Monday, August 16, 2010

Protecting your Daughter from The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women

Why you shouldn’t allow your daughter to become a Regnum Christi ‘Consecrated Woman.’


1. They’re not actually ‘consecrated women.’

They are not consecrated virgins. The Catechism tells us that “Consecrated Virgins” are
"Virgins who, committed to the holy plan of following Christ more closely, are consecrated to God by the diocesan bishop according to the approved liturgical rite, are betrothed mystically to Christ, the Son of God, and are dedicated to the service of the Church."462 By this solemn rite (Consecratio virginum), the virgin is "constituted . . . a sacred person, a transcendent sign of the Church's love for Christ, and an eschatological image of this heavenly Bride of Christ and of the life to come.”(923)”
Regnum Christi Consecrated Women do not participate in this rite. They do not make vows before a bishop.  They are not actually 'consecrated' in any real sense.

They are not religious sisters. The ‘consecration’ they are making is on par with a consecration to Mary or the Sacred Heart of Jesus. It should be for devotional puposes only. But, in practice,

2. The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women live in imitation of religious sisters, yet with none of the protections of religious life.

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women lack a sufficient discernment period. Most religious orders require a period of mutual discernment followed by postulancy and than novitiate.

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women lack the protections of normal religious life. Normal religious life is a contract between the sister and her order. The sister has a responsibility to her community, but the community has an obligation to feed, clothe and educate her, and to care for her in sickness and old age. Regnum Christi Consecrated Women have none of the guarantees. They can be sent home at any time, for any reason. They exist outside of canon law and so do not have the protections of canon law.

Regnum Christi Consecrated Women lack a clear rule. During the CDF’s investigation of the Legion of Christ, the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women discovered that most of the ‘rules’ they were living under had never been approved by the Vatican.

3. The Vatican is about to launch a Visitation of the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women.

Their status within the Church and their relationship to the Legion of Christ is irregular. Girls who join today have no idea what the group will look like in 5 years.

4. The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women were founded by an evil man for a sinful purpose.

As a result of the CDF investigation, The Vatican has declared Fr. Marcial Maciel, the founder of the Legion of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement, to be a man without scruples or religious sentiment. He was also a criminal, a child molestor, a drug addict and an embezzler. He is not a good model for a community of religious women, no matter what their canonical status.

Maciel founded the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women so that they could work in dioceses where the local bishop had banned the Legion of Christ. This is why he insisted that they remain lay women. However, the laity are required to obey the commands of their local bishops. So these women, when they work in a diocese where the Legion is banned, are actually committing a sin of disobedience. This disobedience is encouraged and applauded by their superiors. This is NOT an appropriate life for a young woman interested in serving Christ.

What should you do if your daughter insists on joining the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women?

If she’s under 18, forbid her. Do not let her have contact with the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women, especially for “Formation Dialogue” or as “spiritual directors” They do not care about her long term spiritual well-being, they only want to get her into their group.

Withdraw your daughter from Challenge and EYCD. Encourage her to join activities with people who DON’T have an ulterior motive. It doesn’t matter how ‘nice’ the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women seem. Mormons are nice too, but you wouldn’t let your daughter seek religious advice from them.

Take your daughter on retreat with actual an actual religious order. Many good orders offer teenage girl or even mother/daughter retreats. Many girls are drawn to the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women because they have no experience with authentic religious life in the Catholic Church.

Check out the CMSWR and find a community near you that offers retreats. Encourage her to investigate many different orders, so that she can better discern her vocation.

Have her read the Vatican Communique and as much information about the life of Maciel and the treatment of Regnum Christi Consecrated Women that she can handle at her age. She needs to know what she is asking to join. The Life After RC website has some good links for more information.

Pray with and for her. Try to take her to daily Mass and weekly adoration. Give her time to sit quietly with Jesus.

Get her thinking about college. Most orders won’t take a girl before she’s 21 or 22. If she thinks she’s called to religious life, she should think about her education. Take her on college visits. Some of the lure of the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women’s academy might be due to the boarding-school atmosphere- it’s pretty glamorous for a teenaged girl. Give her something better to daydream about.

Pray like crazy.

If your daughter is over 18 and wants to join the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women, you have fewer options. Chances are, by the time she mentions it to you she’s already been sucked in and made up her mind.

