I seem to be getting some new readers for the Regnum Christi and Legion of Christ posts, so I wanted to explain, once again, why I’m blogging on these topics.
I know and respect a lot of people involved in these groups. When the Maciel news hit back in 2009, I was completely flummoxed – I tried to ask friends in RC about it, and they met all inquiries with a stony wall of serenity and a few words culled from Legion press releases. It seemed out of character for people who, in other discussions of religion and politics, are smart, funny, passionate and quick to think through implications for larger issues.
Time passed, more news came out, and my friends remained ‘serene.’ So I started researching the group and discussing it on line. And eventually, I started blogging about it.
Maciel conned a vast swath of American Catholics, not just the ones who joined his group. Richard Neuhaus got conned. Mary Anne Glendon got conned. Patrick Madrid got conned. Scott and Kimberly Hahn got conned. Heck, even Servant of God Father John Hardon, SJ got conned.
I got conned. I never joined, but I took the claims about the Legion and Regnum Christi at face value. If I’d run across them in college, I probably would have been set afire, dropped everything, and run off to join the 3gf. If I’d run across them a few years from now, when I will be looking for alternatives to the Girl Scouts, I would have enrolled my daughters in Challenge and tried to get my husband to enroll the boys in Conquest.
Basically, I was saved by timing. My friends, the people who have given many hours and much money to the building of Maciel’s kingdom, joined because, at the time, with the information available, it looked like the right thing to do.
We now know that the “Kingdom of Christ” was not what it claimed to be, that it was built on lies. But many of us on the outside still have friends on the inside. And they’re still ‘serene.’ So we pray, like St. Monica did when her son was trapped in a lie. And we write and we think and discuss and then write some more, hoping that justice will be done, that our friends will be freed and healed, and that next time a conman disguised as a saint comes along, we'll be ready.