Legionaries of Christ Investigation | Another New Sex Abuse Scandal

Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, founder of the Legion of Christ, at the Vatican in a November 2004 file photo. The late pope once called Maciel “an efficacious guide to youth.”The Vatican has completed its first phase investigation into the Legionaries of Christ, a conservative order once lauded by the Church in Rome but then disgraced when it became known that its founder had fathered a child and molested seminarians.

The Vatican said Tuesday its five investigators have completed their initial examination into the Legionaries 120 seminaries, schools and communities around the globe, and that a final report would still take several months for Rome to complete.

The Legionaries was formed in 1941 and became one of the most influential and fastest-growing orders in the Roman Catholic Church. Pope John Paul II championed the group, which became known for its orthodox theology, military-style discipline, fundraising prowess and success recruiting priests at a time when seminary enrollment was generally dismal. via AP

The group says it now has some 800 priests and 2,600 seminarians worldwide, along with 75,000 Regnum Christi members.

The timing of the report coincides with the newest sex scandals in Germany and the Netherlands, following quickly on the calls for Ireland’s top Catholic official Cardinal Sean Brady to resign.

On a separate note, the Vatican is claiming — an opinion only with scandals still forthcoming — that sex abuse within the Catholic church is less than in society at large. Accusations that the Vatican should be held to a higher standard are unfair and are an attempt to target the Catholic hierarchy for special condemnation, according to Vatican officials.

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Vows of Silence| Marciel, the Legion of Christ, and Regnum Christi