Try to get her to read information. Pray. Know that her mail, email and phone calls will be monitored once she moves in with the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women.

Contact the local bishop and see if he has any resources that can help you.

Write the CDF and the papal delegate. Have her read the communiqué.

See if you can get her to wait, at least a few weeks or a few months to ‘tie up loose ends.’ Groups like the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women succeed in recruiting because they don’t give the target a chance to pray, reflect and listen to the Holy Spirit before extracting lifelong ‘promises.’ If you can get her to wait, and to hear testimony from ex-members, you might just save her years of pain and heartache.

Your daughter is in a perilous position. Pray for her constantly. Ask the intercession of Mary, and for the protection of St. Michael and her guardian angel. If you act with love and wisdom now, you may save her from a terrible mistake.

25 comments:

Master Shami said...

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a consecrated virgin said...

Thanks for writing this post!

I am a “real” consecrated virgin, and I’ve been reading your blog for a while, but never commented before. I recently wrote a post on my own blog about the distinctions between forms of consecrated life that are officially recognized by the Church, and lay movements where some of the members choose to live a lifestyle similar to that of canonically consecrated persons.

I thought about writing a special section or an additional post about the Regnum Christi “consecrated women,” since they’re so often confused with consecrated virgins. But eventually I decided not to—I’ve never had any personal connection or contact with Regnum Christi, so I didn’t feel really qualified to comment on their situation too extensively on my blog.

But, you’ve given me something helpful to link to here! Thanks for providing this synopsis.

Anonymous said...

Your slander and liable of the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi is very interesting. Is there no pro bono advocate out there to help them?

I am amazed at your perfect knowledge of the interior motivations of another person including the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi. So you have a blog, why would anyone read your rant and believe you have anything important to say?

Why do you attack a group within the Catholic Church who are trying to live a life centered around Christ? Do you want the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi to follow the destructive path of so many other women religious?

Liberal feminists, male and female, have destroyed the religious vocations of too many Catholic women. What is your real motivation? Are there too many religious vocations for you? Do you feel inadequate because you are not? God loves you anyway.

Why is it necessary for @a consecrated virgin to say she is "real"? Do you wish to destroy every vocation to religious life or only the ones you don't like? Long live Queen Deidre. Oops, I'm sorry, maybe you want to be the King.

Unfortunately, you forgot to mention that the Consecrated Men and Women of Regnum Christi asked for the Visitation. You also forgot to mention that they welcome the Visitation and are eager to cooperate with the Visitator and his recommendations / changes.

I'm sorry your rant did not include the current Visitation of the Women Religious in America and some of their shameful responses to the authority of the Vatican. It would be inconvenient to tell the whole truth?

Here's to another one-sided, self-motivated blog rant. I pray for you.

-They'll know we are Christians by our Love.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Anon-- Your comment reveals one of the HUGE problems with how the Regnum Christi Consecrated Women market themselves to girls and parents.

In the eyes of the Church, they are NOT a religious vocation. They are NOT religious sisters. They are NOT consecrated Virgins.

They are simply lay women who have chosen to make promises to each other, make up rules, and live in community.

In the eyes of the Church, they have no more standing than a Catholic Sorority.

YET they are told they are 'Brides of Christ,' that this is their Vocation, that they have made binding promises and that if they leave they're turning their back on God's call.

In short, they have been LIED TO. If your daughter is actually called to the consecrated life, let her investigate consecrated virginity: (http://sponsa-christi.blogspot.com/ has some GREAT posts on this!)

Take her to investigate ACTUAL RELIGIOUS COMMUNITIES. In the post, I linked to the CSMWR -- all their members wear habits, put the Eucharist at the center of their daily life, and are living authentic religious life in keeping with Catholic tradition.

The Regnum Christi Consecrated Women are NOT religous. They are Lay. They were founded by Father Maciel --his OWN ORDER has admitted that he was a pedophile, sodomite, plagiarist, embezzling fraud. He is not a good model for a religious community.

If you check out the list of communities on CSMWR, you'll find Franciscans, Dominicans, Little Sisters of the Poor, and countless other communities-- some big, some small, some missionaries, some contemplatives, some involved in education, some involved in healthcare, all deeply centered on the Eucharist and committed to providing witness of Christ's love for us!

There is no reason for anyone to participate in a sham version of the consecrated life when there are so many authentic options!!!!

