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.
of Milwaukee, called Regnum Christi a "cult" and said the Vatican 2010
visitation, or investigation of the Legion, "was rigged."
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.
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."