Pope Francis tells the New Leaders of the Disgraced "Legionaries of Christ" that Reform is not Over Yet

  • Pope Francis, on Saturday, told members of a disgraced religious order the Legionaries of Christ (whose founder Mexican priest Marcial Maciel is known as one of the most notorious pedophiles in the Roman Catholic Church) in a prepared speech that they must renounce the legacy of their founder. The speech released by the Vatican also said that the members of the order must acknowledge that their founder was a conman who sold the “illusion” of holiness but maintained a double life as a pedophile. Reports say that Maciel used to give huge contributions to the Vatican during John Paul’s papacy and in turn, the latter, as well as the Church conservatives, admired the orthodoxy of the Legionaries of Christ as well as its ability to produce vocations. An internal report published last December showed that Maciel had abused at least 60 boys, sexually abused children, and fathered secretly with at least two women. The Legionaries of Christ’s new leader 51-year-old American priest John Conner had said last Wednesday that the order will enact new norms to protect children. In his speech, Pope Francis said that “a change of mentality in individuals and an institution takes a long time to sink in.”