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Excellent distinctions Giselle.

I just want to make clear that new areas of psychology can produce a dilemma, in that, a lot of their language becomes phenomenological- that is purely descriptive. Abnormal behavior is given definitions but to what end? A given hypotheses of abnormality is offered, yes- but from what set of rules is their definition of normality deduced from in the first place?

This is not to discredit the effort, only that a well equipped reader needs to include others frames of reference from which 'normal' can be understood from a moral and religious perspective. If not things can go radically off track.
Do not forget the wounds are still being felt in the Church from that previous syntheses of practices of religious life with unfettered application of psychological categories of well-being(in the grand days of Carl Jung et al). It had disastrous consequences.

There is the need then to have recourse to both sound spiritual and moral theological principles along the way, so that "normal" can be given its proper foundation and behavioral definitions can be kept in context of a specific state in life.

In older threads I always tried to point out specifics- where I thought moral and religious-psychological boundaries were crossed, often imperceptibly to a member, yet the violation of the dignity of the subject and their conscience was very real. I do that for those still inside- mainly- hoping that they can be challenged to see- and use them as a measure of the supposed reform.

In general, one can have all sorts of definitions and boundaries in place,- just as we have today all sorts of wisdom in canon law- but what good is it if there is no shepherd there to apply it, i.e. up close and personal. I personally have concluded that the proper place of judgment and supervision of new orders is the local ordinary (bishop). Has MM been forced to stay in the Diocese of Vera Cruz he would have been stopped there within a few short years. The Curia operates at too high a level for small groups and they can be duped and manipulated all too easily as we have seen. I pray the movie above wake them up to that truth.

"Dialogue Ireland" has more about the show, including this quote:

"Some of the Irish who joined the Legion and those they recruited believe it is a cult within the Catholic Church. Disillusioned former members believe that the problems run so deep that the Legion cannot be fixed. But the Vatican and the Legion believe there is hope. Fr Schöggl: 'If you see some cult-like characteristics, it is not because the Legion is a cult, but because there have been several circumstances, several weaknesses, deficiencies that made us act in a way that was not correct and (we have to) identify them and get rid of them.'”

Apart from this quote, there has been no indication from the Legion that they recognise this sort of structural problem with the group. How is the Legion to recognise the proper boundaries now that they are on their own?

Furthermore, the fact that there is "hope" knowing there is a problem is stunning; the hope is supposed to come in knowing how to fix it. Saying that their problems are specifically NOT due to being a cult makes it all the more difficult to fix, because the diagnosis is wrong. It's like trying to diet because of having fat ankles when you're really a diabetic.

I think the Church is very reluctant to use the word cult because it defines cult, and many Catholics define cult, as a group with dangerous, erroneous or blasphemous ideals and beliefs.

How I, and I believe life-after-rc members, use the word cult is about practices and actions rather than ideals.

You can have beliefs that are perfectly in line with catholicism/vatican but be a cult: it is not about what you believe but how it is carried out.

The word cult isn't necessary and perhaps it is not useful because of stigma and misunderstandings.

I think many bishops would easily understand the legion as a high demand group rather than a cult.

And as always, how ever we understand or label the legion - it should only serve being able to understand its negative effect on our lives and how to heal the damage.

Aaron, I think its more simple than that- it is that there is no theological definition for cult. When the Church does try to get at deviant practices rather than psychology it uses spiritual theology. However I think the work of ICSA is quite valuable for the Church to refresh that list, and see what new concerns should be addressed.

On another aside- Tom linked an interesting commentary that included this partial quote from Fr. Robles Gil: If Maciel is no longer the inspiration for the Legionaries, what is? According to CNS, the new general director thinks that priests of the reformed Legionary order should “discover their charism in the Gospel, church teachings, and their own experience of spirituality.”

In religious life a member is not absolutely free to choose their own spirituality given it is chosen upon entering the order. A Franciscan cannot live a Jesuits spirituality and vice-versa. So each LC is on his own ? How weird is that? The spirituality is that interior way or reasoning which forms the basis for the external rule of life. Again just a new illustration of an old theme of how the Holy See violated its own rules -so to speak- by letting the LC go forward without a spirituality specific to it. Like good old Paul calling Peter to task for not being consistent with his practices- I hope the above documentary can serve the need for more honesty.

I burned the RC prayer book we were told to pray from years ago, but how does RC/LC get past the prayer we said each day for the general director (Maciel) and that RC would flourish as long as we followed his charism? (Sorry, no longer have the exact wording - Jeannette may). The group needs deliverance from praying those prayers and reading the works of a pedophile. Maciel wanted to make us all in his image.

