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Are you in youth ministry and you've had it with crazed parents? Rollin' your eyes at the pastoral council? Tired of administration work? Love youth? Love the Church? Appalled at parish politics? Looking for some good games? For a creative ways to teach a lesson for Religious Ed? Just need a place to veg out and say "phew! Someone outside of the parish to talk to!"? Grab y'r Starbucks, turn the computer away from the staff's eyes, grab a seat on a donated dusty couch and let it all go.

Thursday, January 13, 2005

The Legionaries And Regnum Christi

I get news updates from the Catholicnews digest and today there is an article about the Archdiocese of St Paul not wanting the Legionaries to "cease activity within the Archdiocese", and the response that the Legionaries give to the sitution:

"The letter to the parishes included a letter
written to Fr. Anthony Barron, North American director for the Legion of Christ,
from the Archbishop stating that "pastors continue to sense that a 'parallel
church' is being encouraged, one that separates persons from the local parish
and archdiocese, and creates competing structures."...

"According to their website, the Legionaries "seek
to cooperate with bishops in the realization of diocesan pastoral programs,
especially education, the family, social services, and the mass media. They thus
promote diocesan programs by contributing their own charism, which is a gift
from God to the whole Church."

I have had interactions with Legionaries and Regnum Christi in the past. I appreciate their emphasis on excellent doctrine and formation. However, I have also found them to be authoritarian, overly strict and a bit too dogmatic in their approach.

I realize that their way is not for everyone, including myself, but each interaction with them leaves me with a bad taste in my mouth. I, too, am for excellent doctrine and formation, but their insistance and even sense that theirs is the right way has always bothered me.

This, of course, is an opinion piece and others may have had really great experiences with them. But I'm wondering what others think. Could it be that because of the cultural background of it's leaders that it doesn't fit well with many Americans? It is their dogmatic approach that is foreign to my style of ministry that chafes me so?

I'm not sure. Any thoughts?


Anonymous Anonymous said...


June 24, 2002
"I have been deeply impressed by the work of the Legionaries of Christ in the United States, in Mexico, and in Rome. In the renewal of pastoral counseling, the revitalization of retreat work, and new forms of youth and family ministry, Legionary priests and Regum Christi members are at the forefront of the new evangelization in the U.S. In Mexico, the Legion's universities are helping prepare the Church for a role in Mexican public life that hasn't been possible in over a century. The Legion's Roman university, Regina Apostolorum, is a pioneer in the field of Catholic bioethics, and has been the scene of some of the most stimulating international theological conferences Rome has seen in decades. If Father Maciel and his charism as a founder are to be judged by the fruits of his work, those fruits are most impressive indeed."

George Weigel


May 23, 2002
The recent revival of long discredited allegations against Father Maciel would come as a surprise were it not for the fact that the U.S. is currently experiencing a resurgence of anti-Catholicism. One would have thought that Father Neuhaus's meticulous analysis of the evidence in First Things had put the matter to rest once and for all. As one who sat near Father Maciel for several weeks during the Synod for America, I simply cannot reconcile those old stories with the man's radiant holiness. The most powerful refutation, however, comes from the spiritual vibrancy of the great organization he founded, and the thousands of lives that have been touched and transformed by the men and women he has inspired. As Our Lord has told us, "By their fruits ye shall know them." That irresponsible journalists keep dredging up old slanders is perhaps best viewed as a tribute to the success of Regnum Christi and the Legionaries of Christ in advancing the New Evangelization.

Yours in Christ,

Mary Ann Glendon


April 30, 2002
As the sexual abuse scandal continues to rock the Catholic Church, one of the things faithful Catholics need to be able to do is trust the priests whom they know. I am fortunate enough to know and trust the priests of the Legionaries of Christ. They do excellent work with the young men in my community, providing them with role models who are exemplars of Christian life. And they do similar work around the world, calling Catholics to live a better life by their example. The flourishing of the Legionaries is a cause for hope in a time of much darkness.

I look forward to continuing my involvement with and support of the Legion of Christ.


William J. Bennett


8 March 1997
The Rev. Richard Gill, L.C.
Our Lady of Bethesda Retreat Center
7007 Bradley Boulevard
Bethesda, Maryland 20817

Dear Father Gill:
I thank you for the statements regarding the scurrilous charges that have been lodged against Father Maciel.

In recent years, I have come to know and respect most highly the work of the Legionaries, both in this country and in Rome. One cannot help but be greatly impressed by both the discipline and the joy evinced by so many young men who have followed the vision of Father Maciel in surrendering their lives to Christ and His Church. I confidently pray that your apostolate will survive and flourish long after these terrible attacks have been long forgotten.

Please feel free to use this letter in any way that might be supportive of your important work.

Yours in Christ,
(The Rev.) Richard John Neuhaus
President, Religion and Public Life

Code: ZE04113002
VATICAN CITY, NOV. 30, 2004 (

Pope John Paul's address to the Legionaires of Christ

Dear Brothers and Sisters!

1. I am happy to meet with all of you, in the climate of joy and gratitude to the Lord for the 60th anniversary of the priestly ordination of Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder and superior general of your young and meritorious religious family.

