May. 19 (CWNews.com) - The founder of the Legionaries of Christ, Father Marcial Maciel Degollado, has been removed from priestly ministry and asked to spend his remaining days in "penitence and prayer," the Vatican has announced.
A Vatican statement released on May 19, responding to a report posted the previous day in the National Catholic Reporter, confirmed rumors that had circulated around Rome for several weeks. After a lengthy inquiry into allegations of sexual abuse, the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (CDF) reached a final judgment against Father Maciel in March. Although that decision was not initially made public, the Vatican press office confirmed the substance of the National Catholic Reporter account.
The CDF decided-- "bearing in mind Father Maciel's advanced age and delicate health"-- not to pursue a canonical trial, the Vatican statement indicated. Instead the Mexican priest was barred from celebrating Mass or speaking in public. The Vatican statement noted: "The Holy Father approved these decisions."