The Vatican has revealed that Rev. Thomas Williams had broken a sacred vow of celibacy years ago by fathering a child but still allowed him to speak publicly about religious ethics and teaching morality. Williams is a high profile American priest and former leader of the Legion of Christ.
One Vatican official who did not explain why there was no action taken against him, reported to Reuters that he learned of Williams breaking the vow a year ago, but Rev. Williams did not admit it until Tuesday.
“There is a need to be careful in cases like this,” said Spanish Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, who told Reuters he knew about Williams’ affair. “It concerns a private life. These things happen these days, unfortunately.”
“I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation, and I ask for your prayers as I seek guidance on how to make up for my errors,” Williams said.
Williams would not identify the mother or the child or say whether he was supporting either one. Meanwhile, The Legion of Christ order, who apologized for it lapse to discipline Williams and remove him from public speaking engagements when it first learned of the scandal, said the child was being taken care of.
Since his admission, Williams stated that he and his superiors agreed that he will take a year away from his ministry to reflect on his commitments as a priest.
Founded in 1941 by Marcial Maciel, the Legion of Christ has also been recently rocked by controversy when in 2006 Maciel was accused of being a pedophile and was removed from the ministry by the Vatican because of it. He later died in 2008 in Florida.