Thy Kingdom Come!
Legionaries of Christ
May 15, 2012
To all Legionaries and Regnum Christi consecrated
It is with sadness that I send you this note,
especially at a time when we are experiencing renewed enthusiasm
for our mission within the Church. The last thing I
would wish is to add a fresh wound when older
wounds may not have healed fully.
Nevertheless, it is my duty
to inform you that Father Thomas Williams, LC, after consultation
with his superiors, will undergo a period of reflection, prayer
and atonement without public ministry, and has just issued the
“A number of years ago I had a relationship
with a woman and fathered her child. I am deeply
sorry for this grave transgression and have tried to make
amends. My superiors and I have decided it would be
best for me to take a year without active public
ministry to reflect on the wrong I have done and
my commitments as a priest. 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.”
I know that this will be
shocking news to you. In the wake of all that
we have been through as a Movement in the past
several years, it won’t surprise me if you are disappointed,
angry or feel your trust shaken once again.
has enriched the faith of so many through his teaching,
public speaking and writing, and has been a spiritual guide
for many in the Movement. That is what makes this
failing such a painful reminder that we are all frail
humans, in desperate need of God’s mercy.
I hope that you
will join me in praying for all those who have
been affected by his actions, and for Father Williams during
his time of prayer, penance and renewal of his priestly
Any further information is at the discretion of those
involved. We will support them in any decision they make.
Luis Garza, LC
Clarifications regarding the news
about Fr. Thomas Williams, L.C.
Concerning the news about Fr. Thomas
Williams, L.C., which he has made public with the territorial
directors of Italy and North America, the general directorate of
the Legionaries of Christ offers the following answers to some
questions that arise:
How does the church handle cases of
priests who have a child with an adult?
and the practice of the Church do not provide precise
and consistent disciplinary measures.
In some cases, the priest, on his
own initiative, may request dispensation from his priestly duties to
fulfill his natural duties towards the child or even to
form a family.
In other cases, the priest, repented of his
sin, may ask to continue exercising the priestly ministry. Then,
with his bishop or religious superior, he has to find
ways to provide adequate support to the child and the
mother of the child. In addition, one has to make
sure that repentance is deep and lasting and that the
future ministry of the priest is not a motive for
scandal or confusion among the faithful.
In the case of Fr.
Thomas, when did this relationship take place, when was the
child born and when did the superiors of the Legion
know about it?
In his statement, Fr. Thomas spoke of
"a number of years ago". We have no additional details
out of respect for the privacy of the mother and
Who is the woman?
We are respecting her privacy.
an abuse of authority? The woman was a student of
Who takes care of the child?
is being cared for, as required by natural law, but
we can’t disclose details.
Did Fr. Thomas have inappropriate relationships with
From what we know, there were no other
Has this has been reported to the authorities?
the moral seriousness of this transgression against the priestly vows,
it is not a case of abuse or a criminal
action. Therefore, such transgressions are not reported to civil authorities,
but it has been reported to the Papal Delegate.
case of Fr. Thomas, why was he not immediately removed
from his teaching and other public ministries, given that these
facts have occurred several years ago?
The superiors suggested to
Fr. Thomas to act in an appropriate way and to
withdraw himself from public appearances. They also accompanied him in
his reflection about his personal situation. Nevertheless, it would have
been better to act faster and more forcefully. The General
Director and his council are deeply sorry for not having
acted earlier and more firmly, and they assume the responsibility
and ask pardon for not having done everything possible to
limit the scandal.
Any case that might surfaces now will be
dealt with canonical firmness. The presence and the assistance of
the Papal Delegate has helped a lot to sort out
difficult issues like this.
Why was this not made public before?
We tried to take into account the legitimate interests of
all concerned, especially the privacy of the mother and child.
However, given the decision for Fr. Thomas to leave teaching
and take a time of reflection and penance, we all
agreed it was necessary to communicate this publicly, and so
did Fr. Thomas and the territorial directors.