First of all, I express my affectionate greeting to dear Father Maciel, together with my most cordial wishes for a priestly ministry filled with gifts of the Holy Spirit. I greet the superiors of the institute, in particular the vicar general, whom I thank for the words he addressed to me on behalf of all. I also greet you, dear priests and seminarians of the Legionaries of Christ, the dear members of the Regnum Christi Movement, and all those who have participated in the jubilee celebrations of these days.

2. The happy anniversary that gathers all of you around the founder, in addition to inviting you to recall the gifts that he has received from the Lord in these 60 years of priestly ministry, constitutes at the same time the occasion to confirm the commitments that, as Legionaries of Christ, you assumed at the service of the Gospel. In particular, when meeting today with the Successor of Peter, you wish to renew the commitment of your total fidelity to the Church and to him whom Providence willed to be its Pastor.

In this significant meeting, I am pleased to repeat to you all that I said at the end of the Great Jubilee of the Year 2000: "There is a need today more than ever for a confident proclamation of the Gospel which, casting aside all crippling fears, announces with intellectual depth and with courage the truth about God, about man, and about the world" (Address to the Legionaries of Christ and to the members of the Regnum Christi Movement, No. 4, in L'Osservatore Romano, Jan. 5, 2001, p. 5).

3. To fulfill this exacting mission, it is indispensable to cultivate a constant intimacy with Christ, seeking to follow and imitate him with docility. In this way, you will always be ready to respond to the most authentic and profound expectations of the men and women of our time.

May the Year of the Eucharist, which began in October, be for you a propitious occasion to grow in Eucharistic love, source and summit of the whole Christian life. This supreme mystery is Christ's gift par excellence to the Church, for it is "the gift of himself, of his person in his sacred humanity, as well as the gift of his saving work" ("Ecclesia de Eucharistia," No. 11).

4. Remain united around the Eucharist! Faithful to the charism that distinguishes you, continue your evangelizing mission nourishing yourselves of Christ and making yourselves his intrepid witnesses.

May your holy protectors accompany you; above all, may Mary Most Holy, Our Lady Help of Christians, be your guide and support.

With these sentiments and wishes, I impart from my heart to dear Father Maciel and to all of you here present a special apostolic blessing, which I am pleased to extend to members of your religious family and to all those you meet in your daily apostolate.

[Translation by ZENIT]


11:58 AM  
Blogger TCYM Lounge said...

...and the point is...?

Look, I agree with RC and the Legionaries on doctrine and formation. (And I'm not going to make a judgement about Fr Maciels' innocence or guilt) Just not HOW they go about it. I'm not attacking them, I'm just not sure I care for how they do their work. Almost every interaction I've had with them has left a bad taste in my mouth. To the outside world I will always affirm them, but in closer circles, I wonder about their ways.

12:07 PM  
Blogger Don said...

"and the point is..."

I hate to be charged with dogmatism but:

My experience with the Legionaires has been nothing but positive. After nearly two generations of ambiguity and confusion, the vagueness in church teaching is out and dogma is thankfully back in. The Legion of Christ is in the forefront of this change and the Holy Father is rightly proud.

Read these two documents from Vatican II. Talk about rigid and non flexible.
Lumen Gentium, The Dogmatic Constitution On the Church
Dei Verbum, The Dogmatic Constitution On Divine Revelation

People should get out of the smorgasbord line and set down at the table, they have been cheated out of the Truth about God and Man for long enough. OK, God and Persons. There IS a modicum of modernity in my dogmatism.

BTW, I am a volunteer in Youth Ministry at my parish and our Youth Ministry Coordinator thanks me often for the support I offer. When I first came across your blog I though it may have been originated by her, the problems seem the same. I gave her your URL and told her to look in as you seem to be kindred spirits.

BTW2, The kids don't resent my dogmatism. In fact they like it. Wish I could say the same for our pastor....and archbishop.


9:22 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

I am extremely torn about the Legionaries. Actually, I love the Legionaries; it's Regnum Christi I am torn about. I have friends who are RC, and I see parents who completely take their kids (and themselves) out of parish life; everything revolves around the RC school, which is not a parish school and is VERY EXPENSIVE compared to parish school. Also, my family is very conservative (or orthodox or whatever word you prefer) Catholic, and RC families do have an air of being an exclusive club and we outsiders don't know the secret handshake. I know that this happens on many levels of Catholicism: heck, my kids went to Catholic school for the elementary years and I remember the unfortunate Catholic school families versus public school families feelings that were rampant. I guess my question is: why isn't being a part of the Catholic Church good enough? Why do people who feel strongly about the faith (and I am one!) have to belong to exclusive clubs within the Church, clubs that take their time, talent, and treasure AWAY from the traditional Catholic parish? I believe that I have been baptized and confirmed into the best club possible: the Catholic Church. And if I am unhappy with my parish, then I work to change it or I find one that I like. But I don't abandon the whole concept of the parish.

10:38 AM  
Blogger GB said...

In the USA the bishops suspend from service any priest who has two credible allegations of abuse against them. At that point an investigations into the charges begins.

In their book, VOWS OF SILENCE, Jason Berry and Gerald Renner put forth the case against Father Marcial Maciel Degollado. It essentially revolves around a number of sworn testimonies (more than a half dozen) of sexual abuse committed by Father Marcial Maciel Degollado. The Vatican has recently reopened the case.

These very credible charges will play out in a canon law court in Rome. In the meantime a reading of this book will allow you to form your own opinion on this matter.

10:25 AM  

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