Going on a retreat is one of the best opportunities to grow closer to God. Pope Pius XI wrote in his encyclical Mens Nostra: ...the utility and the opportuneness of Sacred Retreats, will be readily recognized by any one who considers, however lightly, the times in which we now live. The most grave disease by which our age is oppressed, and at the same time the fruitful source of all the evils deplored by every man of good heart, is that levity and thoughtlessness which carry men hither and thither through devious ways. Hence comes the constant and passionate absorption in external things; hence, the insatiable thirst for riches and pleasures that gradually weakens and extinguishes in the minds of men the desire for more excellent goods, and so entangles them in outward and fleeting things that it forbids them to think of eternal truths, and of the Divine laws, and of God Himself, the one beginning and end of all created things, Who, nevertheless, for his boundless goodness and mercy, even in these our days, though moral corruption may spread apace, ceases not to draw men to himself by a bounteous abundance of graces.
Now, if we would cure this sickness from which human society suffers so sorely, what healing remedy could we devise more appropriate for our purpose than that of calling these enervated souls, so neglectful of eternal things, to the recollection of the Spiritual Exercises?...pious retreats of this kind do much greater things than this, for since they compel the mind of a man to examine more diligently and intently into all the things that he has thought, or said, or done; they assist the human faculties in a marvelous manner; so that the mind becomes accustomed, in this spiritual arena, to weigh things maturely and with even balance, the will acquires strength and firmness, the passions are restrained by the rule of counsel; the activities of human life, being in unison with the thought of the mind, are effectively conformed to the fixed standard of reason; and, lastly, the soul attains its native nobility and altitude, as the holy Pontiff St. Gregory declares in his "Pastoral," by a concise similitude: "The human mind, like water, when shut up around, is gathered up to higher things; because it seeks that from which it descended; but when it is left loose, it perishes; because it spreads itself uselessly on lowly things." Moreover, as St. Eucherius Bishop of Lyons wisely observes; when exercising itself in these spiritual meditations; "the mind rejoicing in the Lord is stirred up by a certain stimulus of silence; and grows by unutterable increments."
(See para. #4; Emphasis mine).
If you have a chance to go on a retreat sponsored by a Traditionalist priest or bishop, you should make every effort to go. The "retreats" of the Vatican II sect are a joke. They are mostly sentimentalized talks about "how God loves us all, no matter what," interspersed with "celebrations of the YOU-charist" where the participants congratulate one another on "making strides in their spiritual journeys" (whatever that means). However, there is a serious danger above and beyond the vacuous claptrap of the usual Vatican II retreat called a Cursillo (Spanish for "short course" and pronounced as cur-SEE-yoh).
The alleged purpose of these retreats is to guide laypeople, showing them how to become effective Christian leaders over the course of a three-day weekend. It has been made mandatory in some Vatican II sect seminaries in order for the seminarians to become "priests." The purpose of this post is to expose the Cursillo retreat movement and retreats affiliated with it. You will see why you have a duty to warn anyone who tells you they want to attend a Cursillo retreat that there is a real and present danger to them spiritually, mentally, and emotionally.
The beginning of the Cursillo movement was orthodox. According to various sources on the movement, Cursillo did not come to the Church as a spontaneous creation. It began with Pope Pius XI's encyclical Ubi Arcano in which the Pontiff urged he laity to counteract all anti-clerical and anti-Catholic influences of the world of the 1920s and 1930s. This is how Catholic Action was born, which Pope Pius XI called “the participation of the laity in the apostolate of the hierarchy.” In Spain, the most active wing of Catholic Action was the young men. A great Convention took place in December 1932.
At this gathering, it was decided to try and stimulate the Catholic faith in young people through a great pilgrimage to the Shrine of Saint James in Compostella, an important place of prayer since the Middle Ages. It was to be a true affirmation of faith in the face of militant atheism and non-belief on the part of those in public office. This pilgrimage was to take place on July 25th 1937, the feast day of Saint James. For reasons not entirely clear, the pilgrimage never took place.
After reflection and prayer, in 1947, Catholic Action revived the idea of ten years previously, to make a pilgrimage to Compostella. They wished it to be an event of growing in knowledge regarding the faith, a deepening of the demands of faith, and of a real commitment to Christ. This was to be an opportunity to share, to pray, and to make gestures of brotherly love. To obtain good results, it was decided to prepare it through short courses (Cursillos) given for diocesan leaders of the pilgrimage and to group leaders. These Cursillos were in three parts: the first dealt with the knowledge of faith, i.e. grace, obstacles to grace, the sacraments and life in grace; the second addressed the nature, leadership, and the aspects of Catholic Action; and the third tackled all the things about the pilgrimage and its organization. These Cursillos took place everywhere in Spain for many years.
