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03 March 2016 | by Christopher Lamb

 
At one point the Legionaries of Christ were one of the most powerful orders in the Church. They had a seemingly never ending supply of well-turned out seminarians, an active lay branch and money – billions of dollars in fact – much of it raised by their founder Fr Marcial Maciel. The problem was that Maciel turned out to be an abuser of seminarians and a drug addict who secretly fathered six children, two of whom he is also believed to have abused. After this devastating news Benedict XVI ordered Maciel to live a life of prayer and penance and the order was placed into special measures. While some called for the Legion to be closed down, after a five-year renewal process the order – which has some powerful defenders in the Vatican – was allowed to continue. An




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