May 20, 2006

Sex abuse allegations bring sanctions

Lexington Herald-Leader

VATICAN CITY - The Vatican said yesterday that it had asked the Mexican founder of the conservative order Legionaries of Christ to renounce celebrating public Masses and live a life of "prayer and penance" following its investigation into allegations he sexually abused seminarians.

The Legionaries said in a statement that the Rev. Marcial Maciel, while declaring himself innocent of charges spanning several decades, accepted the Vatican decision "with faith, complete serenity and tranquility of conscience."

Pope Benedict XVI approved the sanctions against Maciel -- making it the first major sexual abuse disciplinary case he has handled since taking office last year. The move was first reported Thursday by the U.S. newspaperAbuse Tracker .

The case is significant because Maciel is the most prominent Roman Catholic Church officials disciplined by the Vatican for alleged involvement in child sexual abuse. It is also noteworthy because Maciel was so warmly regarded by Pope John Paul II.

Posted by kshaw at May 20, 2006 07:18 AM