Over the last eight decades, 33 priests of the Legionaries of Christ order, a Mexican branch of the Roman Catholic Church, sexually molested 175 minors, said a report. According to the internal report published on ceroabusos.org, late Father Marcial Maciel, who died in 2008 at the age of 87, had admitted abusing at least 60 children.
Apart from Maciel, five of the other 32 paedophile priests are dead, eight of them have left the priesthood and one has left the order. However, rest of the 18 are still members, the Legionaries said in a statement. “Of the 18 who remain: 4 of them have ministerial restrictions, which include a safety plan and no pastoral contact with minors and 14 have no public priestly ministry,” the report read. The murky details of the report claimed that 14 of the 33 paedophile priests have been the victims of abuse themselves, setting the chain of victims turning into aggressors.
According to the statement, the majority of the victims were adolescent boys between 11 and 16 years old. The report also hinted that there can be more cases of child abuse and the statistics will have to be updated frequently. For years, the Vatican kept a blind eye on the reports of child abuse and dismissed allegations against Maciel. There have been several allegations that churches protect paedophile priests and keep law enforcement agencies in dark.
“The Congregation wants to make known the results of this study in order to bring together all its members and collaborators in the effort to eradicate child sexual abuse and to ensure a culture of protection and care for minors,” read the document claiming that ‘reparation and reconciliation’ of 45 victims is underway.
Recently, Australia’s federal and state attorneys agreed to standardise laws making it mandatory for priests to report child abuse revealed during confessions. The agreement among the top attorneys was based on the three principles for the laws, recommended after the final report of the Royal Commission into Institutional Responses to Child Sexual Abuse. Attorneys, in a communique published after the meeting, said that confessional privilege cannot be relied upon to avoid child protection or criminal obligation to report beliefs, suspicions or knowledge of child abuse.