January 07, 2005

Lawyer says Vatican may review complaints against Legionaries' head

Catholic News Service

By Jerry Filteau
Catholic News Service

WASHINGTON (CNS) -- A previously dormant case against Legionaries of Christ founder Father Marcial Maciel Degollado could be reopened at the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, a Vatican lawyer said in a letter to three former Legionaries who accuse the priest of molesting them when they were minors.

"It seems to me that now the case is being taken seriously," Martha Wegan said in a letter to the men who made the accusations. Wegan is a staff attorney for the Holy See who specializes in cases involving church law.

Catholic News Service obtained a copy of her letter after Gerald Renner, who broke the original story of the accusations in the United States in 1997, reported on the possible reopening of the case Jan. 3 in The Hartford (Conn.) Courant.

In a statement in response to a CNS inquiry, the Legionaries' U.S. spokesman, Jay Dunlap, said, "The Legion of Christ is not aware that the Congregation for the Doctrine of Faith has taken in the past or is now taking any action regarding accusations against its founder."

Posted by kshaw at January 7, 2005 01:47 PM