements and organizations(authentic ones) come in and make presentations about the ways that they serve the Church.
It seems horrible and cruel to me that DePaolis and others try to bully people into staying put or be considered disloyal. Surely this should be a time for all the 3g's to have opportunities to look at all the alternatives and be encouraged to go where God (not some monster) is calling them. If they were not allowed to recruit for several years, they would realize that they don't really do much else and would be open to want to relocate where they could truly serve God and other people (and not just chase after rich people to try to get their money).
They shouldn't be made to feel that God wants them to stay there no matter what. Why try to find a charism for such a sick organization? The leaders have never shown any concern for the rights of the 3g's - brainwashing them - not providing adequate health care - not allowing them free will taking advantage of them and getting rid of them without notice. The Church should be assisting them, not trying to continue their enslavement.

The author of the article noted by Estatua says: "It appears that the Movement has around 3500 (three thousand quinietos) or so members worldwide. Legionaries are falsifying information by adding 64500 (sixty-four thousand five hundred), ie, almost 2000%"

Not sure how the figures were formulated but he goes on to say."They told the Cardinal that people had discovered the difference between the numbers and the reality. He answered "bisogna verificare '.(It needs to be verified) To date nothing has been verified. The Legion continues to report the same 68,000 members"

The Legion first must be forced to define what they mean by an active member. We are looking at those who attend the majority of monthly retreats and encounters/prayer meetings. The others are just names on a list for an annual retreat invitation.

Where did you get your 68K from? They provide other data on their website. Give them a break. Or is everything negative about LCRC intrinsically true?


@Jorge is one of their multiple domains. You can also find the PDF as well in

In 2 or 3 places they report 68,000, and in another 30,000....hmmm I will put my money on the 3500 being the more accurate, given +/- 38,000 margin of error... :)

@Jorge, just over 3 years ago, Jim Fair had a chance to come clean on the membership numbers.

Have 35,000 members since left or has the number 70,000 always been inflated? Also, please note the evasiveness of his response when asked for a breakdown as to where the RC population is distributed throughout the world. He responded in percentages. Think it through. Why would he do that except to avoid stating actual numbers?

When one has a history of playing games with the truth, it's hard to trust they've abandoned their deceptive ways. My opinion.

Just dug up the LARC discussion of that Jim Fair Regnum Christi Live membership claim.

I think it fair to suggest that the RC/LC grew so quickly and appealed to so many because both organizations filled a very real niche in the Church.

Other than the Opus Dei there was not much to appeal to youth, young adults, and parents who wanted to be more actively involved in the spirit of Vatican II. (I joined the LC in 1962). When I was 17 there was not much in the Irish founded Legion of Mary that appealed to me - with all due respect to the Legion of Mary which has done great work.

My experience in the LC confirmed that premise, especially in Mexico City (where the Jesuits had made a fundamental option for the poor and closed down - much to the dismay of many Mexican Catholics - their most important prep school in Mexico City.)

Now, so many years later, I find - in my limited area of engagement - that the premise seems to hold.

Having raised a family in the north east of the USA, with a sizable interlude in Indiana, I have to say that, despite a reasonable effort on my part - I have found no RC parish with programs capable of challenging and affording opportunities to be engaged, to the younger demographics.

Our local, large, parish - which I attend - is totally hung up on relics and devotion to them. Going to see the relics of a particular Saint in NYC just doesn't cut the mustard for a youth group. The KoC show up in their plumed hats and carrying their swords. There is a senior group and, (thankfully) a new men's group that meets at 6:00 am on Saturdays for coffee and discussion. (70 members.)

I just attended a meeting of several "concerned" Catholics looking for a sense of community in the Church, more as a spectator than an activist. The group included some former priests. My impression is that they are sincere, grounded, and, relatively, orthodox. They came from several different dioceses.

The point is they all seem to find that our Church is losing ground big time to more welcoming family friendly denominations. In my limited experience, I find that the "parish" model simply is not capable of catering to the needs for spiritual growth among a population that is baptized in one parish, confirmed in another, married in another one, and buried somewhere else. When young people go away to college I don't think the vast majority join a local parish. Maybe I have it all wrong?

That's why I'd like to ask a few questions here.

Do we honestly see the majority of our contemporary Bishops as respected leaders? Note that the few who openly criticize the LC (especially in Mexico) never seemed to do much with the knowledge they claim to have had when they could have made a difference. The pedophilia scandals have as much to do with Church leadership as with the offending priests. What about the nuns in the movie Philomena?

What is our (LARC) global experience of parish engagement and activities to cater to educated Catholics including young families?

