A telegenic American priest, widely known for his media commentary from Rome on popes, prayer and personal morality, has publicly acknowledged having an affair and fathering a child — the latest jolt to hit his scandal-torn religious order, the Legionaries of Christ.
The priest, the Rev. Thomas D. Williams, apologized in a statement on Tuesday “for this grave transgression” and “to everyone who is hurt by this revelation.” He said he would take a year off from public ministry to reflect on his transgressions and his “commitments as a priest” — a decision he said he made with his superiors.
Father Williams was the most visible American member of the Legionaries, a powerful and conservative Roman Catholic religious order that has been in turmoil since 2006, when its charismatic founder was banished by the Vatican to a life of prayer and penance.
The order’s founder, a Mexican priest na...
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