Jeannette said...

Anonymous, Please look at www.consecratedvirginity.org for a look at what the Catholic Church means when She says "consecrated virgin". The 3gfs are not "consecrated" as far as the Church is concerned. None of us is claiming that they're not well-meaning, but one of the sins that Marcial Maciel committed was to set up the 3gf and 3gm system and fool the (very) young women into thinking they were consecrated in a way that's superior to the traditional forms. Many, many 3gfs report that they thought they were "consecrated", when all they have done is make private promises after only a few short weeks of "discerment"; they make commitments at very young ages, compared to more legitimate forms of consecrated life. Yes, the 3gfs requested a visitation; wouldn't that indicate that they recognize the problems?

Consecrated said...

I am a "consecrated" woman in Regnum Christi, and I must say that you are very right in many of the things that you say. Thanks be to God I have been able to see the light and am in the process of changing the "formatting" that I received. For some reason I feel that God wants me to remain here to try to change things from the inside. The visitation will be the first step to be able to see everything from the perspective of the Church, insure that our consecration be included in cannon law and that we be protected by the Church. I ask you to pray for me and for us as we go through this process so that we may clean out all that we received from Fr. Maciel and learn to follow God with purity of intention leading people to experience the love of Christ without asking anything in return.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Consecrated -- I'll pray for you -- you have a long, difficult task ahead.

As a practical note, you and your sisters who want to regularize your relationship with Canon Law and the Church might want to explore other communities to see how they set things up, handle spirituality and day to day life, etc.

Since you guys are active, rather than conteplative, some of the Dominican and Franciscan orders might be up your alley--I'm sure if you ask for info they'd be happy to oblige-- and maybe you guys can divide up the research so it's not too much for any one person!

The link to the CSMWR is a good place to start--you can check out their websites and see what communities have missions similar to the 3gFs....

Then you can ask about their rules and lifestyles and how they handle things like spiritual direction, visits home, free time, etc.

I'll pray for you! It's a big task, but you and all the other 3gF deserve the benefits and protections of actual consecrated status!

(You guys may also want to study up on how religious communities form and get official recognition.. I know the Sisters of Life in NY is a pretty new community, as are the Dominican Sisters of Mary and the Eucharist up in Michigan--so those might also be good groups to contact...they can walk you through the primary steps!)

Anonymous said...

May I point out that consecrated virgins (unless they are religious institute members) do not make vows before the Bishop? They are consecrated through his ministry and thus become brides of Christ.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Thanks for the clarification! Here's a quote from the Sponsa-Christi blog (linked in comments above) that explains it:

" Where religious vows are essentially promises that an individual actively makes to God, consecration to a life of virginity is a solemn blessing which a woman passively receives from God through the ministry of the bishop. (This is somewhat similar to the way in which a bishop consecrates a Church building, setting it aside for a sacred purpose.) Because of this, the consecration itself is permanent and can never be dispensed."

Question-- can a consecrated virgin move to another diocese, or is she bound to the one she was consecrated in?

a consecrated virgin said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
a consecrated virgin said...

Deirdre,

Sorry about the deleted comment—there was a spelling mistake in my last post.

It’s actually kind of a debatable question as to whether or in what circumstances a consecrated virgin could switch dioceses, since Canon Law doesn’t give any specifics on this. As far as I can tell, this is one of the many things that are still determined by individual dioceses.

My own understanding of my vocation—which I believe is presently my archdiocese’s formal understanding of consecrated virginity—is that in becoming a consecrated virgin in a particular place, a woman takes on a deep spiritual commitment to the diocese for which she is consecrated, and thus should only move to another diocese if she has a surpassingly good reason for doing so. In my mind, this is similar to the way in which a diocesan priest is called to be dedicated to his diocese of incardination.

I personally would only consider moving for 1. reasons of absolute dire necessity (e.g., if I were to develop a serious health problem where I truly needed to spend most of the year in a warmer climate); or 2. if it were the manifest will of God that I go somewhere else (such as if another bishop, with my own bishop’s approval, specifically invited me to move to his diocese for a particular purpose.)

On the other hand, it wasn’t a problem for me to spend the better part of two years in another part of the country while I was studying for my Master’s degree, since I had every intention of returning home. But even when I was away, I still made a concerted effort to pray for the bishops, priests, seminarians, and the people of my archdiocese on a daily basis.

