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Socialization Paper

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Carolina Rios

Professor Lilia R. Rosas

CULF 1320.21

May 28, 2015

Socialization Paper

Sexual abuse. Rape. Drugs. Clergy abuse. It was in 2010, after years of indictments and denials, when the Vatican acknowledged the founder of one of the Regnum Christi guilty of terrible and immoral crimes. Its founder, Marcial Maciel, a terrible yet incredibly smart human being, lied to the whole world to get what he desired the most, power and money. The movement is well known for its elite members, charismatic and handsome priests, consecrated lay woman and men, and of course for their sexual scandals. The norms of the Regnum Christi were very rigorous and strict, absolute respect to people at higher ranks and secrecy. But there were only a few people who stood up and demanded answers. Thanks to them justice has been done. What Marcial Maciel did was a perfect example of how easy it is to manipulate people when charisma and good looks are mixed together; the scandal shows that a few brave voices can break down ages of lies and corruption. This story can help open the world’s eyes to see that what stereotypes really do to society is giving more power to the already powerful people. Therefore, the scandal works as a representation of the way socialization works in which the powerful creates norm and hierarchies that produces contradictory actions and stereotypes that eventually will give them more and more power.

 It is however, important to understand the rules of the Regnum Christi and its limitations towards its religious members. One of the main norms was absolute obedience towards the people in higher ranks, in the moment the rule breakers began to question the reasons given to perform certain duties the movement began to loose strength. The belief that whoever acted in disobedient ways was a selfish sinner was challenged and later abolished. Other rule regards to the life style these people lived was complete silence in the house, people should not be talking with anyone inside the house at any time not even while a car drive. This rule was suspicious for those who already were questioning the reason of such an extreme obedience to superiors. It questioned the values of faithfulness, respect of human dignity, honesty and integrity. Catholics suppose to be building their human relationships on loyalty, trust, respect and security, yet it was far form what the Legionaries of Christ were doing. The rule breakers noticed this rule prevent people from talk about fears or unpleasant situations that had happen to them, like the sexual or clergy abuse, a common situation among the members without them even knowing. Questioning the norms and rules of the movement was something the rule breakers were doing intentionally to help the world open its eyes towards the reality they were living. A further norm includes the complete disconnection religious members had with their families.  This norm prevented family members to ask questions about rumors of the movement that may cause people start talking about their experiences in the movement. Talking “bad” about the way of living in the movement was unacceptable; what the rule breakers did was telling the truth about what was going on inside the movement with the intention of stopping the crimes and bring justice for those affected by cruel actions.

The rule breakers were aware of their transgressions, acting the way they did was in fact abnormal and not accepted by many members in the movement. It was considered a betrayal to ones “family.” For so long the religious and civil members were educated in a way that encouraged people to considered anything that caused any type of pain as a sacrifice to God and “the souls”, so complaining about things that make them feel uncomfortable or sad was seen as bad and these people were judged as bad and selfish. The transgression of whistle blowers was intentional, and although it was against the norms of their society it was not bad nor a crime. The motivation was to protect kids and have justice been made. They were living in a lie that had as an end pleasing the desires of just one human being. Marcial Maciel’s insanity was making most of the members of the congregation insane as well. So the rule breakers completely revolutionized the movement; people noticed that questioning was not wrong, that if they were supposed to help the world be a better place they must lived in a healthy environment where fear has no place.

In order to a deeper understanding of the scandal, one must understand the hierarchy of the Regnum Christi. Gender played and important role in this movement, depending on the gender the tasks differed. Among the members of the Regnum Christi it was expected for women to act in a feminine way, be delicate, prudent, educated and not selfish. For men, the role was to be masculine, the men of the house, brave, and a hard working person, basically a superman. These two stereotypes were applied to both the religious and civil members. The rule breakers embrace the feminity of woman, they understand woman as an important pillar for society, and encourages purity and dignity in woman. Yet, not support the idea of valuing on people depending on what their gender and role in the movement was.

 The hierarchy inside the Regnum Christi was very important; every member of it has a label and task. The complex structure of it included General Director, Territorial Directors, House Directors, Secretaries, Accountants, and Apostolate Directors of each territory, among many others. Even the families that aid the movement are divided by importance. This means that the ones that contribute the most were of higher importance than the families that just participated in the apostolates and activities. Inside a house of Legionaries and consecrated woman or man the hierarchy was clearly defined. People have to ask permission to do things, eat certain foods, get breaks, skip mass or praying duties, even to talk with their families. This permissions were given by the director of the house but were not requested directly to them, they first go to the secretary of the house, or personal spiritual director than they will go to the director of the house, than the director of the house, depending on the situation, will give it or sent it to the Territorial Direction. The rule-breakers started questioning what was the need to make everything do strict and started skipping steps and instead go directly the House Director or even Territorial Directors. In this hierarchy is were the abuse of power was hidden. By making everything so structured and by creating the fear of freedom of speech, Maciel got to manipulate not only the religious members, but the civil member too. He managed it to create a cult-like behavior among the movement were thinking bad about superiors was extremely bad and unacceptable.

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