legionaries of christ


anyone know anything about this congregation? I am discerning a priestly vocation, and their congregation is just one of many vocations I am attempting to discern.

I can’t seem to find an unbiased source about them, everyone seems to either love or hate them…


I don’t think you can ever find an unbiased source on anything. People either like something or do not. If they do not know about it then they will be unbiased but how can they give you any insight into it.

Find someone or some group you trust and see what they say about it.

My experience with them was positive but they were not too interested in me as I think they felt I was too old.


Hi Joe,

I’ve known many Legionaries of Christ over the last 14 years. They all seem to be good people. There are some who complain bitterly after they leave. It seems to me to be common “disgruntled worker syndrome”. I discerned a vocation with them myself, and never did I see anything remotely like what some of these people complain of. My brother is studying with them now, and loves them. Personally, a lot of the complaints remind me of Dan Brown’s Da Vinci Code, how they talk about “secrets”. There’s a lot of compaints that are completely and totally off the wall.

The Legionaries emphasize a strong prayer life, indeed that’s an essential part of their mission. A lot of times, people overlook the prayer they put behind their work because nobody sees it. They are solidly Catholic, though, and despite some appearances are really a very traditional congregation.

I hope that helps! I’ll pray that you discern aright the will of God for your life.



We have a local university and shrine that are run by the Legionnaires. I love 'em. They are very orthodox.

I must say, I’ve never really gotten the whole double-breasted suit thing.


[right]JMJ + OBT[/right]

I have been nothing short of deeply impressed with the Legionaries of Christ priests I have met in the past few years. I even went on a 3-day Ignatian retreat for young men hosted by the LC in Atlanta – AWESOME!!!. They strike me as a community attempting to live the true spirit and letter of Vatican II in continuity with the whole of Catholic teaching, tradition, and history. :thumbsup:

On the other hand, the LC’s cannot at present be but upset and their future as a community at grave risk given the extremely serious decision of the Holy See to invite the LC’s living and elderly founder, “Fr. Maciel Degollado, to a reserved life of penitence and prayer, relinquishing any form of public ministry.” :frowning:

Yes, the Jesuits were suppressed worldwide by the Pope himself for a time in their history. But that action was not taken as a condemnation of St. Ignatius of Loyola. In the entire history of the Catholic Church, has there ever been a religious community that has survived the interdict or condemnation of its very founder? Whatever news releases the LC might publish to the contrary, the action taken by the Holy See against its founder puts the entire community in a most grave quandry. I pray for them, and for their lay associates in the Regnum Christi movement; I invite everyone else reading this to do likewise.

In the Hearts of Jesus and Mary.



Do you know of Father Jonathan Morris of Foxnews. He is a journalist stationed in Rome and a member of the Legionaries of Christ. I think he is an awesome guy, and a great witness to the Catholic faith.
Check out his:
webblog foxnews.com/story/0,2933,227755,00.html


I personally was a Legionary of Christ Apostolic (minor-seminarian) for two years. I am still very activley involved with them, and am fond of them. As a member of Regnum Christi, I think they are rather pushy to say, but orthodox. I have meet Fr. Marcial Maciel personally 11 times. One time I even sat down to lunch with him. I think he is great, and would never believe the bogus stories about him, but will let others interpret how they will. If you are ready to live out the spirit of obedience to the max, than they are for you, but if not, I would not suggest them. They can give some pretty strange and difficullt orders, but the prayer life is rock solid. You attend Daily Mass, Daily Holy Hour, Benediction, Weekly Confession & Spiritual Direction, daily rosary, meditation, and much more. Pray, and of course, if you would like a few special contacts, email me, and I will give you some more links, emails, & facts. May God bless you in your discernment process, and please pray for me, as I to discern.


