The Legion and IPS

While the Legion founded IPS many years ago, there has long been an insistence that the link at present is tenuous or severed. Just to clarify, the time is as strong as ever:

Due to an increased demand for Catholic psychological training, the Institute for the Psychological Sciences in Arlington has created the School of Counseling. With two distinct programs, the graduate school now will be elevated to the status of a university — titled Divine Mercy University. “IPS has been continually challenged by its mission to be outward focused in response to healing a wounded culture,” said Father Charles Sikorsky, president of Divine Mercy University, in a press release. “The new university is a direct response to the great human and spiritual need for mental health and helping professionals.”

That would be Fr Charles Sikorsky, LC. The Legionaries of Christ in charge of a university dedicated to mental health would be rejected as a storyline in the most outlandish satire. And yet here we are. And to revisit the founding, this is a 2001 statement by IPS co-founder, Dr Gladys Sweeney (now Academic Dean Emerita):

“I too have known Fr. Maciel for a number of years and rarely have I met anyone with a more sound psychology. The behaviors that he has been accused of can only be the result of severe psychopathology. People suffering from these pathologies cannot ‘fool’ others consistently, year after year. Sooner or later, the pathology gets out of control, and ends up in a disaster. Fr. Maciel, after many years of dedicated service and sacrifice, has continued to give more and more to the Church, and maintained an extremely fruitful life. This is psychologically inconsistent with a severe pathology. Also hundreds and hundreds of holy priests have followed his leadership and example. A person with a severe pathology may be able to ‘fool’ a few dozen people, for a few years, but certainly not countless intelligent and balanced Legionaries that have dedicated their life to the Church, for nearly 60 years. Among the many supporters of Fr. Maciel, is our Holy Father, who certainly is very wise and most learned about the psychology of people.”

Recruiting techniques

The point of this blog has been to educate the readers about (among other things) what constitutes a healthy religious experience, and to that end article

The talk of the town last week was about New York Times profile of an (accused) rapist/serial womanizer/wife-abuser ex-rabbi who essentially got kicked out of the Jewish world and has successfully resurrected himself as a new-age guru. His name is  Marc Gani, and I actually know/know-people-who-know women whom he messed with. I heard about him years ago at a Shabbos table — some people who had left his sphere of influence were discussing his move to Boulder and said, “I don’t know why he keeps trying to work in the Jewish world. He should go to the new age — they don’t care about sexual propriety.” Apparently he had the same idea.

The list of red flags in this piece, How to Spot a Spiritual Sexual Predator, reminds us that MM was simple a run-of-the-mill spiritual pervert who fit a standard profile, which includes:

The Spiritual Man Who Thinks You’re Special: You are a light in the darkness to him. He is your teacher, and he sees soooooo much brilliance and potential in you. You are what he needs, and he is what you need — spiritually, of course. Or he wants to personally help you. You, more than anyone, are worth his precious spiritual energy and time.

The Spiritual Man Who Pierces You With His Eyes: His gaze is unbelievably powerful. When he looks at you, you swear he can see right to your soul. Why do they always pierce you with their eyes? It’s a move of control and dominance. I once had a creepy swami try to pierce me with his eyes, and I left his ashram  within 10 minutes.

The Humble Man Who Talks About Himself — A Lot: I’ve met way too many of these guys. All conversations lead back to him. He is so humble that he doesn’t even have his own possessions or home — instead, he’s going to mooch off of you and other women. Counter something he says, and he’s going to throw the humble card at you: If you don’t agree with him (or you don’t flatter him), you’re arrogant. Since he is so humble, you are assaulting him by disagreeing with him.

It is these characteristics that may or may not be sexual teases, but still have the capacity to rattle a marriage and cross the boundaries of propriety. Even with “chaste” priests — who draw women into their web of influence by being extra understanding, supportive in difficult times, or encouraging of distinct gifts. Beware always, and again I say, beware. I am not entirely convinced that the Legion has learned to separate its fund-raising and recruitment techniques from those that border on a sort of perverse seduction. I would love to be proven wrong …

There’s more, and the list is very good. To be clear, to call MM a “run-of-the-mill spiritual pervert” is not to say that the damage in his wake isn’t horrifically grave and deeply personal — just that from now on, we should see that there is a series of characteristics that should give us pause. It’s like understanding what a cult is — plenty of astute people fall into them, and these charlatans are ubiquitous. Keep these items in mind, share them with your friends, and teach your children. Ours was only one chapter in a long and sordid book.

