Posts Tagged ‘rome’

The Catholic church has had a tough week. And on Pentecost, too!

Rome was rocked by yet another in a series of scandals, as it emerged that Father Thomas Williams, the public face of the Legionaries of Christ, a religious order begun in 1941, fathered a child that the Church attempted to keep secret for at least the past 7 years.

The Legionaries suffered a similar humiliation back in 2009, when it was revealed that their founder, Father Marcial Maciel, had lead a double life throughout his association with the Church, and was not only a pedophile and drug addict, but started two families that he concealed from the Holy See.

Father Thomas Williams, an American based in Rome who has made numerous speeches and written several books on Christian morality, was allowed to continue his public ministry by the current leader of the order, Father Alvaro Corcuera, even after his illegitimate child was revealed.

Father Corcuera stated that he found out about Williams’s child “early in [his] new assignment” as leader of the order, in 2005. Although Corcuera had urged Williams to “start withdrawing from public ministry”, critics and activist groups charge that such a recommendation was not severe enough.

One such group, named the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (SNAP), released a statement calling strongly on the Pope to fire Corcuera, saying:

“Virtually nothing will change if the Pope and other Church officials continue to let their colleagues and underlings act recklessly and deceitfully – year after year after year – and get by with saying, when they’re caught, ‘Oops, sorry, I goofed.'”

The Legionaries scandal comes on the heels of the arrest of Pope Benedict’s personal butler on charges of spying. The butler, Paolo Gabriele, is accused of contributing to an enormous dump of classified information, since dubbed “Vatileaks”, which revealed internal financial corruption and bickering about money.

Additionally, it was reported last week that the chief Vatican exorcist, appointed by Pope John Paul II, has implicated the Church in the unsolved murder of a 15-year-old girl, allegedly to cover up regular orgies participated in by high-level Church officials.

The Vatican has yet to officially respond to each allegation.


The Vatican’s chief exorcist, appointed by Pope John Paul II, claims that the unsolved murder of 15-year-old Emanuela Orlandi, a case dating back to 1983, can be traced to underground sex parties organized for high-ranking members of the Catholic Church.

Father Gabriele Amorth alleges that at that time, regular orgies were organized by the a former archivist at the Holy See, monsignor Simeone Duca, as well as the Vatican gendarme (private security force) at the behest of Vatican officials. He states:

“Parties were organized, with a Vatican gendarme acting as the ‘recruiter’ of the girls. The network involved diplomatic personnel from a foreign embassy to the Holy See. I believe Emanuela ended up a victim of this circle.”

This is not the first time Father Amorth has ruffled sacerdotal feathers with his outspoken opinions. In 2010 he commented that the sexual scandals rocking Rome were proof that “the Devil was at work in the Vatican.”

The Orlandi case has stymied Italian police for nearly 30 years. Just last month, acting on an anonymous tip, they opened the coffin of notorious Italian gangster Enrico De Pedis, buried in Sant’Apollinare basilica near the center of Rome, in search of Emanuela’s remains. Bones found inside the tomb were tested and proven to belong to someone other than De Pedis, and DNA testing is currently underway to determine whether or not they’re Orlandi’s.

Father Amorth dismisses such notions, however. He remains convinced that after Emanuela was recruited to perform at a Vatican sex party, she subsequently fell victim to the criminal appetites of various Church officials:

“This was a crime with a sexual motive…I have motives to believe that this was just a case of sexual exploitation. It led to the murder and then the hiding of her body. Also involved are diplomatic staff from a foreign embassy to the Holy See.”

The Vatican has offered no comment on Father Amorth’s allegations, though they maintain that they have always complied with any official request regarding the Orlandi case.