Tag Archives: vow of celibacy


Jesus asked him, saying, ‘What is your name?’ And he said, ‘Legion,’ because many demons had entered him” (Luke 8: 30).

Christians (and those calling themselves Christian) can be their own worst enemies. The Legion of Christ is an illustration.

Marcial Maciel, the Catholic priest who founded the infamous Legion, fathered three children despite his vow of chastity [1] and sexually abused seminarians.

William Izquierdo, a Legion of Christ supervisor who oversaw the training of priests, is acknowledged to have molested at least one minor [2].  In total, thirty five Legion priests have been accusing of raping children (nine of these found guilty at internal church trials).

Another prominent Catholic priest in the Legion of Christ, Thomas Williams, also, fathered a child.  Despite this, Williams — a moral theologian — had no compunction about authoring a book titled, “Knowing Right from Wrong:  A Christian Guide to Conscience”.

Williams’ superior was aware of the child, but took no action. Who else in the Catholic Church hierarchy may have known is unclear.

There is one more twist to this sordid tale. Mary Ann Glendon, an advisor to Pope Francis, and former US Ambassador to the Holy See, defended the Legion of Christ in the face of credible reports about the pedophilia. It is Glendon’s daughter who gave birth to Williams’ child, a fact one suspects may have colored the Ambassador’s opinion of the Legion.

The public can hardly be blamed for finding all this revolting. It has been grounds for many to turn away from organized religion.

Devout Christians will tell you that mankind’s tendency to sin is the very reason we need a Savior. Many so called Christians, unfortunately, wrap themselves in this principle the way some people wrap themselves in the flag:  to cover negative motivation.  For them it represents expiation, albeit without repentance.

Those two – expiation and repentance – cannot be severed from each other. Forgiveness is dependent on contrition (Luke 17: 3-4)…something that for many years seems to have escaped the leadership of the Catholic Church [3].

[1] A large number of people look down upon the vow of chastity today. But having committed to a state of celibacy before God, Catholic priests are under an obligation to adhere to their oath.

[2] The vow of chastity does not “exempt” child molestation. Nor is it a justifiable motive for child molestation.

[3] Pope Francis has announced that a commission will be formed on the sexual abuse of children by priests.  The Survivors Network of Those Abused by Priests (SNAP) views this commission as a diversion.  SNAP takes the position that exhaustive documentation on abuse by priests already exists which the Catholic Church has not turned over to civil authorities.


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Filed under Abuse of Power, Child Abuse, Christianity, Justice, Religion, Sexual Abuse