January 25, 2005

Catholic Leader Steps Down

Hartford Courant

January 25, 2005
By GERALD RENNER, Special to The Courant

The Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado, the subject of a Vatican investigation into accusations of sexual abuse, has stepped down as head of the Rome-based religious order Legionaries of Christ.

Maciel declined to accept re-election as general director of the order, which he founded in Mexico in 1941. The order's U.S. headquarters is in Orange, Conn., and it has a seminary in Cheshire.

Maciel, 84, cited his age and his "desire to see the congregation flourish under a successor" at a meeting of his order in Rome last week, according to Zenit, an Internet news service operated by the Legionaries.

No mention was made of the Vatican's recent reopening of an investigation into charges that Maciel had sexually abused young boys who were in his seminaries years ago. The allegations first surfaced in a Courant report in February 1997. Nine former members of the Legion said that Maciel had abused them when they were young boys or teenagers, aged 10 to 16, in seminaries in Spain and Italy.

Maciel's decision to decline re-election had no connection to the reports that the Vatican has reopened the investigation, a spokesman for the order told The Associated Press in Rome on Monday.

Posted by kshaw at January 25, 2005 08:12 AM