Hope this helps. And thanks for linking my blog!

KTFilm said...

My daughter was 'sucked' in to Regnum Christi and was completely turned into a 'Stepford Wife'. She was brilliant and had a medical scholarship to the University of Dayton, which she all too easily gave up! She was 'wined and dined' by group members heavily prior to her joining. In fact, it started in high school when she went on a mission trip to Mexico. One of the biggest problems is recruitment. This covert operation preys on young girls who are located in impoverished areas of the world and of this country. Their basis is a promise of undying love and a better life. It's called love-bombing and it is a vile tactic that many cults use to gain a 'legion' of followers. The purpose of Regnum Christi is to recruit as many members as possible and beg their families and friends for money. Where does the money go? Rome!

While my daughter in particular does not come from an impoverished background, she was preyed upon so she too could be molded into the perfect RC member and go out and recruit members.

The motives of the leaders of this group are as sick as Maciel and cannot think for themselves. They are there to serve their superiors and must be obedient or face humiliation at the hands of those superiors.

Their biggest crime is that against the family and friends of these 'lay' women. They are not allowed to visit their homes more than once a year. Their email is scrutinized and snail mail is not allowed to be sealed prior to examination by these superiors. Additionally, anything sent to these women is not allowed to be opened by the intended receiver, it must be opened by again a superior.

I knew when I first met two consecrated women prior to my daughter being 'kidnapped' that this organization was wrong and did not have her best interest in mind.

God help you if you have an emergency or a death in the family. My mother died of breast cancer two years ago and my daughter was not allowed to come home until after my mother died.

Every single word that I have said is completely 100% true. I have seen this place in Providence, RI and frankly it was like being in an insane asylum! All that I have spoken of, I have experienced for myself.

There is nothing that this group has to offer my daughter, the other members or the young girls currently being recruited that they cannot live without.

It is my goal to get my daughter and the other women OUT of this brainwashing, soul sucking, manufacturing facility!

I do fear that the Pope will not disband this subversive cult, let's face it, money talks! I hope I am wrong.......

KTFilm said...
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KTFilm said...
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KTFilm said...
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Deirdre Mundy said...

KT - What's really heartbreaking is that if your daughter was called to be a doctor AND called to religious life, there are many orders that would have encouraged her to use her scholarship, become the best doctor she could, and be a religious sister as well!

She could have used her talents to help the poor, the sick, the suffering. She could have been part of an authentic religious community. But now?

It's almost like the 3gf exist to KEEP these women from sharing their gifts with the world. How many little ones haven't been able to get medical care because your daughter got sucked into the group?

(And to the inevitable complainer: There are many good religious orders who even (gasp) wear habits and adore the eucharist and pray the rosary that run hospitals here and abroad. And for most orders, if you have a scholarship, they encourage you to USE it. After all, they have to pay for your education anyway, so it's good stewardship to let you use your scholarship!)

I think the AP piece this weekend might be the beginning of the end, though. Most people didn't realize how the 3gf lived. And I'm sure there will be an outcry from religious sisters as they make clear that this is NOT what religious life is.

Anonymous said...

I have two brothers on the Legionaries of Christ and I am going to join the Consecrated Women of Regnum Christi as soon as I finish school. From what my brother say they are doing everything that the Vatican has ask them to do. Why hide that from your blog? You are not only hurting yourself but you are hurting others too. Why bash Fr. Maciel everyone is not perfect. I bet you expect everyone to be perfect but yourself.

Deirdre Mundy said...

Anon-- I'm not really "hiding" behind my blog. This Blog's not anonymous. Anyone with a phone book can find me.

And no, I don't expect people to be perfect, and I'm a far cry from perfect myself. I DO expect founders of religious orders to NOT be devoid of religious sentiment. If you read the Vatican Communique on Maciel, you'll see that he's far from "not perfect." And, taken together with his sex crimes, his embezzlement, his plagiarism, his abuse of authority and the trust of youth.... well...... This is not a man whose ideas on the religious life should be emulated.

I'm very sorry that you and your brothers are caught up in this so deeply. I hope the coming changes to the 3gf will provide relief and freedom for those within. If you do feel called to religious life, I'd urge you to investigate other communities as well. I'll pray for you and your brothers, and that the Holy Spirit grant you the wisdom and understanding to carefully consider the path you've decided to follow.