Plenary indulgence for the Legion

Found a link here:

Pope Francis has granted a plenary indulgence in the form of a jubilee year to the Legionaries of Christ and the members of Regnum Christi during the year in which they commemorate 75 years since their foundation. This jubilee will conclude with the solemnity of the Sacred Heart in 2016.

The Apostolic Penitentiary published a decree signed by the Major Penitentiary, Cardinal Mauro Piacenza, as a response to the request from the General Director of Regnum Christi and the Legion of Christ, Father Eduardo Robles-Gil, L.C.

The Legionaries and members of Regnum Christi may receive the jubilee indulgence during the solemnity of Christ the King in 2015 and the solemnity of the Sacred Heart in 2016 if they profess or devotionally renew the promises or vows which bind them to the Movement or the Legion, pray that the Lord keep their country faithful to its Christian vocation, as well as pray an Our Father, the Creed and an invocation to Our Lady, Queen of Apostles.

Likewise, the plenary indulgence will be granted if they dedicate a sufficient amount of time to the corporal or spiritual works of mercy, concluding with an Our Father, the Creed, and an invocation to Our Lady, Queen of the Apostles.

The indulgence will also be granted if the members dedicate time to learning or teaching Christian doctrine, or if they participate in evangelization missions.

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Legionaries and Regnum Christi members who are impeded by age or illness can receive the indulgence by uniting themselves spiritually to the jubilee celebrations and offering their prayers and sufferings for the new Evangelization and the establishment of the Kingdom of Christ.

In a letter to Legionaries and Regnum Christi members, Fr. Robles-Gil wrote: “I encourage you to make the most of this grace that the Holy Father has granted us to renew our gratitude to the Lord for the gift of the Movement and to increase our desire to be apostles and credible witnesses of the Kingdom of Jesus Christ.”

I’m curious how it came about, especially since they have never really acknowledged the heart of their problem, nor addressed the serious harms they caused over the years to so many people. Rather, this serves as another “Papal link” on which they thrive, and will be a good selling point for recruitment. Oremus.

Pre-candidacy program ends

The Regnum Christi pre-candidacy program, more recently called the Immaculate Conception Program, is officially ending according to a letter published over the signature of Nancy Nohrden, Territorial Director of the 3GF’s of North America. The letter notes the decreased enrollment numbers of late, as well as the fact that there was a commission established to study the problem. Despite the study, they have yet to discern how to attract women to the consecrated life, and will rethink programs to that end.

I don’t know what this means for the male side of the equation, or whether it applies to pre-candidacy programs outside of North America. Perhaps readers can weigh in on those questions.

“Gente Nueva”

I stopped in at the LC/RC site to read their history which is crisp and sanitized. No surprise there, although there is mention of the creation of “Gente Nueva” in 1984 which I’d never heard of before.

A team of Regnum Christi youth in Mexico City founds “Gente Nueva” (New People), an organization that aims to promote human values among young people. It was the first apostolate in the Movement which was founded by lay people. It quickly grew, expanding to other cities and countries.


Perhaps it’s just a Mexican entity? And was anything ever really initiated by lay people without express direction from the Legion? The point here is not to flog the dead horse, but to note once again that the entire question of financial impropriety and cultishness was never admitted. Still, I would simply say to new recruits to consider carefully that the remaining Legionaries lack healthy self-knowledge, and repentance for complicity in the cover-up of Maciel’s deeds has never been manifest.

Are there other things in that historical outline that raise red flags for readers? It is curious that they claim that they had no mission until Pope Pius XII insisted “that the new religious congregation must contribute to the formation of Catholic leaders, especially in Latin America.” Convenient, to say the least.