Thursday, February 5, 2009

Disappointed, So Far

After promising to do so much earlier, Faith and Family Live has published a reaction to the Fr. Maciel news, here. As you can see, all they have done is link to the National Catholic Register and Zenit; Zenit's article is particularly dismaying in tone, something I'll probably write about tomorrow.

It is mentioned at Faith and Family that the National Catholic Register is their "sister site." It is not mentioned that the Register and Faith and Family are both Legion affiliated, and that Zenit relied heavily on Legion funds at its inception (though the degree to which it is still affiliated with the Legion are difficult to determine; I have been searching for information on the non-profit organization "Innovative Media, Inc." and its president, Antonio Maza, with little success).

Granted, Faith and Family has discussed the fact that their publisher is a Legion of Christ priest. However, it is harder to discover that they are published by Circle Media, which under its "profile" and "affiliations" buttons shows links to the Legionaries of Christ and Regnum Christi website.

Why does this matter? Does it make a difference that Faith and Family is essentially "owned" (as far as I can determine) by the Legion?

Only in this sense: there are a lot of ministries and apostolates owned by the Legion, who are going to be impacted, whether they like it or not, by the latest revelations about Fr. Maciel. The news about Fr. Maciel is not merely "sad news" or a "disappointment" or "hard to understand" or "not appropriate for a priest." It is, in a word, damnable, especially in light of the fact that we're talking about the founder of a religious order, here; one, moreover, who was treated like a living saint by his followers during his life.

And if those groups, ministries, apostolates etc. which are part of the "Movement" don't take steps, right now, to denounce this evil for what it is in no uncertain terms, and stop referring to their founder as a saintly genius who may have turned out to be "a little flawed," then I can tell you in the fullest confidence that within a breathtakingly short period of time the entire Legion will be swept away, and God Himself will do the sweeping.

And that would be a pity, because there are a lot of Legion-Regnum Christi affiliated apostolates out there; not all of them deserve to come to an end. In addition to NCR, Faith and Family, and (possibly, to some degree) Zenit some of them are as follows:

Circle Press
Challenge (girls' club)
Christian Life
K4J (Kids' Bible school)
Leadership Training Program
Mission Hope
Mission Youth
Pilgrim Queen of the Family
Pure Fashion
Vocation Action Network (Center for Integral Formation) (the "private" version of Circle Press for RC members, currently featuring a volume of "Mama Maurita's" letters among other books)

and there could be more, but that's all I have time for right now.

I'm listing them because it's not always obvious that these programs are Legion affiliates; many of them come from what's called "Mission Network," which itself just has a small "sponsored by Regnum Christi" tag at the bottom of the web pages. On the "FAQ" page we learn that Mission Network is an "outreach" of Regnum Christi.

I've heard from people whose kids joined a Challenge or Conquest club under the impression that it was simply a parish activity, only to discover the Legion connection later; I've seen moms distribute info on a K4J Bible school program without any idea that K4J is sold by the Legion. The very number of programs which operate under Legion auspices makes it hard to know that some new prayer group or ministry starting up at your parish or in your town is a Legion program, unless you go out and look for the information.

But people are starting to connect these sorts of dots, and will not be very inclined to sign their children up for programs run by people who still keep pictures of "Nuestro Padre" up on the walls, and buy and read "Mama Maurita's" letters in order to discuss her possible canonization. I have not been at all impressed with the official Legion responses coming out so far, and if the Regnum Christi response is going to be vague expressions of sadness and links to the official LC statements, then perhaps it's best if people who are clearly much more horrified by Fr. Maciel's conduct than they appear to be cut off any involvement with them.


Charlotte said...

Interesting....the post on the scandal at Faith & Family live has been updated to 1.) Admit their connection to the LC and 2.) Close off any comments.

LeeAnn said...

I coordinate a K4J Club at my parish. I am not affiliated with Regnum Christi in any way other than buying their materials for use in my parish. I don't receive any training from them nor have I ever been encouraged to check out RC or heard any mention of Fr. Maciel from the K4J folks. I would be sad if the program discontinued because it's a good one with really good children's catechetical materials. I would think it more likely that the folks that run K4J would keep it going independently. But I don't know the details of their financials, whether they are a nonprofit supported by RC or whether they make enough money from K4J subscriptions.

I'm struggling to understand why it seems to you are saying folks should cut off their participation in these groups. Aren't they awfully removed from the influence of the LOC founder? Are you saying my subscription to Faith and Family or my kids' involvement in K4J somehow materially or spiritually supports Fr. Maciel? I don't quite get how that would be possible.

Anonymous said...

