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Legion leaders regret not acting sooner in Fr. Williams case


Leaders of the Legionaries of Christ have apologized for not acting more quickly in the case of Father Thomas Williams, who acknowledged on May 15 that he fathered a child several years ago.

In a statement published on its website, the Legionaries said the priest’s superiors “suggested to Fr. Thomas to act in an appropriate way and to withdraw himself from public appearances … Nevertheless, it would have been better to act faster and more forcefully.”

“The General Director and his council are deeply sorry for not having acted earlier and more firmly, and they assume the responsibility and ask pardon for not having done everything possible to limit the scandal,” the order said.

It was out of concern for “the legitimate interests of all concerned, especially the privacy of the mother and child,” that the facts were not made public earlier, according to the statement.

Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, the papal delegate appointed to oversee the order’s reform efforts in 2010, told Reuters he “only heard about it this year,” when he was informed several months ago.

In its statement, the Legionaries said the papal delegate had helped them to “sort out difficult issues like this.” They also stated that future cases of a similar kind will be handled “with canonical firmness.”

In the case of Fr. Williams, the order says it knows of “no other inappropriate relationships.”

Known for his numerous books and frequent television appearances, Fr. Williams apologized on Tuesday for the events that took place “a number of years ago.” He has withdrawn from public ministry for a year “to reflect on the wrong I have done and my commitments as a priest.” [More]





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