In terms of parish community and welcoming how do we stack up against some other denominations? How seriously have we taken the teachings of Vatican II in the past 30 years? (Pope Francis will make a difference here... if he is supported.)

These are genuine questions which I'd love to get some opinions on from LARC readers. I am not trying to make a statement or to challenge anyone. However, it seems to me, personally, to be extremely naive, to suggest that the remedy for any religious congregation in trouble is to turn it over to the Bishops, the diocesan clergy, or the Jesuits. Frankly, I'm not sure any of them would want the job! How well did Cardinal Velasio do?

Finally, recent Chapter statements and some interviews suggest the LC may have gotten the message. They seem committed to reform. Time will tell. Given the alternatives, why does it not make sense to give them a chance while keeping a close eye on their future actions?

So, is my perception of the "alternatives" totally wrong?

"However, it seems to me, personally, to be extremely naive, to suggest that the remedy for any religious congregation in trouble is to turn it over to the Bishops, the diocesan clergy, or the Jesuits. Frankly, I'm not sure any of them would want the job! How well did Cardinal Velasio do?"

Touché, Monk!


1 - I would agree with you that RC attempted to fill a niche that was not being filled. This is despite RC being intended primarily as a feeder system for LC.

That being said, I cannot think of a single niche within the Church that LC filled. From the start, I believe it was a parasitical organization, whose only purpose was to feed MM's disordered and sinful appetites.

2 - Being handed over to the bishops or Jesuits alone would not reform RC and heal it of Macielism. But I believe it would be best for RC and best for the Church. Of course more reform is needed; however, I am not sure the will exists to carry out such reform so long as RC is under the supervision of LC.


Yes, being turned over to the bishops would require RC to go to the local parish. Hopefully this would cure RC of its aloof elitism.

The LC always held onto a 70k number even though they never had that many. They were counting the ECYD totals, the numbers from their mass incorporations in 1991, 1995, 1998, etc. The Legion counted on no one ever fact checking these inflated claims.

The Legion acted similarly when doing their "seminarian totals". They hung onto the 2500 seminarian total number for years and years even though it was more in the 500-800 range at best. to that number they added the minor seminarian numbers and inflated the numbers as much as they could.

Point 2 is that the Legion had a system called EXPO for on-line reporting of totals of RC men, RC women, RC YM and RC YW. The DG (Legion headquarters) always knew the real totals, but preferred to deceive the Pope, the Vatican, their own LC members, RC members, and more importantly their own benefactors.

Dear Pete, I don't see happening what you propose after the Vatican's endorsement to the LC.

@LL & Jorge et. al. And in its own 'real' numbers that it secretly held they counted anyone as RC who merely incorporated and had never actually written a letter of resignation or departure from the RC. It lied even to itself by counting those who had never seen a retreat or weekly encounter/prayer meeting in years. Definition of "active" would be essential for any serious effort to verify real numbers.

Monk-- In my experience (Mostly in suburban DC and in Indiana-- in college we went to the Catholic Student Center, NOT the local parish which was known as "St. Thomas the Apostate" and ...very special...)

The sum of most parish social offerings to families is.... sacrament prep for the kids. I've found other opportunities, but mostly because I associate with homeschoolers. For instance, this bunch : is marvelous

I think there is a demand for spaces in the church where families can steep their kids in Catholic culture and where a crying or nursing baby is welcome...

HOWEVER-- I think they need to START at the local level -- one big problem with all the lay movements, IMO, is the international, top-down approach. Things seem to work better when they bubble up from below instead...

A friend recently pointed me to this article:

Anyway, it's true that there needs to be more to draw young families, and especially poorly catechized young families, into the life of the parish. In some cases, smaller parishes are the answer-- our current parish is a small country parish, and as a result, everyone knows everyone and there's a real family feel.

But I think we also need to move beyond the 'sacrament prep- youth group' model to include more events where whole families participate-- the fact of the matter is that the culture is very antagonistic to the Church, and people want and need more support.

Because we homeschool, we also hang around with a large group of Protestant homeschoolers. Their churches are really good at reaching out to the community with family fun nights, knitting clubs, etc, and helping people get to know Jesus by forming relationships....

I think they're on to something. People believed the Gospel, even though they hadn't personally experience the Resurrection, because they loved and trusted the people spreading the Good News.

In a sense, LC/RC tried to mimic this with their processes, but the corrupt ends corrupted the means. Instead of "I love you because you're my neighbor and I want to share Jesus with you because he's Our Savior and knowing him will make you happier," it became "I am trying to meet my quota and I want you to give time/money/etc. to the movement founded by Maciel."

