Postcards of Grief

Mourning is a process.

Comments on breast cancer by proxy, written by a woman coping with the loss of her mother.

Tuesday, January 11, 2005

This trinity is bad, bad, bad.

My cousin joined a cult. It seems like everyone is uneasy about it except for my dad. He likes to be reassuring to people, so maybe it’s all an act.

He’s not actually my cousin. He’s my cousin’s kid. And it’s not technically a cult, but if you really look at it from a sociological perspective, it just might be new religious movement. He joined The Legion of Christ. It’s a monastic order within the Roman Catholic Church. It’s endorsed by the Vatican. It’s positively frightening.

I think he just turned 21, or maybe he’s about to turn 21. He’s old enough to make decisions for himself, but I question the merit of this organization. He left for the seminary some time around May. The monastery/seminary is not one that prepares its charges for parish ministry. What exactly he’ll do for the rest of his life is unknown to me. Whatever it is, I hope it has nothing to do with this place. He’s allowed telephone calls on three occasions per year, and letter writing is limited to some extent. Until my cousin's 25th wedding anniversary, there are no plans for visitation. I try not to pass judgment on others’ religious choices, but I can’t get behind this. Any group that forces one to cut off all contact with one’s family and friends is a bad idea. Susie from Nueva Cantora says so.

My aunt, the littlest monk’s grandmother and a Catholic convert, is also apprehensive about this. One of her sons spoke to him by telephone and promised that he’d send any money that was needed to break out of there. The littlest monk declined. The offer still stands and will stand indefinitely.

Would you believe that this actually gets juicy/scandalous? Maybe it doesn’t, but it turns out that the founder of this NRM is a serious part of the sexual abuse problem.
Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ, which is one of the so-called new movements in the Catholic Church that have received special attention and favor during this pontificate.

...Father Maciel was himself guilty of sexual abuse in the past by quoting nine victims of his unwanted attentions, all ex-Legionaries. The Legion has denied the allegations but the complaints have never been adjudicated by the Vatican.

With the encouragement of the papal ambassador to Mexico, a canonical case was filed with the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in 1998, accusing Father Maciel of "absolving the sins" of his victims in confession --- an ecclesiastical crime that has no statute of limitation. In late 1999, however, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, prefect of the Congregation, halted the proceeding without explanation.

Had Father Maciel been a priest in the United States and accused of sexual abuse by nine former students, he would have been immediately removed from ministry under the U.S. bishops' 2002 charter for the protection of youth.

Within the Legion and the Vatican, however, the founder's status remains secure. Legionaries take vows never to speak ill of him or their other superiors and to report any member who does. Moreover, the pope personally appointed him as a representative to the Synod for the Americas in 1997 and praised him in 2001 at a sixtieth anniversary celebration of the Legion's founding.

(emphasis mine)

So, yeah. We’re a little uneasy. My cousin adds to this that she’s grieving her son’s losses by proxy. His vows of poverty and chastity pain her. She wants grandchildren. Of her three sons, it seems as though she saw him as her greatest hope for propagation. I think the others, younger than the littlest monk, still have a chance.


At 10:01 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

First, I am so sorry that your cousin has become involoved with the LC, the stories are never good, and they are all the same.

Second, let me offer a ray of hope. As of the beginning of January, the Vatican has finally officially opened the investigation against Maciel. He then, by sheer coincedence (and I have swamp land...) retired as head of the Legion on January 23.

The only way to save people from this group is to shine the light on them. More and more information is coming out, and Bishops like Flynn in Minnesota are taking a stand against the Legion by kicking them out and calling them a "parallel church."

Continue to care and be open to your cousin, the kid is going to need it, because when the Legion is done with someone, they do nothing to help.

At 2:34 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

For more information on the Legion and RC, see

At 2:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I can personally attest - there are many outstanding, innocent, and gulliable priests associated with the Legion, however, the only mission they have is money, power, and control. Their lay organization - Regnum Christi - is an assortment of personality disorders in action. They are consumed with pride and vanity - because ONLY they are headed to THE KINGDOM. They are a frightening bunch - blindly obedient, greedy,wasteful,unjust, and evil. The Legion's connections,power, money- combined with their master plan to control THE CHURCH should be a real concern to the entire religious community. The disregard for the laws of our country and the disrepect for US Church leaders is so far removed from our moral law..it has nothing to do with God! The REAL story about this group needs to be told..soon!


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