According to an internal report published on 21 December, the late founder of the Legionaries of Christ branch of the Roman Catholic Church, Father Marcial Maciel, admitted to sexually abusing at least 60 children, some as young as 12.
The report covers the period since Maciel founded the order in 1941 in Mexico, till this day. The order described the report as the Legionaries’ attempt “to confront their history”.
The Vatican previously strongly rejected accusations that Maciel had abused the minors. The report, however, says that over the last eight decades, 33 of its priests have sexually molested 175 children.
Of the 18 who remain: 4 of them have ministerial restrictions, which include a safety plan and no pastoral contact with minors and 14 have no public priestly ministry”, the order explained, and added that “the vast majority of the victims were adolescent boys between 11 and 16 years old”.
The report highlights the existence of “chains of abuse”, as nearly half of the abuser priests had been victims of abuse by the Legionaries.
“There are probably more cases of abuse than those in the report and the statistics will have to be updated regularly”, the order said, stressing that a process of “reparation and reconciliation” with 45 victims is already taking place.
“The Congregation wants to make known the results of this study in order to bring together all its members and collaborators in the effort to eradicate child sexual abuse and to ensure a culture of protection and care for minors”, the order concludes.
Last week, Pope Francis made a giant leap to fight silence surrounding pedophilia cases in the Vatican, by removing the pontifical secrecy rule in sex abuse cases.
New Europe / ABC Flash Point News 2019.