The nightmare continues for the Legion of Christ.

The Legion needs to break away from an embarrassing past. Cardinal De Paolis is working hard to purify a body that has been tainted by some very serious misdoings

From Vatican Insider

There is no peace in the Legion which the Pope has placed under the supervision of the Pontifical delegate, Cardinal Velasio De Paolis. The process of “purification” wanted by Benedict XVI is shedding light on further abuses, offences and betrayals on the part of the religious order which had become one of the pillars of the universal Church, particularly the Latin American one, during Karol Wojtyla’s pontificate.

“All the new things that are emerging are showing that this issue will not simply be resolved by the order severing its ties with its founder because other representatives of the Legion are guilty of the same offences,” a qualified source told Vatican Insider. “All remaining irregularities need to be removed in order to save the majority within the Legion of Christ which did not have double standards.”

For a long time now, the pact of steel between the Legion’s leaders and some elders of the Roman Curia has guaranteed “extensive moral exemption” which Joseph Ratzinger put an end to the minute he was elected Pope. However, the recovery process is far from over, as has been proven by the latest scandals which have broken out in the order. Seven Legionaries of Christ are being investigated by the former Holy Office and in at least one of the cases, it was found that the abuse was committed recently.

According to the anti-paedophilia laws reinforced by Benedict XVI, suspected abuse cases are reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. But there is always trouble creeping round the corner for the Legion of Christ. On Wednesday, Fr. Thomas Williams released a shock statement in which he said: “A number of years ago I had a relationship with a woman and fathered her child. am deeply sorry for this grave transgression and have tried to make amends. My superiors and I have decided it would be best for me to take a year without active public ministry to reflect on the wrong I have done and my commitments as a priest. I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation, and I ask for your prayers as I seek guidance on how to make up for my errors.”

This revelation caused an outcry across the whole world. Fr. Williams is professor of theology and ethics as well as a well known member of the Legion of Christ in the United States. The order is trying to batten down the hatches as a vicious storm brews. “I know that this news is hard to take in for all of us and may leave us sad or discouraged,” the Italian Legion’s leader, Oscar Nader wrote in a letter to representatives of the Legion and to the lay movement Regnum Christi. “Seeing the good that a priest can do and then on the other hand witnessing human weakness, we cannot but strengthen our faith in God and rely more and more on His grace, so that we can be pushed to live our consecration to the Lord in the most graceful manner.”

What the Legion needs to do now is to break away from an embarrassing past. “The Legion of Christ hast the unyielding responsibility to gather and examine all accusations made against them, to be understanding towards potential victims and always show respect for the rights of those involved,” the order’s new leaders stated. “During the investigation carried out by civil authorities (if necessary), the previous canonical investigation and while the case is being studied by the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, directors of local branches and the general director have taken precautionary measures, narrowing down the ministry of the accused priest, because the protection of children and communities is a priority for the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, without nevertheless issuing a verdict,” leaders stated. The former Holy Office “also received some formal accusations in relation to acts which are not considered to be delicta graviora (major crimes such as paedophilia, Ed.),” the note read. “Some accusations of delicta graviora were made against Legionaries who, following (civil or canonical) investigations, were declared innocent.” So: “We urge everyone to respect and remember our brothers and particularly those affected, in prayer.” The founder of the Legion of Christ, Marcial Maciel Degollado had been forced by Benedict XVI to give up all pastoral responsibilities and activities after he was accused of abusing minors, including his own illegitimate children. The Church had been kept in the dark as to his children and his relations with a number of women. In 2006 Joseph Ratzinger sentenced him to a reserved life of prayer and penitence and after new scandals involving him emerged, the Pope first sent an Apostolic delegation and then decided to appoint a special pontifical delegate who has full control overt he order.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith which is competent in the field of the so-called delicta graviora is currently looking into cases of abuse against minors which are said to have been committed by members of the Legion of Christ, the Holy See’s spokesman, Fr. Federico Lombardi confirmed. He specified that “it was the competent ecclesiastical superiors directly,” who brought the cases in question to the Congregation’s attention.  “The competent ecclesiastical superiors did indeed follow the procedures required by law, bringing certain cases they learnt about, to the attention of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith. Most of these cases date back to a few decades ago,” the Vatican spokesman said. The Legion’s founder, the late Fr. Maciel, was even found to have abused his own children, tried by the Church and given a suspension a divinis.

The Legion of Christ was later on placed under the administration of an external commissioner and underwent an ecclesiastical inquiry. It looked as though the external commissioner was only going to stick around for a short period of time. In actual fact, however, there was still a great deal more to be resolved within the order. The nightmare is not yet over for the Legionaries. In the case of Fr. Thomas Williams, who had a relationship with an adult woman “the measures stipulated in canonical law and Church protocol – the Legionaries’ website states –are neither precise nor consistent.” The Legion recalled, that in these cases “the priest asked the Pope of his own accord for a dismissal from his priestly obligations so that he could assume his natural obligations to his son and possibly form a family. In other cases, priests repent for their sins and ask to carry on exercising their priestly ministry.