I was with the Legion this summer for 3 weeks in their Candidacy program (to enter novitiate) until I discerned they were not where God was calling me.
They’re very militant, not in a rigid way per say, but in an obedient, always on the move, way.
I personally am not called to their Charism or their Spirituality, but it seems to be suited for many young men and women (they have an apostolic movement, regnum christi, which is a wonderful family to be in! google regnum christi)
The Legion tends to heavily pursue vocations, with the trust that God will have His way. They wanted me to stay longer so they could help me discern further, but I already knew, so there was no point to staying.
If you have any more questions about 'em, feel free to message me! I’d be glad to help.

God Bless, you,


There are LC priests and seminarians renting the former convent at our parish. I’ve gotten to talk to one of them, he seems pretty personable.

One thing I might add about the LC. Their “charism” is to influence those in positions of authority in society - this was pointed out by the LC priest himself - so don’t be surprised if people complain that they hang around rich people.


Just a side note, gentlemen, I am so pleased to see so many of you going through the discernment of holy orders. It warms my heart to see it.

I’ll keep you in my prayers.



I don’t know that I am unbiased, but here are a few things I’ve heard said about the LC that seem on target to me.

  • Absolutely committed to true catholic teaching and evangelization without dissent and endless attempts to lawyer out special exceptions to catholic moral teachings.
  • Very much obedient to the Holy Father and his teachings and disciplinary actions.
  • Serious questions remain about the founder, as mentioned above.
  • Sometimes called “Millionaires of Christ” because they tend to focus their evangelization on the rich and influential in society. Sometimes it can appear that they are embraced by said rich and powerful in order for them to get a veneer of catholic respectability without having to deal with some of those pesky things Jesus said about the poor and needy. With such a mission focus, they must be very careful not to be used by the elite class. I dunno how successful they are at avoiding this exploitation.


They do look sharp, though!

I appreciate that they balance prayer and work. I think we need both.

All the LCs I’ve met are very dedicated men. To the OP, go visit their seminary for a come and see weekend. You get to live w/ the seminarians and see if the lifestyle is for you. —KCT


in my opinion there are better orders of priests out there than the legionnaires.

there are jesuits franciscans salesians and diocesan and other orders that i cannot think of at this time.

there are paulists, redemptorists

i don’t think the legionnaires should be given carte blanche.

a lot of people have had bad experiences with them and you can find this out on the internet. and those complaints should be taken very seriously because they are true.

i think if you try the jesuits you will instantly notice the difference.

my feedback is that the legionnaires do not respect the free will of its parishioners and that the legionnaires seek to dominate others. this is spiritual abuse

i do not have children but i would not want children or young people to be educated or exposed to the legionnaires or to even listen to their homilies. their influence is subtly damaging…it creeps up on you

i have never ever complained about an order of priests. this is the only one i have ever complained about. and they are the only order i have ever heard complaints about. i do feel they have tendencies towards abuse…if you study domestic violence you will learn that abuse starts mentally and emotionally verbally then physically…well there is also something called spiritual abuse.


thank you for your help everyone. I will be spending this coming weekend (Dec. 1 - 3) and I could use all of your prayers. I will let you know how it went when I come back.


That’s great to hear, Joe. I’ll deffinately keep you in my prayers. I actually went up to Connecticut to test my call in the late summer, and it was excellent. Spiritually taxing, but like every retreat I’ve attended with the Legion it was highly fruitful, and I hope it will be the same for you.


I looked into the LC at one time, but was really turned away from them.

For one thing, it seems to be extremely easy to get into their preformation and seminary, but extremely difficult to get to the end of it.

Also, there is good reason to suspect that the sexual abuse of minors their founder has been accused of is true. That is why HH Benedict XVI asked him to remove himself from public ministry and resign from the leadership of the LC (to which he willingly complied). However, the LC still greatly reveres him and studies his life to a great extent.

Their reverance for John Paul II could almost amount to papoltry, although they have not given the same to Benedict XVI.

Among other things.


Would you care to elaborate on this, any specifics or are you just going by the numbers that enter and the number that are ordained?

Just a note, formation is not the end. Discernment continues up to and even after ordination.