Oh, there are many others (no healthy order can be this thinly-spread; more evidence of recruitment at all costs, everywhere):

The Westchester Institute
Altius Foundation
National Consultants for Education (the purposeful secular naming of this one is genius...)
Catholic Youth World Network
Catholic World Mission
Helping Hands Medical Mission

They all come from this RC link page, but some are labeled that they are LC/RC and...others are not.

Also thrown in there is Institute of Psychological Sciences...are they or are they not?

Also, don't they run a college somewhere?

LeeAnn said...

My K4J materials are shipped each month from Catholic Youth World Network.

Charlotte (Matilda) said...

The problem that most people who have either been connected with the LC/RC or have a close loved one who has been connected with them have with participating in children's programs produced by the LC (or children's material being reviewed by LC/RC members) is because of the well documented evidence of psychological abuses/ control tactics used in Legion seminaries and RC groups. Check out the stories on the ReGain network for starters.

The LC is known to start very young with children; taking boys as young as six away from their families and turning them against them because they chose the "weak" vocation of marriage. Teaching young children that the priestly vocation is the highest vocation and that a Legionary priest does not just leave his family, he turns his back on his family.

I have a friend who was in RC and left for the sake of her marriage. She still wanted her son to continue participating in the Conquest Club with his friends and was told by an LC priest, "If you aren't going to give him to us, don't waste our time!"

These allegations have been repeatedly denied and dismissed by the LC/RC just as the ones about Maciel's misconduct. If those are now being proved true, to allow investigation from neutral Vatican officials in order to substantiate the veracity of these other claims would be the honest and just thing to do. Instead, the LC party line seems to be... "Yeah, he did some bad things. We're very sad. OK, let's move on!"

In the interest of full disclosure, I have a F&F subscription that was given to me and I enjoy it very much. I would never turn it over to my children to read without first previewing the articles to see where there might be some unchecked LC influence. I personally have not seen much of that in the recent issues although I have in the past. A recent post on the F&F blog states that only one of the blog contributors is RC. Perhaps that is why.

freddy said...

I don't think that anyone is saying you should cut off participation in these groups, or avoid buying their materials. It is important, however, to be aware of just where those materials are coming from, and what problems, if any, may be attached to them. If you're happy with the materials you've been receiving, that's great!

That said, there's something a little "off" about the way the LC appears to obfuscate their involvment in and even ownership of various programs. It reminds me of the way the Jehovah's Witnesses represent themselves. They come to your door, ask questions, try to get you talking, but only if they are directly asked will they admit their religion. They insist that they are not hiding anything, but that as they've endured so much persecution and prejudice it's the only way to approach people.

Catholic programs and institutions should be outwardly and unashamedly Catholic: if they are affiliated with a certain religious group, it should be obvious.

Martha said...


K4J is definitely a Regnum Christi apostolate. I used to go to Kathy Conklin's (the director's) house and help package the materials to send out. It is like Familia -- you can be in it and never hear of Regnum Christi (although, this approach changes from time to time.) However, anyone more involved -- the people who write the K4J materials, or send them out, or train the animators for Familia -- is in RC. There is some good material in those programs. But they are definitely seen within the Movement as recruitment opportunities as well as evangelization.

Martha said...

Oh, and yes, the list Anonymous added is accurate. And they run the University of Sacramento (is that what you were thinking of?) as well as some in Mexico, notably Anahuac.

Martha said...

Sorry for the many postings... this link on Regnum Christi's page shows K4J

There is also Women for the Third Millennium and Youth for the Third Millennium. You can look around under "Apostolate" on the RC website, but many of the apostolates have more than one name (for example, K4J is also Catholic Kids Net; Conquest Club is in some places the Everest Club. I can't think of others at the moment.)

Maria said...

I would remind all of you to maintain a level of charity. Our goal here should not be to trash all of these apostolates. Many of them, in fact most of them, are orthodox and very beneficial to the Church, our families and children. for example, who among us does not love the Faith and Family website or magazine? Would any of you accuse Danielle Bean of being involved in the Father Maciel scandal? Of course not! The fact is that the founder of the Legion was huge sinner. To make matters worse, the Legion appears to be glossing over his transgressions. Yes, all of that is extremely disturbing. But that does not mean that we need to go on a witch hunt and root out every apostolate of the Legionaries or Regnum Christi. No one can deny the holiness and integrity of most of these people. I agree, Father Maciel's sins need to be acknowledged and apologized for. At the same time, anyone who was an accomplice in this scandal needs to step down. But the work of the Legion, at large, does not need to be attacked or discredited. I am very concerned about the intent here.

Sean W. said...


