Wednesday, March 24, 2010

To the Mothers of Regnum Christi

I know you think that Regnum Christi helped you become the Catholic you are today. But it didn’t, really. You joined RC because you wanted to deepen your faith, because you were looking for a chance to learn and a chance to serve. You already had the desire.

If RC hadn’t been handy to meet that desire, God would have provided another way. You would have found the books you needed, the friends you longed for and the retreats you wanted.  You were already praying for the grace to know and love Christ more deeply, and that’s one of those prayers He can’t ignore.

You didn’t need Maciel and his warped methodology, but he needed YOU. He needed you to provide cover, so people would think he was a saint. After all, he attracted so many young Catholics on fire with love of the Lord! He needed you to provide money, to fund his luxurious double life. He needed you to provide labor, so he could build his empire.

Most of all, he needed you to provide your sons. He needed access to victims. He needed young minds that he could mold into copies of himself. He needed those boys. And he needed to convince you to give them over to his care.

It makes me shudder when I think of it—all those mothers, striving after holiness, sending their sons into the arms of Maciel. All those mothers urging their sons to hang out with the ‘super-holy’ Legionaries instead of those plain old diocesan priests. All those mothers sending their sons away, because Maciel urged them to ‘be generous with God,’ even as every fiber of their being screamed that the boys should stay home.

You didn’t need him. But he needed your sweet, innocent sons.

I am unbelievably thankful that all of this came out while my sons are still tiny. Because I wasn’t on the ball. I wasn’t vigilant. I believed the spin. And I would have let my sons join Conquest when they asked. I would have let them join EYCD. I would have let them go to Legion seminary, because heck, their vocation is between them and God, right?

My sons have been spared. Many sons were not. You didn’t need Maciel to learn how to be a good Catholic. But he needed your sons.

Peter Vere at Catholic Light has a Novena going on for the Legionaries. It seems like a good night to pray, doesn’t it?


SO DONE said...

... and don't forget the daughters!! He needed both sons and daughters to build his empire!

Nat said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Nat said...


Thanks for cutting through all of the spin and saying exactly what so many good hearts need to hear.

I am writing the last 2 posts of my current series for Thursday and Friday and will close the series with your plea.

Anonymous said...

This is a very insightful commentary but unfortunately the mothers who most need to see it won't...they are firmly planted in the movement and still refuse to read anything that doesn't support the legion. As a former RC, I recently spoke with some friends who are still in and they were even unaware of the new "family" Maciel fathered or the claims of abuse made by his own sons. I have heard the statement "RC made me what I am today" many times from friends and I am increasingly disturbed by how much this devotion smacks of idolatry. To go a step further, and in light of the pedophilia scandals now gripping the church, I have even come to question how many true vocations the Legion has produced. Its' methods are so similar to the well-intended but misguided direction employed by so many earnest families in the 1950's and 60's who pushed their children into vocations. We are seeing the woeful results of that behavior today.

Debbie said...

There are plenty of "handy" ways God can bring His children closer. Do you really think He just chooses whatever is the pun"handiest?"

Emily said...

I generally only follow the blog from a distance, but I wanted to add to the comments today.

1. "If RC hadn’t been handy to meet that desire, God would have provided another way..."

How do you KNOW that? I agree it is a great opinion. I understand God can save an individual that has never heard of Christ, but that is different then living a fully Christian life. Maybe God would have saved me, but my life would have been a disaster. And what of my family?

Maybe your comment is true in individual cases where the person had access to other groups. But how do you KNOW? How do you know that God did not choose this path as the path to bring about my conversion.

2. "You were already praying for the grace to know and love Christ more deeply, and that’s one of those prayers He can’t ignore..."

I can honestly say that I was not praying or looking for it. I was a poorly educated catholic. I did not live much of what the Church teaches, and understood even less. I became involved by "chance", through an apostolate. My desire and love for Christ and the Church was nurished and grew because of all those talks and retreats.

I agree that this transformation did not occure as a result of direct contact with MM (I attended few of his conferences and did not slavishly read his written works) but rather via LC priests. But they were formed by his methodology, no?

Whether I stay in RC or not (as a result of the horror of MM's actions and the lack of trust the upper LC leadership) is a different question for a different day. But in my individual case the change occured during my time in RC and because of the what I heard and lived. It seems to be a diservice to say otherwise, IMHO.


Anonymous said...

Emily, asks "how do you know" that God would have provided another way?

I will quote my favorite Legionary to respond. He told us many many times that God nevers stops looking for us. Never.

Try to think it through. Do you believe God loves you? Do you believe he wants what's best for you and your family? Do you think he would only give you one chance to find Him?

If you are a parent, you know the fierce love you have for your children. You would never give up on them! I know I wouldn't give up on mine. And yet, compared to the perfect love of God, our loving Father, our parental love is small! We love as best we can, but our love is far inferior to His!