-Deirdre

Kimberly K. said...

"What is Consecrated Life in Regnum Christi?
Consecrated life in Regnum Christi is a new lifestyle in response to Christ’s call to his chosen ones: “Come and follow me.” Our spiritual life is built around the Movement’s five great loves: Christ, the Church, the Pope, the Blessed Virgin Mary, and souls. We live a deeply Christ-centered spirituality, where Christ is the center, standard, and source of our lives and our happiness. We seek an authentic love for the Church and faithful adherence to the Holy Father, the Vicar of Christ on earth. We have a close devotion to Our Lady, consisting primarily in the imitation of her virtues. Finally, we dedicate all our time and energy to the salvation of souls."

The above was a quote for Regnum Christi's own website. They do not claim to be consecrated virgins, rather, they claim to be consecrated women. They are not trying to be "fake religious sisters." They are women trying to etch out a vocation that fits them perfectly and, maybe, for each woman involved, their vocation is to a new kind of life that finds it's home between being a religious and a lay person.

In reference to the founder, people make mistakes. But does the mistake of one person (albeit, an important one) really undo all the good of something he created? Also, if the Legionaries themselves are willing to admit to their founder's wrong doing, do you truly think they are seeking to follow in his footsteps.

All I see here is a group of young women trying to follow Jesus and serve their Church. I am currently in the discernment process and would not count Regnum Christi out. It is really disheartening to see such strong hatred and distrust being aimed at such dedicated women just because their version of dedication isn't one people are used to seeing.

Anonymous said...

You are all pyschotic.. No god exists. Its an excuse. Frow up.

Anonymous said...

This is why religion is such a man-made farce. Personal interpretations of 'God' by some misguided fool that is followed by a multitude of mindless sheep, who are unable to think for themselves, and exploited shamelessly with the promise of a 'better' life after death.

And it has been my experience that people who don't pander to any type of religious beliefs tend to be less hypocritical than those that do.

Curtis Loftis said...

RC Consecrated women actually make their vows in Rome before the Pope. The Pope trumps any of the Bishops in America, many of whom are so far removed from Rome they have lost touch with the early church.

Curtis Loftis said...

I love how agnostics and atheists who commented above are always such spineless jellyfish they will not give their names.

Elizabeth said...

Deidre,

You have posted libel. As a member of the organization you mention, which is a legal entity, I am able to sue you because I am a private citizen as well. You need to remove this post on a variety of counts. You are being watched as to what you say on this matter. Thank you.


D. Carl said...

"I am able to sue you....You are being watched." Boy, that sure smacks of the Spirit-filled love of Christ, doesn't it? The malign spirit of Fr. Maciel apparently persists... (And it would be genuinely interesting, in light of the threats from you and your "watchers," to hear exactly how you think anything on this page comes close to meeting the legal elements of the tort of libel.)

About two decades ago, as a new Catholic convert and young professional, I was wined and dined by RC members whose sales pitch culminated in an invitation-only evening event with Fr. Maciel, who was visiting D.C. They were in such thrall to him ("He's a living saint," was a frequent refrain that, even then, I found theologically odd) that I will admit to having high expectations of pearls of spiritual wisdom from a Spirit-led priest. What he gave instead was a tedious and rambling screed against ... Freemasonry. No nourishing insights about the mystery of the Trinity, our Lord Jesus Christ, our Lady. His talk was just a diatribe against the Masons that -- even allowing for their nefarious role in Mexican persecution of the Church -- seemed strangely out of touch, with no connection to the workings of God's grace in the world, or the spiritual needs or devotional interests of his audience. I recall being surprised at the overall lack of spiritual content in his remarks.

Afterwards, I was granted a private meeting w/ Fr. Maciel (during which I opened up to him about familial situation that had been weighing on my mind back then). He didn't say or do anything untoward or that hinted at the crimes that would be uncovered only decades afterward, but he also didn't have anything particularly insightful or empathetic to add. The entire experience left me feeling profoundly cold, and the insular exclusivity of the Legionaries gave me the heebie-jeebies. My sense at the time was, I've just been received into the *Catholic* Church, why would I want to be rushed off into some clubby side-room? I had seen enough minor cults of personality in the fundamentalist evangelicalism of my youth not to be interested, thanks be to God.