In a statement published on its website, the Legionaries said the priest’s superiors â€œsuggested to Fr. Thomas to act in an appropriate way and to withdraw himself from public appearances â€¦ Nevertheless, it would have been better to act faster and more forcefully.â€
â€œThe 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,â€ the order said.
It was out of concern for â€œthe legitimate interests of all concerned, especially the privacy of the mother and child,â€ 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 â€œonly heard about it this year,â€ when he was informed several months ago.
In its statement, the Legionaries said the papal delegate had helped them to â€œsort out difficult issues like this.â€ They also stated that future cases of a similar kind will be handled â€œwith canonical firmness.â€
In the case of Fr. Williams, the order says it knows of â€œno other inappropriate relationships.â€
Known for his numerous books and frequent television appearances, Fr. Williams apologized on Tuesday for the events that took place â€œa number of years ago.â€ He has withdrawn from public ministry for a year â€œto reflect on the wrong I have done and my commitments as a priest.â€ [More]