May 20, 2006

Pope disciplines Legionaries' founder

El Diario

20 de Mayo del 2006
Actualizado: 12:19:45 AM hora de Cd. Juárez

Associated Press
VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI disciplined the founder of the conservative Legionaries of Christ, a favorite of Pope John Paul II who for decades has been dogged by sexual abuse allegations — effectively making the elderly prelate a priest in name only.

In its announcement Friday the Vatican did not say whether it had determined if the accusations against the 86-year-old Mexican priest, the Rev. Marcial Maciel, were true. But canon law experts said the Vatican would not have imposed such a severe penalty unless it found at least some validity to the complaints.

The Vatican said its Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith had "invited the priest to a reserved life of prayer and penance, renouncing every public ministry," — meaning he cannot celebrate Mass or other sacraments in public.

Maciel is the most prominent Catholic Church official to be disciplined by the Vatican for alleged involvement in child sexual abuse. In addition, it marks the first major abuse penalty approved by Benedict since he became pope last year, and shows he is not afraid pursuing prelates who enjoyed particular favor with Pope John Paul II.

Posted by kshaw at May 20, 2006 07:28 AM