Anon - you have said exactly what I meant to say. the church identifies the word cult as a theological thing. New Age comes under that umbrella because of its philosophies. The church does not see the word cult as a psychological phenomenon but as a theological one and that is where the problem lies and that is why the Legion problem has not been addressed.

The elephant in the room regarding the legion is, in my opinion, singular: psychological manipulation.

And in that regard, what you mention about the particular charism works two ways: a dominican novice,you imply, will not spend his hours meditating on the jesuit way of life, but also in the legion I was not allowed to read canon law as a novice because that was not our charism.

In reality, reading canon law I would have found out that I was an illegal novice: I was just turned sixteen but according to canon law novices must be 17 years old at least, and I was not the youngest novice there.

it really bothers me that these things were never addressed by the legion. If only they had the guts to say that that was a malpractice and that they won't do it any more. No, they find some excuse or other.

It makes me feel very used.

I've already watched it. Nice to see there Fr Doyle, Federico Domínguez and Genevieve Kineke.

Here is the link to see the documentary "The Legion":

A&W in Atlanta, the LC dropped the so-called "Fidelity Prayer" - you know, the one that identifies the mission of the Legion and Regnum Christi as one of "growing the Legion and Regnum Christi" - back in early 2009 when the American Papist Thomas Peters exposed it on Kresta's radio show. The RC sections were directed to exclude the prayer from any movement events and activities and it was not included in the most recent printing of 2009/2010. The Prayer for the General Director has survived recent printings and I'm sure the LC/RC continues to pray it.

Just watched it, that was very well done.

Is it just me or does Fr Owen Kearnes look totally unconvinced of his own words when he speaks?

It was nice to put faces and voices to some of the names we've heard over the years.

Les - I had the same reaction to Owen Kearns. That was me in the red sweater!

Just got off a 20 minute follow up interview on Irish Radio this morning.

I think pretty much everyone who ever heard about the Legion in Ireland saw the documentary. Maybe they'll sell it to some US network? I thought it was well done... very factual and hard hitting.

Aaron: Just remember in the case of the LCs, the Holy See is not even following its own theology for religious life, or canon law for that matter. Most of the comments I made about DePaolis attempts to demonstrate that.

Regarding the limits on what you could read- I think once again it makes clear how one part of the manipulation occurs- depriving the conscience of information so that it cannot act. Facts are hidden behind authority rather than being available to evaluate their judgments and policies. Many of your descriptions demonstrate that very well.

By the way- the extreme pendulum swings from LC spirituality only to having no specific LC spirituality sources is truly shocking to any observer of religious life, and it is one of the clearest signs the LC as an institution never functioned on the basis of any spirituality at all, but on authoritarianism, paternalism (superior- centrism) and narcisism- that the glue its uses to hold the group together and it is all over the new Chapter communique.

Just saw the documentary- excellent. New facts of the deception never cease coming out. Suggest all send links to every Bishop and Priest you know.

In some ways, the testimonies form a certain motif as they move between the man in red and the man in black, i.e from Jack Kehoe to Owen Kearns. One seems so sincere and honest in his descriptions, the other is simply selling something- hoping you will believe him.

It brings to a close(but still to be digested), the era with Maciel, but sets the stage for his evil effect- the methodology-- as Genevieve makes clear. This is something much harder to critique.

The fundamental intuition says that the very core is bad, not just certain aspects- but how to demonstrate that to a public/press unable to discern the more subtle categories of religious life- and a Vatican in denial, this indeed is the great challenge going forward. I think future blog threads will be called upon to slay that dragon for sure.

I found one assertion quite interesting from Kearns that not even DePaolis has made. That from Maciel- the master manipulator and illusionist- came a Legion that is from God;

DePaolis's paradigm could never bring itself to assert that. Rather his scheme is that from the Legion itself the Legion came to be. We just take the Legion from the experiences it has of itself today without reference to history or original intent.

As I saw it, the nonverbal communication of Kearns was of intense concentration so as to speak carefully his own mind. He was not at ease. He didn't look at the camera. A great spin master as usual.

I don't understand what Fr. Owen says starting at 41:05 ... He didn't do *what*? He seems to be excluding personal involvement in defending Maciel except in the stories in the NCR?

Saw the programme and was left dumbfounded by Kearns' assertion that Maciel was the founder of
a Religious Movement that came from God.
But the Pope assertained that Maciel was devoid of any religious sentiment. Maciel was and will always be an enigma, but this beggars belief.
What of Kearns? Is he still in denial ? He was when the accusations were first presented, and had to apologise about that. Appears he is still in denial about Maciel.