BUT-- the Protestants are still onto something, and I think there is a need to reach out to young lapsed Catholic and unchurched families and introduce them to Jesus and the sacraments. So, there's a hole in the Church, but.... I'm not sure how to fill it....

DM, you should be happy to know that "St. Thomas the Apostate" is now under the pastoral care of a Carmelite priest. There's hope, even for the "special" parishes. :)

I get sick of hearing people complain that there are no programs in the Church. For youth, for families, whatever. It seems simple to me. If you want a program, start a program. Run a program. I attend a very vibrant active parish. People roll up their sleeves and get to work. They don't expect someone else to do all the work so they can just show up. They make it happen.

WEATC-- Again, at least for me, the problem is I can see the PROBLEM, but I can't figure out a workable solution.

Like, with religious ed-- how DO you reach the kids who are there, but whose parents don't bother bringing them to Mass? It seems like we need something to reach out to their parents, but what?

Just having 'Family Day' or something isn't enough-- for instance, with the St. Joseph's/ Holy Family foundation I linked above--

You can have these awesome first Saturdays, you can go, you can invite other people to come.... but you can't make them take up the invitation.... And these sorts of things are a great support for practicing Catholic families who want to basically have a 'Day of Recollection' that is actually kid-friendly....

But what about the people who don't want a 'Day of recollection'-- who don't even want to go to Mass if the football game is on? How do we reach those people?

We need something...but I can't figure out what!

DM, that is WEATC's point. Those of us that have been hanging around LARC for a while hopefully by now have an idea of what not to do. How about what to do? Parish level, beyond? Child/adult religious education? What standard to use, how about the Cathecism? Volunteering? Etc?. What are basic, general do’s and don’t?
BTW, I looked at the US Conference of Bishops diaconate educational goals and was surprised how non specific they are (except for Canon Law).

Thank you for your insights. I think we agree! I will be curious to see how many more "answers" I get to the questions I posed.

I disagree that the RC was founded as a feeder system for the LC. That was not the intent when the movement was launched. The objective was to engage lay people in the "Church militant." This objective may have been distorted over time, although I am by no means certain that it was. So far, Pope Francis and the Vatican seem to think that the organization is of value, and that it can be reformed.

I think we agree. We can learn from the mistakes made by LC/RC. RC is certainly not the only answer to the questions I asked. However, if the reform turns out to be genuine and sustainable - time will tell - then it seems to me that there is still a real need for what it offers. The LC, following the Chapter, seems to be saying the right things. If their words are backed up by actions, lifestyles and the adoption of a new, healthy culture minus the dysfunctions I don't see what is gained by separating the LC/RC. Indeed, I think the RC could assume the dominant role, served by LC priests. That was the idea when I first attended the launch session of the RC as a Legionary.

Don't you think movements such as RC (reformed) or the Opus Dei (I am not up to date on their status) offer a very viable alternative (supposing they learn to integrate with parishes that accept them at least in the US) to those Catholics who want to make a difference? I still believe that the parish structure in today's mobile world does not have the ability to reach those "Catholics" who, as Deidre noted, are not catered to on the level that an organized lay movement could help support. There are of course, exceptional parishes that are models of "best practice." But, by and large, parishes in the US are dominated by a very small group (8%) of parishioners, mostly old and conservative, who tend to cling to a somewhat outdated vision of parish engagement. Not to mention the scarcity of well-trained, "professional" priests who can preach and engage with those who do not attend Church frequently. We do have Deacons - but in the parishes I have lived in their influence, passion, and committment to the people of God is mostly ineffective. In the light of all the scandals and young peoples reaction to them, how do we work on "client retention?" How do we support Pope Francis in an effective, organized way? Frankly, I see a small minority of our Catholic sons and daughters engaged with the Church as a living, transformational way. Consider the example of most bastions of Catholicism such as Ireland, Mexico, Spain, Italy, Germany, France and the US where, up to a point, committed membership in the Church is becoming irrelevant at best. How many young Catholics no longer participate in the sacrament of matrimony? How many Catholic parents wonder how they can regain their children's faith and belief in the Church?

The South, I think is doing a little better which is perhaps why RC/LC grew so rapidly in Atlanta. The faith is pretty strong here already. The Cathedral has all kinds of programs for young adults, single and married; they start OCIA anytime in the year with 2,000 converts/yr,and we have lots of vibrant schools. Smaller parishes have breakfasts, fish fries, crowning of Mary, Bible studies, ethnic festivals, greeters at the door on Sunday, SVDP stores, and lots of help with meals when someone gets sick. Many opportunities for parishioners to get to know each other and their families. Maybe it is because we have to compete with the Protestants, but I think it is because they definitely like to socialize with each other and family life is more centered on parish life.

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