The corruption of the Cursillo into its current version began with a man named Eduardo Bonnin (d. 2008). Raised a devout Catholic, he went on a Cursillo and enjoyed it greatly. With six friends, he began a study group to examine the Faith. Unfortunately, he became contaminated with Modernist ideas by studying the Modernist theologian Yves Congar, as well as anti-Catholic philosophers, psychologists and sociologists. He and his friends devised a new format for the Cursillo, and the theology was less emphasized to give way to "experience." Nothing was openly heretical at this time (1949). After the end of Vatican II and the beginning of the V2 sect, the Cursillo quickly devolved into its current state circa 1967.
The Cursillo and Its Progeny: Cult Brainwashing
Before I even discuss the substance of the Cursillo, the methodology it employs is both dangerous and unethical. Some consider the Cursillo movement a cult, some do not. (For the record, I believe it is a cult. I use the so-called "Duck Test"--"If it walks like a duck, looks like a duck, and quacks like a duck, chances are...it's a duck."---Introibo). Yet all who question their techniques recognize them to be highly problematic, to say the least. The effectiveness of the techniques and the attachment to the doctrines so introduced led Protestants to imitate the Cursillo. Such Protestant/"Interdenominational" retreats include the Walk to Emmaus, and Tres Dias.
Six Conditions for Mind Control.
According to cult researcher and psychology professor Dr. Margaret Thaler Singer, there are six conditions necessary to create an atmosphere for mind control (i.e., "brainwashing"):
1. Keep the person unaware that there is an agenda to control or change the person.
2. Control time and physical environments (contacts, information).
3. Create a sense of powerlessness, fear, and dependency.
4. Suppress old behaviors and attitudes.
5. Instill new behaviors and attitudes.
6. Put forth a closed system of logic.
(See Cults in Our Midst: The Hidden Menace in Our Everyday Lives, , pg. 62)
The Cursillo meets all six conditions during its retreat:
1. If the Modernist goals were announced, many would not attend. Cursillo brochures have no concrete information and only describe the retreat in vague terms, such as "a refreshing spiritual renewal."
2. The retreat is hosted in a far away location where the leaders control the schedule. Participants are told it is wrong or even sinful to leave before the retreat is over because they made a religious commitment that must be kept. They are told to surrender their watches and phones so as to have no distractions. In this way, you lose track of time. There are no clocks and if you ask the retreat leaders the time, they will be dismissive, saying it is not important on retreat.
3. The retreat creates a dependency on the group. People who go to retreat together are told not to speak to each other, but "make new friends."
4. Traditional Catholic beliefs are put down and continuously denigrated.
5. You are encouraged to share intimate stories of your life, and given "unconditional love" for agreeing to try and accept the Cursillo's doctrine to deal with your problems.
6. Contrary views are ignored. There is an exhaustive schedule to prevent questioning anything Cursillo leaders do on retreat, and if asked a question, the questioning participant will be told to "trust us" and you will have all doubts removed by the end of the retreat.
(Some information condensed from Cursillo leaders manual. They state what to do, I'm showing the harmful connection---Introibo).
Other Harmful Practices
Sleep Deprivation. According to Cursillo expert Marcene Marcoux, "Candidates [to go on a Cursillo] must be in good health, with an absence of major physical problems. Although minor sicknesses and ailments are not deterrents, individuals with a past history of severe physical problems are discouraged from attending. The four days of initiation, with long hours and an exhaustive schedule of events, can create a strain." (See Cursillo: Anatomy of a Movement , pgs. 39-40).
"Love Bombing." When a participant shares something personal, the leaders (and other participants) will shake his/her hand and say something like, "God loves you unconditionally, and so do I." The participant will also get "rewarded" in the form of gifts, such as a card or a religious item from the leaders. Those who don't comply don't receive any "love."
How It All Works
The Cursillo participant attends "rollos" (Conferences/talks on doctrine) that are decidedly Modernist. They are made physically and psychologically susceptible to mind control. They have pent up anxiety and experience a cathartic release accompanied by "unconditional love" when they "confess" something personal to the group (anything from a spiritual difficulty to a sin they committed). This creates an emotional high which is subconsciously attributed to the Cursillo and its teachings. The event is also punctuated by the "miraculous." Someone might tell how they were going to miss the weekend retreat due to some misfortune, but everything cleared up for them at the last minute and they could go. This will be called "miraculous" by the leaders. Other "miracles" include forgiving someone or feeling good about yourself during the retreat. Finally, after the retreat, you are expected to have "reunions" with the people and leaders who will make sure you are continuing your "spiritual progress."
A Brave Traditionalist Bishop Sounds The Alarm
Bishop Antonio de Castro Mayer was born in Brazil in 1904. He felt called to the priesthood and was ordained in 1927. In 1948 he was consecrated a Bishop by order of Pope Pius XII, and on January 3, 1949 he took canonical possession of the Diocese of Campos, Brazil--a position he would hold until forced into retirement by the Modernist Vatican in 1981. At Vatican II he was a Traditionalist who fought against the Modernists. He refused to institute any of the so-called "reforms of Vatican II" in his diocese. Everything remained as it was in 1962 until his forced retirement in 1981. The Modernist Vatican did not want to make a martyr out of him and waited until they could invoke the new retirement of bishops at age 75 against him. They waited to get the right Modernist and then made Bp.de Castro Mayer leave his beloved Campos diocese. That diocese went south quickly once the "new springtime" of Vatican II came in.
