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Leader of Legionaries knew for years that priest had fathered child

Catholic World News - May 22, 2012

The leader of the Legion of Christ knew in 2005 that a prominent Legionary priest had fathered a child, but kept the affair secret until recently.

Father Alvaro Corcuera, the general director of the Legionaries, has admitted that he learned about the child of Father Thomas Williams in 2005, soon after he succeeded the Legionaries’ founder, the late Father Marcial Maciel, in his leadership role.

In a letter to Legion members, published on the web site of the troubled order, Father Corcuera concedes that he did not take effective disciplinary action in the case. He reveals:

I reviewed the situation with Fr. Williams, asking him to start withdrawing from public ministry. In May of 2010 I placed restrictions on his ministry. Unfortunately, these restrictions were not firm enough as he was not asked to leave teaching.

Father Williams, a popular author and television commentator, remained a highly visible public figure, as well as an instructor at the Pontifical Regina Apostolorum University, which is run by the Legion of Christ. Father Corcuera reports that he finally made the decision to remove Father Williams from public ministry in March of this year.

While admitting his failure in this case, the general director of the Legion sought to ensure members that such lapses would not be repeated. “More important than my failings is the need to reassure you that things are handled differently now,” he said, explaining that any reports of sexual misconduct are promptly and thoroughly investigated.

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  • Posted by: Savonarola - May. 25, 2012 12:15 PM ET USA

    We ought to see some reason and prudence here from the Vatican. The order has to be disbanded and its many good priests encouraged to go elsewhere.

  • Posted by: hartwood01 - May. 23, 2012 12:20 AM ET USA

    Is there no end to scandal this order perpetuates? I don't believe they will ever be disbanded.

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