Ex-Legion of Christ members lambast old regime
Leadership was secretive and corrupt, Vatican probe was "rigged," they claim
Picture: National Catholic Reporter
- Jason Berry for National Catholic Reporter
- December 31, 2013
Top leaders of Regnum Christi, the lay wing of the Legion of Christ, knew as early as 2006 that Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the scandal-tarnished founder of the order, had a grown daughter, but concealed the information from the members at least three years, NCR has learned.
In exclusive NCR interviews, Elizabeth Kunze, who spent 16 years as a consecrated celibate in Regnum Christi, and Legionary Fr. Peter Byrne, who is leaving the order, denounced rooted secrecy and betrayal in the order and a bungled Vatican reform effort.
Kunze, of Milwaukee, called Regnum Christi a "cult" and said the Vatican 2010 visitation, or investigation of the Legion, "was rigged."
"I've winced for years every time someone challenged [Regnum Christi], saying it was a cult or cult-like," said Kunze, 47, who works as a bilingual counselor for a Milwaukee Catholic school in a Latino community.
"Even now it is painful for me to consider that description, but a year ago I told someone about the movement" -- as Legionaries and Regnum Christi members call the joint effort -- "and I said quite plainly it was a cult. I feel ashamed for having been caught up in a cult for so many years. It is not easy to admit, but I finally feel free enough to say what I believe."
Source: National Catholic Reporter