Cody: In certain periods, Kearns was chosen to be the LC spokesman in the US, but the official responses he gave came from the talking points cooked up in the General Directorate by Luis Garza the then vicar general and Kearns was expected to deliver them, signed, often in written form to the press (LG is the current Territorial Director of the US- the one who says he feels no need to apologize for anything).

Best quote from the video belongs to Giselle--

Kearns: "we believe that God did use a seriously flawed criminal, a sociopath (if you want to put it like that), an abuser, and through him set up this such that, when we met it, we knew this is from God."

Giselle: "that is not how the Holy Spirit works."

AMEN! Even typing Kearns' words causes one to wonder if he knows what he is saying. Perhaps someone will give him a transcript, and when he reads it will see the ridiculousness of the statement.

Great job Giselle.

Another point on Kearns: He misrepresents the truth of his real reaction when the news came out vindicating Maciel's accusers.

He says here, "I know that other people felt tremendously betrayed, to me it was more like that's really sad."

- Kearns was already on record in a prior ICSA interview declaring the great crisis the order would enter into if the allegations regarding the founder were true- proving the non-existence of a charism.

- In the months following the news, reports said he was truly despondent, ready to leave the order.

What he is trying to do is to project a moral high ground through this supposed more tempered reaction- as if to say, 'Well too bad for Maciel but I am fine and the LC is fine.'

Sounds manipulative and another "Aqui no pasa nada" defense to me.

Hmmm ... AnonObserv, would Kearns throw the Legion under the bus on the essential point of "who denied this stuff anyway?"

That is what he seems to be saying, though.

Here is his story from the RC website:

Cody- wow- typical brazen Kearns style- still very much the Maciel disciple..

If you read that text carefully you will see how well the undiscerning Kearns picked up on the Maciel doctrine.

1. He learned how to isolate his visitors into a very narrow and limited experience of community life-(just get them to visit the LC to test the call) i.e. a form of sustained love bombing but LC style- and lock themselves inside of that experience without looking beyond it. The current Chapter communique neurotically emphasizes the need to keep a tighter hold on its member through more community life and less time for to live out their own individuality especially during the apostolate where LCs have more contact with normal people.

2. Be careful when Kearns begins to use absolutes-like eternal, never a doubt, that 'unshakeable call'(this last being a Pope Benedict quote but interpreted only in the LCs favor) - These absolutes are the most dangerous for the religious conscience. Here they are often exaggerated, and an attempt to lure you by the attraction of the virtue of faith with little or no measure of the objective criteria of faith. Vocational discernment afterall is not based on subjective attraction alone.

The method used: The absolutes of faith and the attraction of the person of Christ are so merged with the Legion itself in the religious conscience that one cannot distinguish one from the other. This merging of the two- is how the manipulation begins, so much so the subject fears that one cannot leave one without leaving the other.

.. Please Kearns tell us: how about that eternal and immutable call of the LC vocation for Juan Vaca or Felix Alarcon-- how would you evaluate it today?..

3. "I realized that these people not only were determined (their word) to penetrate the secular culture and transform society, but that they knew how to do it." The will to power, the beast emerges- not about witness of life and let the fruits spring forth where they may- but it was all about the HOW, the METHOD. This is a drug, a narcotic, not a charism.

"It can't be transformed. Because the core itself is corrupt."

That's it -- the truth.

I know Kearns obligated a mental breakdown candidate to travel to Rye, NY when he wanted to go home. Kearns didn't want the cLC's family seeing the candidate until he could be doctored up and a smile back on his face. This would be bad for the Church since the Legion would be wrongly blamed and its mission to serve Christ negatively impacted. So off to Rye. The by now ex candidate was locked inside a 3rd floor room. He couldn't leave - supposedly for his own good. The candidate escaped and caught a bus home. The family called later and quite angry and Kearns found a way to convince them that it was better to keep the whole matter quiet for the good of the Church.

Listen to what Kearns says about what he did in recruiting, bringing young men to the novitiate and letting their hearts decide. Well here are some Kearns quotes that I heard with my own ears:

To a young man from Maine who wanted to finish one more year of college before joining the novitiate: "If you don't join this year, it will be a mortal sin."

To my candidate group: "You have a vocation until your superior tells you, Brother, you don't have a vocation."

Again, to my candidate group: "There is a vote to decide if you can join the novitiate. Me, the Holy Spirit, and you. But you cannot overrule me and the Holy Spirit,"

A lie is a lie is a lie.

And a liar is a liar.

Scipio's Buddy: "As I saw it, the nonverbal communication of Kearns was of intense concentration so as to speak carefully his own mind. He was not at ease. He didn't look at the camera..."

It almost looked as if he was being poked from behind to say certain things -- by a pitchfork, perhaps?

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