Notes: Comments from Members of Regnum Christi

I reference Regnum Christi “But My Experience Was So Good!”.

Positive Experiences

Because members of Regnum Christi did not normally participate on blogs or forums, it was somewhat difficult to find firsthand accounts of their experiences.  I did, however, find quite a few positive statements in response to critics who claimed that Regnum Christi had been damaging to them and others.  Here are some of these firsthand accounts:

“I have been a member of Regnum Christi for 5 years, and feel that another side must be presented.
…I myself know that I am a better Catholic, more reverent and filled with deeper faith because of Regnum Christi. I have become much more involved in my parish in several ministries because I love my parish and its priests even more now that I am a member of Regnum Christi. My charitable donations to my parish have increased as well as the time my family spends in prayer before the Blessed Sacrament. For me there has not been a down side to Regnum Christi.”

-from Archdioces of Baltimore website

“[W]hat attracted me to Movement had and has little to do with Fr Maciel. When I encountered RC, I was not practicing my faith. Its power to attract young people is based primarily on its promotion of Sacramental life. The fruit of the Movement is that it fosters a deep love of the Eucharist. It puts people in front of the Sacrament in Adoration. It fosters daily Mass attendance and a love of the Rosary. These are aspects of the Catholic faith that should be obvious to anyone entering the Church or trying to find their way to an adult faith from a Catholic childhood. But as mentioned above, the Sacramental life is often the thing that is missing from Parish catechesis and CCD progams.
Yes, Pastors and Bishops be aware: People want to adore the Eucharist. Is adoration offered in your Parish? People want to be a part of a community that supports their sacramental and prayer life. We want to know that we are not the only “fools” for Christ.”

-from “The Mission Trip that Changed my Life”, by Andrew Lane

 

This 2009 blog post by Amy Wellborn sparked a lot of discussion about the nature of Regnum Christi.  Some reported highly positive experiences, and others claimed the organization had damaged them.  Here are some excerpts from positive experiences:

“I am fairly new to RC – about 4 four years… What I have experienced is a way to grow and strengthen my faith through a disciplined prayer life and also how to be a better husband and father following Christ’s loving example.  There are great fruits coming from the Legion and RC”

-from comment by RC Man, Feb. 5, 2009

“As an RC member for 5 years I am stunned at the news…
I have read many of Fr. Maciel’s writings. Again, he always led to Christ through Mary.
If it is possible that the Lord could have created the LC order and RC through such a sinful man, then so be it. It would not be the first time that God has chosen to bring good from a miserable sinner. David and Paul come to mind. I have been brought closer to Christ through RC. I long to receive Him everyday in the Eucharist. I have 3 more children than I would have had, being encouraged through the movement to be open to the will of our Heavenly Father in my marriage.
Now is the time for much prayer, for the soul of Fr. Maciel and for many fruits of renewal to come to LC and RC. There are many, many holy, Christ-centered people who are very hurt by this. Frankly, I am privileged to know so many who seek the will of God in their lives, and long to live Christ-like charity.

This is only the beginning of the persecution, in my mind, not only of the Legion, but of the whole Church.
Finally, I wish those who dislike the Legion would concentrate more on prayer for the Church than on uncharitable venom that I continue to read in comments. (I won’t even bother with the ex-RC, ex-LC blogs…  They are the anti-treatise on charity.)

-from comment by Susan Schudt, Fe. 3, 2009

“If not for the love of the souls the LC priests and RC member have I and many others I know would be spiritually dead. My diocesan parish and priests have very weak catechesis and all talks are academic, not spiritually drawing us closer to Christ. I pray for those hurt by Fr. Maciel and for his soul. I hope the movement can re-organize. Satan would love to see it fail.”

-from comment by Pippa on Feb. 3, 2009

“But I experienced a lot of good in the few years when I was a consecrated woman. In Regnum Christi, I developed a much deeper and more personal relationship with Christ. I grew to love the Church; I received solid doctrine and I received the sacraments in abundant measure. My directors showed me great kindness, patience, and love, and they walked the extra mile with me when I needed it. Those years confirmed and gave direction to my desire to lay down my life for the mission of the Church, to work for the salvation of souls. I am amazed at how much good I have received through Regnum Christi… and I am even more amazed that God was able to give me all these spiritual gifts through the work of a man who was so flawed. It doesn’t make sense to me, humanly. But it is a fact. So, here I am before a mystery that silences me and makes me wonder at how God can work.”