Beyond the experience of RC/LC, God has blessed us with something far greater. He has blessed us with his son, Jesus, with the Church, with the gospels, the sacraments, and with the catechism of the Church. We know what we need to do to live a righteous Christian life; He has told us and keeps on telling us.

I hope you don’t hang onto RC because without it, God would have left you behind. He would NEVER stop revealing himself to you. Ever.

In the meantime, I urge you to consider the victims of Maciel, who to this day have never received any acknowledgment from the Legion for their suffering. Their accusations were denied, publicly and officially by the Legion. My heart cries out for justice for these men, and I cannot comprehend why the Legion refuses to reach out and bind their wounds.

“…as long as you did it to the least of these, you did it to me…”

What will you say on judgment day, Emily, if God asks you why you stood with the Legion, who so grossly disregarded this basic instruction of our Catholic faith?

Emily said...

Anonymous @10:19

Thank you for your reflections. I wanted to respond with a few comments in return.

You said, "Do you think he would only give you one chance to find Him?"

You are correct is saying that he does not give us one chance. In my case he did not. It was I who said no to him, for years, until one day he snuck in (yes, via RC) when I was not paying attention. The question in not whether he would have given me more chances, of course he would have. The question is whether I would have continued saying no. It is a real possibility because I had been saying no for years. There are lots of people in the world who just keep on saying no. (As you can tell, my meditation today was on the yes of Jesus and Mary in contrast to Adam and Eve and at times, us.)

Why did I say yes that time (via RC) and not to the others, only God knows. It was a combination of factors - human, spiritual, etc.

The original post is a bit too simplified for me and so I am throwing out these comments.

You are right that no one should hang on to RC out of fear of loosing God. I don't intend to stay or leave because of fear. I don't intend to leave or stay because of the victims (don't get me wrong - I loath what took place and I am not minimizing their suffering). It is the spirituality-methodology and the actions of the upper leadership that will break my ties.

First you have to say it is either from God or it is not, either it leads to holiness or it does not. I guess I need to trust the Church on that one.

Once that is clear then you have to decide whether it is for you or not.

Perhaps God only intended me to discover him (and all the richness of our faith that you mentioned above) via RC, but now he wants me to continue growing via other groups. It's possible.

I think I have to wait to see what the Pope has to say... It will make it easier if he comes out strongly against...

Anonymous said...

We KNOW God would have provided another way because we have FAITH. Plain and simple.

I concur with the above poster wholeheartedly. Would God have allowed His Only-Begotten Son to have been so horribly abused at the hands of men for the salvation of each of us as individuals (He died for YOU and for ME, not just for some blurry vague group of humans). Would that same God in turn only give us a ONE shot deal? Not only a one-shot deal, but a one-shot deal founded by a child-molesting liar, an order of priests who still haven't provided any kind of restitution for the harm they inflicted on the victims of this man for decades by calling them liars and workers of Satan?

If your son had been sodomized and forced to masturbate Maciel, if he had tried to sound the alarm and been vilified as a liar and an enemy of the Church by Maciel's priests, how would you feel about those continuing to express gratitude to Maciel and his priests for all the great "good" they had done in their lives?

Not to be harsh, but you should be just be darn thankful for anything good that happened to you despite the evil perpetrated by this group. Just like we don't express gratitude to serial killers and cult-leaders for any of the good they did in their lives (and EVERYONE does something good at some point, because none of us is pure evil), it is highly unbecoming for Catholics to continue to express gratitude to this group of priests that has so uncharitably and egregiously harmed so many for so long. And still professes it is the answer to the Church's ills. When in reality, it is one of the deepest and ugliest boils that has arisen on the face of our Mother Church in the entire history of it. What other order of priests has the claim to fame of being founded by a sodomizer, womanizer, liar, and a embezzling fraud, with norms and constitutions specifically designed to allow this man and his cronies to keep getting away with it for over six decades?

I honestly never thought such a thing would come to pass in my lifetime. Boy was I ever naive! Talk about a scandal. Even now the Church continues to refer to "conspiracies" and "enemies" trying to besmirch the hierarchy. The hierarchy besmirched itself and became it's own biggest enemy by covering up and allowing this kind of thing to go on for decades(centuries?)). They still don't seem to get that what has so much of the world outraged isn't that there are priests who are perverts (because we all know there are perverts in every walk of life, unfortunately), but that there was a systematic shuffling of these known pervert priests and a consistent effort to keep such news from public knowledge (at the cost of the safety of the children)so that the hierarchy could maintain it's power and prestige, under the guise of avoiding "scandal".

I still love the Catholic Church, but I am deeply ashamed of the behavior of so many of the men running it. They have made a laughingstock of us and have lost their moral authority because of decades of cover-up and smearing of the victims. Maciel just happens to be the most glaring example of it. Praise be to God that what was hidden in the dark for so long is finally being exposed. Now let's just pray for leaders in our Church to start taking a stand for the victims. And not just with a bit of lip-service here and there.

Anonymous said...

