Loading
Legion priest seeks to leave ministry to care for child
Fr. Thomas D. Williams L.C.
Fr. Thomas D. Williams L.C.
Facebook Twitter Google+ Pinterest Addthis

.- Prominent U.S. priest Father Thomas Williams has asked Pope Francis to dispense him from his priestly obligations in order to care for the child he fathered and the child's mother.

Fr. Williams wrote Fr. John Connor, assistant for apostolate for the North American Territory of Regnum Christi, the lay branch of the Legion of Christ. He said that he had come to “the serene conviction that what God expects of me now is to devote myself to caring for my child and his mother.”

“By responsibly and lovingly accepting the consequences of my actions, I will continue to serve God and his Church. I know I should be with my son and try to be the kind of father he needs,” Fr. Williams said, according to a May 10 blog post by Fr. Connor.

The priest had served as a theology and ethics professor at the Legion of Christ’s Regina Apostolorum University in Rome. He authored many books and came to prominence as a faith and religion analyst for CBS News and a Vatican analyst for NBC News and Sky News. He served as theological adviser for Mel Gibson’s 2004 film “The Passion of the Christ.”

In May 2012 Fr. Williams admitted a relationship with a woman “a number of years ago” in which he fathered a child. He said he was “deeply sorry for this grave transgression.” The Legion of Christ asked Fr. Williams to leave public ministry for a year for prayer and penance to discern his future.

Legion of Christ leaders had learned of the priest’s situation in the mid-2000s. In May 2012, the Legion apologized for not acting more quickly in response.

In his blog post, Fr. Connor said Fr. Williams’ kind of decision is “not easy.”

“We all balance success and failure, joy and sorrow in our lives. None of us escapes sin and the need to ask forgiveness,” he said.

Fr. Connor voiced appreciation for Fr. Williams’ “friendship ... wisdom and counsel.”

Jim Fair, communications director of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi, said both associations are “grateful for the many contributions” the priest made in his time with the congregation.

“We continue to accompany him with our prayers and fraternal support wishing him the best in the years ahead,” Fair said May 10.

Priests' requests to leave the priesthood are rarely approved.

However, Pope Francis in a book authored before he became Pope said that he encourages priests who have fathered a child to leave their ministry and take care of the child, even if they do not marry the woman.

“Because just as the child has a right to have a mother, the child also has the right to the face of a father,” he said in his 2010 book “On Heaven and Earth,” which was released in an English translation last month.

The Legion of Christ is presently under the oversight of Vatican officials in the aftermath of revelations in 2009 that its founder Fr. Marciel Maciel fathered a child out of wedlock and had sexually abused children.

Tags: Legion, Priesthood

Ads by AdsLiveMedia(What's this?)

* The number of messages that can be online is limited. CNA reserves the right to edit messages for content and tone. Comments and opinions expressed by users do not necessarily reflect the opinions or beliefs of CNA. CNA will not publish comments with abusive language, insults or links to other pages

RESOURCES »

Ads by Google (What's this?)
Ads by Google

Featured Videos

Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Little Sisters of the Poor press conference in Denver
Family thrilled to see Pope Francis in Istanbul
Syrian Refugee, Sara, 14, Before Meeting Pope
Ebola orphans thousands of children in West Africa
One year after Haiyan: Philippines rebuilds homes, lives
An Indian contribution to the Vatican's Synod on the Family
Christ Cathedral CNA video Sept 2014
Alejandro Bermudez of CNA accepts ice bucket challenge
'The Real Albania,' remembering those who fled
Pope Francis in Albania, "one of the most important visits of the post-communist era in Albania"
Pope Francis greets paralyzed man who risked all to see him
Franciscans on the banks of the Tiber in Rome, working for the New Evangelization
Pilgrimage from Czech Republic to Assisi and Rome for intentions
Testimony of young Indian who met Pope in Korea
Preparations of the Closing Mass of 6th Asian Youth Day
Missionary of Charity, Korea
Testimony of Christian Love during Pope's Visit to Korea
Religious Sisters in South Korea react to Pope Francis kissing a baby
Warm atmosphere during Holy Mass at Daejeon World Cup Stadium
Images inside Pope Francis flight to South Korea
Dec
18

Liturgical Calendar

December 18, 2014

Advent Weekday

All readings:
Today »
This year »

Catholic Daily

Gospel of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Gospel
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14

Daily Readings


First Reading:: Jer 23: 5-8
Gospel:: Mt 1: 18-25

Saint of the Day

St. Romuald »

Saint
Date
12/15/14

Homily of the Day

Mt 21:23-27

Homily
Date
12/15/14
12/14/14
12/13/14