Background from Peter Stanford of the London Independent in an interview of Todd Carpunky from 2009:
That trip was the first public sign of the extraordinary bond between Maciel and the man in charge of a church of 1.2 billion souls. In the subsequent 26 years of John Paul’s reign, the Legion was regularly lauded by him for its unwavering fidelity to church teaching, its intolerance of dissent, and its conviction that only Catholicism could save the world.
Much has been made of the power wielded by the secretive Opus Dei under John Paul II, not least by Dan Brown in The Da Vinci Code, but many Vatican-watchers believe that the Legion of Christ was bigger, richer (annual budget £435m), more influential, and even more sinister.
Parents of youngsters recruited as Legionaries described it as a cult that targeted the young and naive in particular, some of them just 13, and then “brainwashed” them. But it is Maciel himself who has proved most controversial. Nuestro Padre was, according to one biographer, “a narcissistic sociopath” with a taste for flights on Concorde and five-star hotels. He is acknowledged by the Legion to have fathered at least one child – a 23-year-old daughter said to be called Norma Hilda and now living in Madrid.
It has also been alleged that he was a paedophile.
I am not one to think that the Catholic Church is the sole or even the main vessel for sexual dysfunction (and if you want dysfunction, read the rest of Stanford’s article). But I do think that false pride–the sense that some human beings are holier than others and have a right to judge the rest of us–is where a lot of this stumbling originates.
Now it turns out that the Legionaries have big trouble again. According to Deacon Keith Fournier:
…one of the legion’s most prominent and popular clerics, Fr Thomas Williams, LC, ThD, a moral theologian, announced his own moral failure. Fr Williams is widely known for his writing, speaking and commentary during numerous television appearances. (NBC,CBS and Sky News)
He has been a source for the major networks on the Vatican, as well as a “go to guy” for comments on the sexual abuse scandals over the last several years. Among his fourteen published books on Christian living and spirituality were Becoming the Christian You Want to Be and A Christian Guide to Conscience. His popular web site has now “gone dark”.
The Legionary Priest admitted on Tuesday, May 15, 2012, that he had fathered a child in the past.
The public focuses on the sex. While there is a real problem of very real individuals whose lives have been created and damaged by abuse, the bigger problem, as I see it, is that lying has become so accepted–not just in the Catholic Church, as Mitt Romney so well exemplifies, but everywhere. It’s simply more damaging when it occurs in the Church.
According to blogger Genevieve Kineke, Williams
has been a vocal advocate for the Legion “evidently while harboring his own `double life.’ Either his superiors knew this, and still allowed him to speak, or he abused his freedom knowingly and engaged in grave hypocrisy.”(Nicole Winfield, AP, on HuffPo
In other words, Kineke is saying, Williams engaged in systematic lies in order to cover up a past sin of his own.
Thomas Williams has apparently taken his website offline. More coverup. More lying.