A well-known priest who has authored several books and appeared on TV programs to discuss morality, God, and Catholic teachings has revealed he fathered a child. The revelation by Father Thomas Williams, who's a dean of papal morality at a university in Rome, is a new blow to his controversial religious order, which is under investigation by the Vatican for suspected sex abuse of minors by at least seven priests. "I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation," said Williams in a statement. He plans to take a year's leave "to reflect on my commitments as a priest."
He said the affair with the mother of his child occurred "several" years ago, but offered no other details. Williams is a member of the Legionaries of Christ. The order was founded in 1941 by a Mexican priest Marcial Maciel, who was later accused of widespread sex abuse of teens, drug abuse, and of fathering multiple children with several women, reports ABC News. In 2006 Pope Benedict banned Maciel from active ministry, and ordered him to spend his retirement in "prayer and penitence," notes Reuters. The order's 800 priests and 2,600 seminarians run Catholic schools and charities in 22 countries.