I was in the LC long enough to see that this is a dangerous and corrupting organization. Most do not realize that the Legion uses these affiliated organizations as tools for recruiting. It is not enough to identify them; the wolf is among the sheep, the sheep need to be warned. I have been warning people about the dangers of the Legion for the last 20 years, and have seen some able to escape from LC/RC; I have seen others brought to the brink of emotional, psychological and spiritual ruin. Understand that the greatest harm done by Fr. Maciel was the damage he did to orthodox and traditional catholics by stealing their vocations and hijacking their devotions for his own purpose. Now that the truth of his life is becoming known, it is time to end this organization so that faithful, orthodox, traditional Catholics can resume their place in the Church and stop serving this cult.

Anonymous said...

The work of the Legion must be suspect; the entire formation of everyone and everything in it is intrinsically bound up with Maciel. Google the legion formation papers and read them for yourself.

Don't think that Faith and Family are involved in the cover up? Read this, posted in one of the comboxes in life-after-RC:

"I am posting here because it seems like this is a good place to get a few answers.

As a Catholic mother, I do like to read and comment on some Catholic mother blogs. One of those blogs was the popular writer and mother of 8, Danielle Bean's blog ( Danielle is linked by a large number of popular Catholic blogs; she also writes for and Faith and Family magazine. One feature that she started up quite a few months ago was "Coffee Talk Tuesdays", where she'd leave an open thread so that all readers could raise topics and discuss. About a month ago, she started directing every Coffee Talk to Faith and Family, who recently went online. I thought nothing of it then, but now? Bait and switch?

So on Tuesday someone asked the reasonable question: does anyone have opinions about lay Catholic apostolates? Pros? Cons? And a few were mentioned: Communion & Liberation, Focolare, Regnum Christi, Opus Dei, Legion of Mary, etc.
Some responses were positive. And soon, one was warning, but did not name which organization she had a bad experience with. And then someone did mention RC and the problems she had with it. Secrecy, heavy recruitment, and someone mentioned something about exhorbitant suggested donations to the LC school she was sending her kids to...with the punch line that whoever gave $5k would get their own Adoration hour dedicated to them!

Well, sure enough Danielle jumped in the combox to...wait, I'll copy and paste:

"About Lay Movements: 
Honest questions and discussion are necessary, but we’re going to have to call foul on any comments that blithely denounce what the Church has pronounced valid. All the movements mentioned here --without exception-- have had their statutes approved by the Church. That doesn’t baptize everything movements or their members do or place them beyond criticism, but it is the Church’s authoritative judgment that it is God’s will that those movements exist and flourish, and we should speak of them accordingly.
Constructive criticism is a boon to all concerned even when it’s painful to hear. But remarks that simply tear down—or question the validity of—approved works of the Church can’t have a place here.
There are many helpful posts here on this topic; let’s change the conversation to other topics."

Now, I didn't get how you could say discussions are necessary but then turn around and say we should change the topic.

So I wrote:
"They've all been approved? Really? Even TFP? I don't think so.
Neo Catechumenal Way has their own liturgy and was recently given direct orders from the vatican to stop doing some things in their mass that were illicit. I believe they did. Obedience is a good thing.
TFP is not a religious order and yet they take young boys and, well, take them. The men live celibate lives off on their own. I think that robs the real celibate vocation of the priesthood, imo. It's too weird.

Regnum Christi/LC does some very good work in terms of their publications, notably National Catholic Register, but there is no doubt they are very secretive. This thread has been going on all day and no one from faith&family has even chimed in that this very blog is LC. Wasn't there a recent admonishment from Rome that LC-run things had to be up front about being LC? Again, I have a problem with this "lay consecrated" vocation; shouldn't those girls be entering convents instead? And what, exactly, do these lay consecrated do? Staff hospitals? Teach? Work emergency pregnancy centers? House/feed the poor? I've never seen that. What I have seen them do is...recruit. My biggest problem is Maciel. Bottom line was that when he died the pope said: nothing. Very unusual to not get any word upon the death of a founder of a religious order. Odd thing was just a few weeks later Chiara Lubich died - the founder of Focolare - and the pope did put out a message of condolences and praise for this woman.

On the other hand, even though there have been attempts to smear Opus Dei, their founder is a saint.

To me, that speaks volumes."

The comments continued, back and forth, and then one person wanted to know:
This blog is LC? RC?

And then Danielle posted this:
Posted by Danielle Bean on Tuesday, Sep 23, 2008 6:33 PM (EDT):
"I’ve asked that we stop discussing this topic because it always does become acrimonious in online discussions. That doesn’t benefit Catholic families and thus it is not within the purview of this site.
I recognize that there are strong feelings on this subject and as a result it seems most of us can’t help but continue to discuss it. Consequently, I am going to close comments on this thread.
To clear up the connection: Faith & Family’s publisher is Fr. Owen Kearns, a Legionary priest. A small percentage of the laypersons on our team are members of Regnum Christi. Both the magazine and the blog have always had the one goal of bringing all Catholic moms and their families closer to Christ. For some people that will involve membership in a lay movement. For others it won’t.
I hope and pray that we can continue to encourage and support one another in all of our unique and individual vocations in future discussions here at Faith & Family Live."

