Category: Legionaries of Christ

Vatican Disciplines Founder of Order Over Abuse Charges

ROME, May 19 — The Vatican announced Friday that it had disciplined the most prominent priest to be accused of sexual abuse, taking a step that Pope John Paul II had long resisted. Without addressing specific allegations, the Vatican statement said the priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, 86, the founder of the conservative Legionaries of Christ, had been asked to give up his public ministry in favor of a quiet life of “prayer and penitence.” But in veering so close to a finding of guilt, the decision was widely seen as a defining moment for Pope Benedict XVI on

Man Says Religious Order Misled Him

The state’s attorney general is investigating the complaint of an elderly Stratford man that a controversial Roman Catholic religious order gained title to his home through misrepresentations and by exerting undue influence. John T. Walsh Jr., 79, lodged his complaint against the Legionaries of Christ, based in Orange, with the public charities unit of the attorney general’s office. “Under charity law there is an exception for religious charities but there is law protecting senior citizens. We will look into these issues to determine whether there were any violations,” Attorney General Richard Blumenthal said. The Legion says Walsh’s decision to transfer

Legionaries of Christ elect successor

VATICAN CITY – The Legionaries of Christ have elected a successor to the Mexican priest who has headed the embattled religious order since its founding 64 years ago. The Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, 84, declined re-election, but a spokesman for the order said the decision had no tie to recent reports that the Vatican has reopened an investigation into allegations that Degollado sexually abused seminarians. The accusers – two Mexican-Americans, five Mexicans and two Spaniards, one now deceased – have tried for years to call their accusations to the attention of Pope John Paul II. Maciel and the order have

Controversial Priests Tapped for Jerusalem Center

Pope John Paul II has awarded control of an important Catholic cultural center in Jerusalem to a controversial, right-wing priestly order whose founder has been accused of sexual abuse. The order, the Legionaries of Christ, received the administrative keys to the Jerusalem landmark, the Notre Dame Center, in a festive ceremony at the Vatican on November 30. The ceremony was part of a weeklong Vatican celebration marking the 60th anniversary of the entry into the priesthood of the order’s Mexican-born founder, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, 84. In an unusual twist, a church legal official disclosed less than a week later

Catholic Leader Steps Down

Founder Of Order Under Vatican Probe The Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the subject of a Vatican investigation into accusations of sexual abuse, has stepped down as head of the Rome-based religious order Legionaries of Christ. Maciel declined to accept re-election as general director of the order, which he founded in Mexico in 1941. The order’s U.S. headquarters is in Orange, Conn., and it has a seminary in Cheshire. Maciel, 84, cited his age and his “desire to see the congregation flourish under a successor” at a meeting of his order in Rome last week, according to Zenit, an Internet news

Vatican to reopen case against Maciel

A canon lawyer representing eight former members of the Legionaries of Christ who filed pedophilia charges in 1998 against the order’s founder, Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, recently informed the men that a Vatican prosecutor has agreed to reopen the dormant case. Martha Wegan, a canonist who works at the Holy See, informed Arturo Jurado and José Barba of Mexico, and Juan Vaca, of Holbrook, N.Y., of the development in a Dec. 2 letter, barely a week after Pope John Paul II publicly praised Maciel and entrusted the Legion with the administration of Jerusalem’s Notre Dame Center. “It seems to me

Minnesota archbishop bars Legionaries from his archdiocese

WASHINGTON (CNS) — In a letter made public by an Internet posting in December, Archbishop Harry J. Flynn of St. Paul-Minneapolis informed parish heads that the Legionaries of Christ are “not to be active in any way in the archdiocese.” He also instructed them that the Legionaries’ lay associate movement, Regnum Christi, is to be “kept completely separate from all activities of the parishes and the archdiocese.” The lay organization should not be allowed to use parish or archdiocesan property for any meeting or program, he said. The St. Paul-Minneapolis Archdiocese is not the first to bar the Legionaries, a