Forget the Da Vinci Code

Here is a real scandal, in the old scandalize-the-faithful sense.

The Vatican cautiously acknowledged today long-standing allegations of sexual abuse by the founder of prominent Catholic community, asking him to give up his public ministry in favor of a quiet life of "prayer and penitence."

The announcement marked the first public action by Pope Benedict XVI on the sensitive issue of sexual abuse in the church. And it came against a priest with a particularly high profile: the Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, 86, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, one of the fastest growing Catholic communities, praised often by Pope John Paul II.

(That was the New York Times’  main story online, by the way.) Not surprisingly, it was our man in the Vatican, the irreplaceable John Allen, who broke the news the other day.

Capping a decade-long on-again, off-again investigation of accusations of sexual abuse, the Vatican has asked Fr. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the founder of the Legionaries of Christ, to observe a series of restrictions on his ministry.

In effect, Vatican sources told NCR this week, the action amounts to a finding that at least some of the accusations against the charismatic 86-year-old Mexican priest are well-founded.

The Vatican statement is here. (For the record, I think the Pope’s measured decision was the right one.) The response of the Legionaries, one of the fastest-growing new religious orders, is here.



Filed under Readings in Religion

2 responses to “Forget the Da Vinci Code

  1. Resty

    John, what exactly is the alleged crime of Padre Degollado? Pedophilia? I agree with you. It’s best to deal with these things out in the open.

  2. Resty

    One type of pedophilia the Church must screen for is ephebophilia, sexual attraction of gay old men to teenage boys. You can just imagine the tension inside a seminary or monastery if a priest has this.

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