And a little while later?
My post was removed. Only mine."

They are part of the secrecy. They are part of the problem. It's all a cover-up. It's all part of the cult.

Martha said...

I think what I said above was charitable. However, I think it is fine to let people know that an apostolate is from LC/RC. Many people would like to have that information up front. I know of one parish in my diocese where the pastor quit letting the Familia group meet when he found out (4 years after it had started) that it was a Regnum Christi apostolate. People don't like finding out after the fact that a controversial organization was running a group they belonged to behind the scenes. It makes them wonder, if you hid that, what else are you hiding?

Jeannette said...

Many many good Catholics have serious concerns about the LC/RC movement. We deserve to know if our money is going toward, well, supporting the daughter of Marcial Maciel's affair with a fifteen year old girl. Or just toward the upkeep of the Institute for Psychological Studies-yikes, a graduate school of psychology run by the Legion of Christ.

Adding a few: Youth for the Third Millenium has changed to MissionYouth, and yes, the Regnum Christi name seems to be changing to MissionNetwork. They have a fake college in Rhode Island somewhere too; did the president ever finish her online degree? And there's a Pilgrim Virgin Queen program, very similar in name to the Legion of Mary's "traveling statue of Mary" program. Note that the National Consultants in Education (NCE) should not be confused with the National Catholic Education Association (NCEA).

It's gotten so that I stopped getting involved with any church activities that didn't have non-LC provenance; there's just no forthrightness in the parish about whether activities are LC/RC or not. The duplicity goes way beyond the LC's international leaders.

Anonymous said...

Jeannette: Do you know for sure that the Institute for Psychological Studies is LC? I can't find an LC link to them on their website, but it *is* listed on the RC link page. Then again, the vatican website is also listed on the RC link page and of course that's not LC; however, I wouldn't put it past them to throw in a couple of non-LC links just to confuse things. And if the I of PS is not LC, I'd hate to tar them with that brush. So do you, or does anyone, know for sure?

If so, that would be a shame, just like I think it's a real shame that The Westchester Institute is LC; they really have lots of good things going on there in terms of bio-medical stuff. But how can I trust anything they do now?

Jeannette said...

IPS is LC-controlled.

Board of directors:
Fr. Joseph Burtka, L.C., Chairman Thornwood, New York
Fr. Thomas Berg, L.C., Secretary, Thornwood, New York
Fr. Charles Sikorsky, L.C., President, Potomac, Maryland
Most Revered Bishop Paul S. Loverde, Arlington, Virginia
Mr. Thomas Cunningham
Baltimore, Maryland
Mr. William Keevan Reston, Virginia
Fr. Anthony Bannon, L.C. Thornwood, New York
Fr. Richard Gill, L.C. Thornwood, New York
Fr. John Hopkins, L.C. Potomac, Maryland

Anonymous said...

What about ENDOW, the study group for women that focuses on the New Feminism? That too is linked to RC, though it took some digging on my part to figure that out...and this was after I paid good money to become a facilitator of the group. I do not like this awful lack of transparency. Isn't transparency what Archbishop O'Brien demanded of RC/LC last year? Shape up or I will kick you out!

Beth said...

To anonymous @ 6:38 on 2/5. I remember that discussion you mentioned. Since Faith and Family is essentially published by the LOC they of course would not invite critical discussion on the topic. The writers and even a family member of one of the bloggers has close connections to LOC (ie members of Regnum Christi and employment in an LOC seminary for boys as I understand it I could be wrong about that) So I am sure you were touching on a very personal topic.

I'm not sure why they made their connection to LOC such a mystery. Once I realized the connection I decided not to go to the blog anymore. (Except I did just go back to check to see if they would even acknowledge the mistress crisis...)

My boys were involved in Conquest and I regret not doing more research on LOC at that time. I never would have had them involved had I thoroughly understood the LOC. IMO Conquest is a training ground for future vocations for the LOC. (Conquest suddenly left our parish and area not sure why)

Good points Red. Especially connecting the dots between LOC and Faith and Family.

It is time for the LOC to finally take a look at themselves and clean things up and answer some tough questions instead of sweeping things under the rug. All these years the members spent defending this man, it is a hard pill to swallow.

I don't think it is uncharitable to discuss this at all. In fact the Church needs to wake up and discuss things like this and learn from it.