There has been a new shocking revelation carried by several major news agencies including A.P, ABC, USA Today and others that Rev. Thomas Williams, one of the Legion’s most prominent and best known priests, (a “poster Boy” Legionary) who has been an author, lecturer, TV personality and teacher of moral theology has publicly admitted that he fathered a child several years ago.
Williams’ admission was reported by Nicole Winfield of the Associated Press.
The admission was made after allegation against Williams had been made by a Spanish Association of Legionary Victims. The association’s accusations, sent to the Legion and later the Vatican several weeks ago, also named other Legion priests accused of sexually abusing minors.
Based on the account written by John Allen of the National Catholic Reporter Click Here for NCR account out of what he described as “respect for the privacy of the woman and her child,”? Father Williams declined to identify the woman or provide other details. (Note that Father Williams referred to the child as “her child” not “our child”).
The NCR article stated that Father William’s revelation immediately raised questions about when the Legionary superiors knew of the existence of the child, given that the birth occurred several years ago. A Legion spokesman said the order had decided not to disclose that information.
On a Spanish speaking website La Asociacion de Ayuda a los Afectados por las Enseanzas del Grupo Religioso Legionarios de Cristo (Association To Assist Those Who Have Been Affected By The Legionaries of Christ, the association claims that they (not the Legion) were the ones who passed the names of the alleged Legionary pedophile priests on to the Vatican. According to the above site, they first reported this information to Alvaro Corcuera two years ago and after he took no action, they later referred it to Cardinal Velasio DePaolis, the Vatican Delegate. When neither of them did anything about it they next reported it directly to the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and only then was any action taken.
Based on a report of the story by The Star Online Click Here Cardinal DePaolis was quoted as saying “I found out about it this year.” When asked to clarify if he meant since the beginning of this year he responded “yes”.
ReGAIN feels that this story is significant for several reasons.
Since 2009, the Legion has tried to give the impression that their founder, Father Marcial Maciel who led a double life was the sole source of the deception and duplicity in the Legion. Recent events including the stories of abusive Legionary priests serve to indicate that not much has changed in this regard since the death of the Legionary founder.
The Legion is undergoing a period of reform but based on the various reports, it is evident that they had known about Father Williams’ child for some time, yet decided to keep it quiet and to allow him to continue his work as a moral theologian, lecturer and author, (including a book entitled “Knowing Right From Wrong”), teaching morality to seminarians and speaking publicly about ethics. The Spanish victims’ group did not specify how long Cardinal DePaolis knew about it but it seems they gave up on him eventually and felt the need to report directly to the CDF to get action. Was Cardinal DePaolis shielded from the truth by the Legion hierarchy? Or did he know but failed to follow through? In either case, the imagery is bad considering that the same Legionary leaders even during a renewal with a cardinal overseeing them are using the same deceptive tactics to cover up for the sexual sins of one of their most prominent moral teacher.
The choice of words “her child” by Father Williams is offensive because his wording indicates a lack of concern and responsibility for his own child. Legionary moral theology instruction seems to be based on a “do as we say but not as we do” philosophy.
Image Property of The Associated Press