|Church or Cult?
By Jason Berry
March 9, 2009
The highest Regnum Christi members live as consecrated celibates in group houses. Maciel demanded lockstep obedience and no criticism from seminarians and priests, and his paranoia permeates the group's constitutions:
• 99. "... avoid launching open campaigns or issuing publicity statements concerning the nature, goals, methods and ... activities" (of Regnum Christi).
• 103. "Recruitment happens in stages, going successfully from kindness to friendship, from friendship to confidence, from confidence to conviction, from conviction to submission."
• 494. "No one shall visit outsiders in their homes, deal with them frequently or speak with them by telephone without justifiable reasons."
• 509. "The center's Director or Manager shall review all correspondence from members ... and release that which he or she judges to be opportune."
• 514.1. "Live your consecration with a sense of removal as it relates to dealings with your family and try to fundamentally channel this relationship into conquering them for Christ."
Some people with adult children in the Legion or Regnum Christi say they have lost contact with their loved ones. Vows of Silence profiles Christopher Kunze, a 1984 Marquette University graduate and Legionary who worked in the Vatican Congregation for Clergy in the 1990s. He left the priesthood after learning on his work computer that Maciel stood accused in Ratzinger's tribunal (his computer at the Legion house was restricted). Kunze returned to America, married and now lives in Dallas. His sister Elizabeth, who joined Regnum Christi, stayed on 14 years, defending Maciel as a saint even after the 2006 order. Her mother, Mary Kunze, says, "I believe Elizabeth has been brainwashed."
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