-from comment by JK40 on Feb. 4, 2009

“RC has been such a huge blessing to me and my family. The apostolates we have been involved with were awesome. My kids especially enjoyed Catholic Kids Net, and I enjoyed the Parenting With Christ group (which used the book Parenting with Grace). Probably our fondest RC -related memory was the family Christmas Mission in nearby New Orleans following Hurricane Katrina. We were able to help clean out a damaged church, rectory, and diocesan owned retirement home that week while joining with other Mission participants for daily Mass and prayer. We were not the only group on a “mission” that week. People from all over the country and from different faiths were there helping to rebuild and restore a great city. It was amazing! RC helped us to be a part of that.”

-from comment by Shannon on Feb. 4, 2009

“I’ve been involved in RC for 4 years… I was so moved by how the girls loved Christ and how they behaved and strived to be good role models.
…I do love RC very much because the women I’ve grown to know and love are so strong and dedicated mothers who really care and sacrifice. Role models I can trust. People who genuinely strive to serve the Kingdom of Christ. RC was the first place I ever considered vocations for my kids. RC has taught me that kindness is part of charity.”

-from comment by Hannah on Feb. 5, 2009

“This place is filled with such a mixed bag of positive/negative commentary. I’m a +8 year member of RC. Never in those years did I encounter a cult, never, never anything negative. I have been led to a better life of prayer, love for Christ, desire for the Sacraments, and intense love for the Roman Catholic Church. I loved JPII and I’m learning to love B16. My RC friends are holy, Catholic, fun-loving zealous women. Yes, zealous! Zealous for the life in Christ that we are called to live-knowing Him better, loving Him, and serving Him.
Take your negativity and stuff it, friends. Go to Church, and pray for Her before Christ in Adoration! Don’t stick your head in the sand, but live according to the principles of the Church. Justice will be accorded in its time.
Charity, folks. Walk it!”

-from comment by VDK on Feb. 10, 2009

 

When believers did finally accept the reality of Maciel’s abuses, it was very interesting to read their thoughts about the good versus the bad the organization produced.  Clearly, this was difficult for them to wrestle with.  Many acknowledged the good that was done, but still apologized, and asked for forgiveness from those who were hurt.

“All I want to say is, I’m sorry.
I want to say it here, because I defended Fr. Maciel here, and I need to be on the record regarding that defense:
I’m sorry, to the victims, who were victims twice, the second time by calumny. I’m sorry, to the Church, which has been damaged. I’m sorry, to those I’ve misled.
I did it unwittingly, but this isn’t a time for excuses.
The Church gave me great, great good in Regnum Christi.
The Church did bring justice, and did penalize this man.
Thank God for the Church.
I seek repentance and forgiveness, and I leave it at that.”

-from comment by Tom Hoopes on Feb. 3, 2009

“I would not have entered the Church without Regnum Christi. It has done me nothing but good. But I am deeply sorry for our founder’s wrongs against his victims and against the Church, and for our corporate and my personal participation in them by defending him. I seek forgiveness, without excuses.”

-from comment by Rebecca Teti, Feb. 3, 2009

 

This was a particularly interesting comment from Nieves Garcia, a consecrated Regnum Christi woman:

“We were all surprised by the news about Maciel. The surprise immediately turned into questioning. So therefore the work he founded is bad? The fruits that we see are good. It is true, there are many good fruits that one cannot, should not, deny. I will share a few ideas that helped me understand this “mystery”.
Maciel fooled a lot of people by leading a double life. Those good people, though deceived, have tried to do good with good intentions, and God has blessed them. He did not bless Maciel.
…Once truth comes to light, it behooved us to review our way of life. When we did this, many of us realized that we, too, had done harm to others. Hundreds of good fruits do not justify bad fruits. We are human beings, we are not things, vegetables, ‘sacks of potatoes’ . To justify evil by the amount of good fruits produced is to accept evil as a means to a good end.
I lived 27 years in this institution. I, too, have done harm to others without wanting to. And I ask forgiveness. But I cannot continue to deceive. What I want is for us to become aware, ask forgiveness, and open ourselves to the grace of conversion. We have to change. People are not numbers or the fruits of my harvest; they are human beings loved for who they are by God, and they deserve total respect. It is about service, not about appearances. God knows the reality…
There have been good fruits. Great! But we should never do harm to anyone, ever; much less in the name of God.”

-from “Good and Bad Fruits of the Legion/Regnum” by Nieves Garcia

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