January 25, 2005

Catholic order head quits as abuse probe to open


By Catherine Bremer

MEXICO CITY (Reuters) - The Mexican founder of an ultra-conservative Roman Catholic order has resigned after 63
years as its leader just as the Vatican is opening an investigation into allegations he sexually abused former members.

Marcial Maciel, 84, who was warmly praised by Pope John Paul II on the 60th anniversary of his ordination in
November, stepped down as leader of the Rome-based Legion of Christ last week, citing his age, according to the
group's web site on Monday.

He will be replaced by another Mexican priest, 47-year-old Alvaro Corcuera, rector of the Legion Seminary in Rome
and a consultant to the Vatican's Congregation for Bishops.

The resignation came a few weeks after Vatican prosecutor Martha Wegan said she would look into the case of a
group of former Legionaries of Christ who accused Maciel in 1997 of sexually abusing them decades ago when they
were teenagers.

Posted by kshaw at January 25, 2005 01:38 AM