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article imageReport: Father Maciel had female 'voluntary slaves'

By Igor I. Solar     May 6, 2010 in World
Mexico - Five bishops conducting an investigation instructed by Pope Benedict XVI on the activities of Marcial Maciel, the late founder of the Legionaries of Christ, found that Maciel had organized a congregation of women under the Regnum Christi movement.
The revelation was made today by the Mexican newspaper Milenio [in Spanish]. The existence of the Regnum Christi consecrated women had not been recognized by the Holy See. The faithful have been living in a sort of "voluntary slavery" that prevents them from expressing opinions, having friendships and connections with their family.
Currently this "Female Army” founded by Maciel is composed of about 900 women of various nationalities mostly from Mexico, Spain, United States, France, Italy, Germany and New Zealand. It is estimated that currently in Mexico there are centers of consecrated women in several locations including Distrito Federal, Monterrey, Puebla, León, Saltillo, Mérida, Guadalajara y Cotija.
According to the Mexican newspaper, the founder of the Legion of Christ considered important to involve women, not only to inspire vocations but also to get donations. When joining the movement, following recruitment from schools at about age 17, they had to meet strict financial obligations and surrender assets. Additionally, their parents had to pay about US$ 7,000 a year for living expenses, and while Maciel was alive they had to provide Maciel with a check of approximately US$ 250,000 as a birthday present.
After being consecrated they must comply with strict rules: they can only visit their families for 15 days every 7 years, receive a visit from their parents once a year and can only leave the religious community in case of a family emergency such as if their mother or father is near death. Furthermore, bathroom trips must be authorized, and they cannot talk or help each other without permission of the director.
According to information from "Milenio", testimony of doctors and psychiatrists who care for these women demonstrate that they are healthy, but before age 30 they often suffer of “symptoms of fibromyalgia (muscle pain), neurosis, colitis, gastritis, sleep disorders and depression." In addition, they tend to be affected by emotional crisis and easily fall into despair and discouragement.
On May 1, 2010 the Vatican issued a statement calling Maciel "immoral", acknowledged that he had committed "crimes" and that he had led a "life deprived of scruples and authentic religious feeling". At this time Pope Benedict XVI promised to appoint a commission to examine the Legion of Christ constitution and to investigate Regnum Christi, the Legionaries’ lay affiliate.
More about Marcial maciel, Legionaries christ, Pope Benedict, Mexico
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