A telegenic American priest, widely known for his media commentary from Rome on popes, prayer and personal morality, has publicly acknowledged having an affair and fathering a child — the latest jolt to hit his scandal-torn religious order, the Legionaries of Christ.
The priest, the Rev. Thomas D. Williams, apologized…“for this grave transgression” and “to everyone who is hurt by this revelation.” He said he would take a year off from public ministry to reflect on his transgressions and his “commitments as a priest” — a decision he said he made with his superiors…Is that a paid sabbatical?
The order’s founder, a Mexican priest named Marciel Maciel Degollado, died in 2008 amid revelations that he had sexually abused young seminarians, misappropriated money and fathered several children, some of whom say they were also victims of his sexual abuse. Only last Friday, the Legion acknowledged that seven of its priests are being investigated by the Vatican in connection with the sexual abuse of minors…
Jim Fair, a spokesman for the Legion, said the order had not paid any financial support to the child or the mother. He added that Father Williams was staying with his parents in Michigan and was recovering from cancer surgery.
…The Associated Press and The National Catholic Reporter broke the news on Tuesday after learning of allegations made by a Spanish association of Legion victims about multiple sexual improprieties by Father Williams.
Father Williams, who joined the Legion in 1985, was ordained a priest in 1994, and rose to become superior of the Legion’s general directorate in Rome. He is the author of many books on spirituality, including “Knowing Right From Wrong: A Christian Guide to Conscience,” and “The World as It Could Be: Catholic Social Thought for a New Generation…”
Susan Gibbs…a media consultant for Catholic organizations, said – “He really helped people understand how the church worked.”
Har. Got that part right!