“With his bishop or religious superior,- the website read –  he has to find ways to provide adequate support to the child and the mother of the child. In addition, one has to make sure that repentance is deep and lasting and that the future ministry of the priest is not a motive for scandal or confusion among the faithful.” As everyone waits for the American priests take a decision regarding his own future, “The superiors suggested to Fr. Thomas to act in an appropriate way and to withdraw himself from public appearances. They also accompanied him in his reflection about his personal situation.”

This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink.

6 Responses to The nightmare continues for the Legion of Christ.

  1. toadspittle says:

    “The Legion needs to break away from an embarrassing past.”

    “Embarrasing” is not the mot juste here, thinks Toad.

    “Embarrassing” is when someone breaks wind while bowing to the Queen.
    Funny, but soon forgotten.

    “Irredeemable, or “Damnable,” or “Unspeakable, “would each seem rather more appropriate.
    How about “Pornographically Lurid,” Kathleen?
    Any other suggestions?

    Toad is beginning to think it’s all got something to do with “lurid” sadomasochistic, homoerotic images on crucifixes, and celibacy, and the like.
    He may be wrong.
    Something else certainly is.


  2. The Raven says:

    “Lurid” would be a pretty good description of your last paragraph, Toad.

    This situation is a tragedy for the good men of the Legion (who are in the great majority), it really doesn’t need to be puffed up into innuendo-strewn pop-psychology.

    If there are criminals in this or any other Church organisation they should be rooted out and prosecuted, but let’s not paint with an ordure-encrusted brush using good men’s reputations as our canvas.


  3. Jerry says:

    They all have the same haircut. It gives me the creeps. Sorry, it really does


  4. toadspittle says:


    “Lurid” would be a pretty good description of your last paragraph, Toad.

    Excellent! Something we both agree on, Raven!

    Trouble is, I suspect, that most Catholics are too close to the imagery around them to see it as an objective observer would.
    Toad was in that Catholic category as a boy. But, after keeping out of churches for about 45 years, when I came back I experienced a sort of culture shock.
    I realised how weird and morbid and plain gruesome so much of it is, or must look to others.
    Spain, of course is a big part of it. The faithful revel in life-size totally lifelike dead Christs in glass coffins, and life-size statues of him being flagellated by wicked Jews.
    Just run-of-the-mill stuff for us cradle Catholics, but you see my point?.

    And then, the Church undeniably does ‘enjoy’ (if that is the word) an unenviably extensive record in deviant sexual “issues,” shall we say?
    Considerably more cases than even its worst enemy might think, or hope?

    It’s not hard to see and/or make a connection. Even if it isn’t actually there.
    But I suspect it probably is. And yes, still only a tiny minority is involved.

    And yes, I might be wrong.

    Blatant haircutism from Jerry. Fie! They all look very “neat”!


  5. kathleen says:

    I totally agree with everything Raven says in his comment above.

    It is a sad fact that sin has consequences; and in this case it is the damage that this scandal does to the reputation of the great majority of faithful and innocent members of the Legion of Christ….. and also that of the whole Church. Without condoning or minimizing the terrible sins (of paedophilia especially), it is surely obvious to anyone that the percentage of culprits within the Legion is very very small. It is a real ‘crown of thorns’ that the rest of these good men of the Legion have to bear.

    Just go over to the biltrix to see some of their great ministry.

    BTW Toad, it was not the ‘wicked Jews’ who flagellated Jesus, but Roman soldiers.
    (Romans came over to UK and Ireland in subsequent centuries….. could even have been our ancestors!)


  6. toadspittle says:

    Toad agrees 100% with Kathleen that it was the Romans that did the dirty work.
    Nothing to do with the Jews. Charming people, even back then.
    But, round here, on the “pasos” (big floats that my neighbous in Sahagun lug around during Holy Week) the “whippers” look uncomfortably like Dickens’ Fagin.

    To put it mildly.

    Nip over and put the locals straight, Kathleen! They’d love it!

    “The percentage of culprits (in The Legion of Christ(!)) is very small..” says Kath.
    True enough. But let’s paraphrase Doctor Johnson a bit (he won’t care – he’s dead)

    “Catholic clergy committing acts of sexual obscenity is like a dog walking on its hinder legs. It is not done often, but you are surprised to find it done at all.”

    Does that make sense?
    Thought not. Oh, well. Interesting topic.


Leave a Reply

Please log in using one of these methods to post your comment: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s