Also, there is good reason to suspect that the sexual abuse of minors their founder has been accused of is true. That is why HH Benedict XVI asked him to remove himself from public ministry and resign from the leadership of the LC (to which he willingly complied). However, the LC still greatly reveres him and studies his life to a great extent.

Guilty until proven innocent? He has not been convicted of anything and the Vatican even has not said that it is true.

But that is besides the point. Can you tell us why this one man’s actions would tarnish a religious order he has founded.

He is not the only one with a questionable background to have founded a religious order.

Their reverance for John Paul II could almost amount to papoltry, although they have not given the same to Benedict XVI.

Any proof of this or is this just an accusation?


I would discourage you from pursuing a vocation with the Legionaries of Christ.

In some ways, they have a tendency - especially among their lay branch Regnum Christi - toward a certain type of neo-Gnosticism: our way, in effect, or the highway.

In some of their schools, students are made to feel pressured to participate in RC events, and there is a definite difference in treatment between those whose parents are RC and those who aren’t.

As for the Founder, he does enjoy a certain cult of personality even today, despite the cloud over his record…as for John Paul, they also have a tendency to cultish devotion to him.


In some ways, they have a tendency - especially among their lay branch Regnum Christi - toward a certain type of neo-Gnosticism: our way, in effect, or the highway.

As a member of Regnum Christi, I’m not exactly sure what you mean there. If your speaking concerning issues like abortion and other controversial issues, they do take a definitive stance, but only because there is a definitive truth, which is backed up by the Holy Father.

When you say that RC parents are favored over non-RC parents, that I can say is heresay. I don’t know how you got that vibe from the Legion, but I’d like to remind you that the Charism of the Legion and of Regnum Christi is above all, charity. So when it comes to showing favorites or making any group feel different, the Legion would be the last people to accuse of this.

Lastly, about your comment about their reverance of Pope John Paul II I have a few points to make. Firstly, when did reverence of you Pope become a bad thing? The Pope is the Vicar of Christ on earth, a man who has infinitely more knowledge and love of Christ then most of us could ever hope to achieve. Pope John Paul II has devotees all around the world, but you wouldn’t call them a cult. They simply recognize Christs presence in this incredibly holy man who had done so much for the world.

Furthermore, I’d just like to remind you of these words, “You shall know them by their fruits.” Any time the question arises of Fr. Maciel’s (our founder) innocence, I look to the unbelievable fruit of the Legion. The Legion has public ministry all across the globe, from their mega-missions to Mexico and other places, all the way to their formative groups and the new Institute of Psychological Studies. When I speak to a Legionary and hear the unbelievable love and dedication they have for Christ, the fruits of our founder’s dream are obvious.

One last point. Caesar, you say that it is extremely easy to get in to their seminarian program. The idea behind this is that no one can tell you if you have a calling to the priesthood. If you feel you have a calling, the Legion give you the opportunity to visit their seminary and test your call by living with the brothers and spending as long as you like in contemplative prayer speaking with Christ. LC priests spend between 9-12 years in formation, something that is key to their very essence and something which accounts for their great dedication to Christ and furthing His kingdom. At any point a seminarian can leave if they feel they are being called to something else. You also mentioned that they do not show a dedication to Pope Benedict XVI, which is false. My frequent contact with the Legion has given me the ability to say with 100% honesty that the Legion is strongly dedicated to the Pope, as they are strongly dedicated to Christ. The Legion recognizes that the pope is the Vicar of Christ, and therefore has the most precious words of Christ and can, as no other religion can, show to us as members definitively the position of Christ on any given issue.


I knew one of their Priests. He was proud of coming from a well to do family, proud that the order was masculine, and arrogant. I certainly would not judge all of them by him.

It’s founder is problematic. Multiple accusations of sexual abuse of young men and addication to morphine…not cool.

Judging them by their fruits is nice but frankly Jimmy Swaggart had a Worldwide Ministry, Bible College, millions of viewers, gold records, AND even one of his detractors noted that he really did follow through and establish missions and feeding programs, etc in Third World Countries (he was honest about it using the money for that end). Bore fruit for the Lord but problematic nonetheless.


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