The news came out last week that the founder of the Legionaries of Christ and the Regnum Christi movement was not as saintly as the members of the order and the movement had been led to believe. There were some who wondered, in the wake of the discovery, what led people to join the Regnum Christi movement. I incorporated into the movement in 2001. I can’t speak for anybody but myself, but I’d like to share my reasons for joining.
The short answer to the question “Why did you join Regnum Christi?” is that it was the best of the alternatives available. There are three points that were important in my decision to join. First, there is a universal call to holiness. Holiness is not just for priests, nuns, and saints; every follower of Christ is called to strive for holiness. Second, doctrine and dogma are not incidental, but form the backbone of faith. There are a variety of competing doctrines within Christianity. Only the Catholic Church can claim the authority to distinguish the truth between competing doctrines. Third, all followers of Christ are called to the apostolate. Christ himself commissioned his followers to make disciples of all nations. Thus, we are called to share our faith with others.
When considering how to pursue holiness, I knew that the saints would provide good examples, and I found that the daily and weekly commitments for members of the Regnum Christi movement were tested and proven methods to achieve spiritual growth: Eucharistic adoration, Marian devotions such as the Rosary and the Angelus, frequent sacramental confession, weekday mass attendance, meditation on the scriptures, etc. I recognized, from the reading that I had done, that what the movement expected of its members was good and that it would draw a soul closer to Christ, as long as they were viewed not as burdensome duties but as acts of love.
The members of Regnum Christi are thoroughly Catholic. They love the Church and the Pope as the Vicar of Christ. When attending a mass celebrated by a Legionary priest, the reverence for the Blessed Sacrament and the care to perform the rite with fidelity is evident.
Finally, Regnum Christi members are typically very active Catholics. The RC members that I knew were active in the parish. In addition, they were involved in other programs that reached out to Catholics with the teachings of the Church, helping them to apply those teachings in their daily life.
There was no other group doing these things. There were no parish groups promoting a universal call to holiness. Individual Catholics were on their own to come up with their own plan for spiritual development, and there was no real encouragement to accept the challenge. There were some other groups, mostly farther away, that emphasized different aspects of spirituality, but many of them seemed passive or contemplative (almost feminine), rather than the active model presented by RC.
There were aspects of Regnum Christi that didn’t fit perfectly with my spiritual goals and needs, but the overlap was significant enough that I could overlook the rest. As I stated earlier, I became a member of Regnum Christi in 2001, and I have benefited from that decision. There have been and are aspects of the movement that I have not fully embraced, and given the new revelations about the life of the founder, I don’t know that I ever will. My goal continues to be to grow in holiness with fidelity to the Church, and I continue to discern whether the Movement to which I belong is the best way to achieve that goal.