This is to Emily--one thought that comes to me is the parable image of the seed cast onto different grounds. Yes, the seeds of your faith took root while in RC, and those are roots that you can nourish and cultivate, but maybe you are called to transplant the roots of your faith to deeper and richer soil. And in my experience, a wise farmer can do just fine in the middle of the world. But if you keep them rooted in the LC/RC soil, they will be subject to some very harsh conditions that could poison and trample the roots.

--A sister in Christ

Emily said...

Thank you anonymous (sister in Christ)! I understand your analogy. My mom has a green thumb.

Anonymous said...

Studying Maciel possibly could help The Church and yes many mothers too , to recognise better what leads to the making of such abusive , evil characters !

Happened to read that Maciel's mother was a pious woman (idolised by him !) and that the father was abusive !

Could it have been that under the pretext of false piety , she did not deal with the evil and righful hatred of such evil , in an honset and courageous way and thus led to Maciele taking in the
lie that evil can be condoned, might even be advantageous !

Mother Church too , her sons, in many occasions , for fear of giving more scandal and from the false selfserving laxity of courage and real love for the innocent seemingly fell into the same trap !

Again, good for many of us to be reminded that recognising and hating evil and doing what we need to do about same is good , as well as pleading for mercy on behalf of all who are under such evil and for Fatherly protection for ourselves too !

The Church moving into a closer Father relationship , in and through our Lord is also a possible crititcal need so that false fathers would not lead one astray !
Our Lord reveals to us The Father
and giving him such honor and glory , recognisisng His Oneness with The Father , thus alleviating confusion esp.among men and priests -let us hope such would be some of the good fruits of this painful and shameful events !

Anonymous said...

I know several cradle Catholics who were not catechized well and were living a mediocre life - "good people" maybe but not on fire for God. These women in various circumstances through various means became involved in Protestant Bible studies, groups or services. Through them, each had her faith awakened and seemed to understand more about salvation and certainly became more committed to Christ. Unfortunately, one of these women couldn't let go of the erroring group because she credited the particular group for her newfound love of Christ and her growth in understanding many truths of the Christianity and even Catholism to an extent. And she did grow in understanding of many of the mysteries of the faith and learn how Christians should live. Sadly, she could not understand that in order for her to continue to grow authentically, she needed to let go. She cling as if the Protestants are her savior in some way because of the truths that she heard from them (and she did hear some).
The others, aknowledged that God helped them grow in faith and love at a particular time in their life - and they at the same time acknowlegded the errors of the group. They kept the enthusiasm for God and continued to grow - leaving the erroring groups behind and pressing forward toward Christ.
The Regnum/LC organization has errors which are not being addressed and it is much less clear than the above examples because of its insidiousness and its integration into the Church.
Emily, the Pope will not denounce the Regnum Chrsiti Movement. It has been cleverly designed and doesn't overtly teach errors usually. Thus, it may print and speak the correct doctrine and yet the methodolgy, and the malformation and sometimes hidden traits are not Catholic in that they are utilitarian and can be abusive in very intimate ways. This type of methodology - they do not seem to be aknowledging, so it will continue as the undercurrent and it is not from God. The Regnum Ch/ LC system so designed to copy down correct doctrine, and then use human and spiritual means to hook and motivate people is amazing. But this amazing system has a methodolgy which trains for duplicity, utilitarianism, cruelty, and spiritual, psychological abuse ... it is not acceptable to God no matter how hidden are those things to well meaning people like yourself. And those who stay in who are not bound by cannon law are responsibe for enabling it and preventing those who are bound from rehabilitation.

Anonymous said...

Another more hypothetical example - but I have seen very similar things ... :
A girl meets a girlfriend or boy and is introduced to the circle of friends and family who are very warm and demonstrative of their Catholism. She falls in love with the shown warmth and the enthusiasm for attending to Catholic customs and they even encourage her to the sacrament of confession more seriously than she had ever been. The funerals and weddings are so devout. She also enjoys the social aspect of these new warm family and friends - It seem like the fullness of life. Big families, some mysterious singles and attention to holy things such as the Rosary. But then she finds out that this family is involved in bad things. They have acknowledged some of the past, but not the present. It is very hidden.
Should she stay and contribute by being an innocent one there. She could do lots of good works for the Church and pray thus giving credence to the family and circle of friends. Soon more of her friends would join this group based on seeing her example and her testimony. She would go to all the good things and remain ignorant of the bad. In the meantime, because of the bad in the group and the malformation some people would be destroyed but they would be gotten rid of so she could happily not have to face that fact for quite a while.
Leaving this group behind, does not mean in the least that she would be leaving the Catholic faith.

Anonymous said...

I have met girls who were attracted to the authentic good and even show of faith and family values of people involved in organized crime, or other wrong doings. My point is not that Lc is involved in organized crime, but that it is common to be attracted or even changed by the good we experience in bad systems.
It is common for women especially to be confused by this.