Yesterday, the Associated Press reported that a now-disgraced, high profile Michigan Catholic priest refused to honor restrictions on his ministry that his supervisor instituted after the priest admitted secretly fathering a child.
He’s Fr. Thomas D. Williams of the controversy-ridden Legion of Christ. He’s a high profile, media-savvy Michigan native who now lives in a Detroit suburb with family, since he stepped down several days ago, after news outlets disclosed his past.
Fr. Williams belongs to a controversial Connecticut-based religious order and spoke last month at a retreat for women in Rhode Island even though his supervisors knew that he had broken his vows of celibacy and secretly fathered a child years earlier.
Yesterday, the AP reported that in 2005, Fr. Williams’ boss, Fr. Alvaro Corcuera asked Williams “to start withdrawing from public ministry” and five years later “placed restrictions on his ministry.” Then, two months ago, Corcuera gave Fr. Williams “explicit indication to fully withdraw from all public ministry.”
Now, Corcuera admits “these restrictions were not firm enough” and that he “was not diligent in setting proper restrictions and enforcing them.”
In a new statement released yesterday, Fr. Williams admitted he had resisted Corcuera's encouragement to keep a low profile.
The Legion is a cult-like Catholic group whose founder and long time head molested kids, including several he himself had fathered. Its US headquarters is in Cheshire CT.(203 271 0805).
From April 19-22, Fr. Williams spoke at a weekend retreat at Mater Ecclesiae College in Greenville, RI.
Fr. Williams is a shrewd, well-educated and well-spoken cleric. It’s possible that he may have met and sexually exploited a vulnerable woman in Rhode Island last month. And it’s possible he may have done the same with women in the Detroit area.
We urge Detroit Archbishop Allen Vigneron to use his vast resources to aggressively seek out anyone who may have seen, suspected or suffered any misdeeds by Fr. Williams. It’s important that church officials, when they learn of a wrongdoer, try to find and help others who he may have hurt.