The good Bishop was co-consecrator with Abp. Lefebvre of the four SSPX Bishops on June 30, 1988. Archbishop Lefebvre, Bishop de Castro Mayer, and the four newly consecrated Bishops were promptly "excommunicated" by Wojtyla the next day. Bp. de Castro Mayer went to Judgement on April 25, 1991. I set forth his background to show how he clung to the True Faith in the wake of the Great Apostasy. It was he who, on August 15, 1972, would sign and promulgate a Pastoral Letter in his diocese condemning the Cursillo movement which was making inroads all over Brazil. His sagacious Letter points out briefly the brainwashing problem outlined above. Most importantly, it concentrated on the doctrinal problems of the Cursillo--the ideas for which the brainwashing is employed.
Below, I will outline the problems recognized and exposed by the good Bishop, accompanied by the very words he used in his Pastoral Letter warning his priests and the faithful.
The Condemnation of the Doctrine Promoted by the Cursillo.
1. Censures of Practices Consecrated by the Church. Without mentioning their names the rollo on Habitual Grace in fact censures St. Simeon Stylites, who spent a good part of his life on top of a column, and St. Aloysius Gonzaga, singularly praised for great modesty in the mortification of his eyes. And the topic concludes saying that, "it is possible that there may have been saints who were strange; however, they were saints in spite of being strange." (Emphasis in original).
2. Strange Humanism. ...it is inculcated that Jesus came to this world only to give to Man a more abundant life, with two expressions that we stress---only for this and for nothing else---which tend to create in the hearers the conviction that God Incarnate, Jesus Christ, is exclusively at the service of Man, of his perfection and his plenitude.
3. Teilhardian Conception of the World. [the Cursillo] is not clear and opens the way to a Teilhardian interpretation, according to which the design of God turns to the maximum development of the energies of the world, for the benefit of human dignity, of fraternal union, and of freedom. ..Teilhard de Chardin is an author very well received in Cursillo circles, not only to provide a basis for opinions, but also for the doctrinal formation of the members of the [Cursillo] Movement. (N.B. All the works of heretic Fr. de Chardin were censured by the Supreme Sacred Congregation of the Holy Office and are forbidden to be kept or used in any Catholic institution of learning, especially seminaries---Introibo).
4. Experience Exalted over Intellectual Faith. In fact, they [Cursillo] insist on experience, lively contact, enthusiastic attraction, as a means of attracting souls to Jesus Christ, more than on the role of the intellectual knowledge of Revelation...Such a manner of understanding conversion at least minimizes the role of intelligence, forgetting the teachings of the First Vatican Council cited above.
5. A Morally Dangerous De-emphasis on Sin. ...the rollos cause the same impression, that is, there is the fear of presenting sin in its hideousness. Not a word is spoken about "entertainment, dances, relationships, marriage, etc." One must ask: what is left to be discussed? Therefore, we find Cursillos very deficient on this point, which is fundamental for the formation in the faithful of a truly Catholic morality.
6. The "Priesthood of All Believers." ...an indiscriminate application is made to priests and laymen, of the granting of the Apostolic Mission made by Jesus Christ and contained in the words of St. Matthew, "go, therefore, teach ye all nations," whereas Tradition understands it as being applied to the Apostles and their successors.
7. The Promotion of Communism. [Cursillo teachings] are related to basic elements of Marxism:
- the foundation of a new structure, of a new humanity, is of an economic nature
- peace demands this new order, and it is achieved through revolution
- it may be violent, if it cannot be carried out peacefully
- "the regime of property should be transformed by a vigorous intervention of public authority, national and international"
With good foundation, therefore, we call your attention to the communizing danger that may be spread through the Cursillos, even when they gather together individuals who are against Marxist principles and conclusions...We do not wish to think that Cursillos are at the service of Marxism. We ask, however, beloved sons: who would benefit from a Catholic organization that, in its publications, would mix orthodox material with other material that is obviously Marxist?
Is it any wonder that the Vatican II sect clergy are getting more radical than ever? As more dioceses promote these retreats, the more they will cement Modernism in their sect and society. The true doctrine of Christ's One True Church does not need to deceive people and rely on psychological manipulation to win converts. The fact that Cursillos do this means they can be neither good nor true; as has been amply demonstrated. You must warn anyone who wants to go on one of these evil retreats.
"For the time will come when people will not put up with sound doctrine. Instead, to suit their own desires, they will gather around them a great number of teachers to say what their itching ears want to hear. They will turn their ears away from the truth and turn aside to myths. But you, keep your head in all situations, endure hardship, do the work of an evangelist, discharge all the duties of your ministry." (2 Timothy 3-5).