Finally, after years of foot-dragging, the Vatican has confirmed what everybody knew has to be done: The Legionaries of Christ, the order founded by the late Fr Marcial Maciel, is to be fundamentally restructured.
VATICAN CITY — The Roman Catholic Church will overhaul the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ whose late founder Marcial Maciel was disgraced after abuse scandals, the Vatican said.
Maciel's "conduct... had consequences in the life and the structure of the Legion that are so serious as to require a journey of profound restructuring," a statement said.
Pope Benedict XVI will name an interim leader within weeks, said Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi. The move comes as the Church faces intense pressure to crack down on abusers and their protectors in the hierarchy.
"The pope is taking this case very seriously," Lombardi said.
The Church "has the firm resolve to accompany and help (the order) on the way to the purification it needs," the statement said.
The Mexican-born Maciel, who died in the United States in January 2008 aged 87, was accused of molesting eight seminarians and secretly fathering children.
Many members of the order had been unaware of Maciel's misconduct as he "created around him a defence mechanism that shielded him for a long time," said the Vatican.
"Uncovering the truth caused surprise and deep pain," it said.
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