Pope Clamps Down on Abusive Order

Founder had been a favorite of John Paul II
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted May 1, 2010 4:49 PM CDT
In this Nov. 30, 2004, file photo, then Pope John Paul II gives his blessing to late father Marcial Maciel Degollado.   (AP Photo/Plinio Lepri, File)
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(Newser) – Pope Benedict today took steps to rein in a controversial order of the Catholic Church that allowed sexual abuse to go on within its ranks for decades. The Vatican will assume control of the Legionaries of Christ, whose late founder, Marcial Maciel Degollado, was found to be a serial abuser. The case has been closely watched because Degollado, who brought in lots of new priests when the church most needed them, was a favorite of Pope John Paul II.

Benedict's move is his "most direct action on sexual abuse" since the scandal broke, reports his not-so-favorite paper, the New York Times. It's possible Benedict could dissolve the order altogether, and already critics are saying he should have done that in today's action. The Vatican will, however, examine the order's culture of secrecy that Degollado insisted upon.

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