Tuesday, May 15, 2012

Legionnaire Priest Fr. Thomas Williams Admits to Fathering a Child

Today Fr. Thomas Williams, LC, ThD has released a brief statement in which he admits to having a relationship with a woman and fathering a child. He will be taking a year away from public ministry. This is the statement in full:

"A number of years ago I had a relationship with a woman and fathered her child. I am deeply sorry for this transgression and have tried to make amends. My superiors and I have decided it would be best for me to take a year away without active public ministry to reflect on my commitments as a priest. I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation, and I ask for your prayers as I seek guidance on how to best move forward."
Although the two do not seem to be linked, this comes after news yesterday that some Legion of Christ priests are under Vatican investigation for seven allegations of sexual abuse, with most of the allegations concerning decades-old incidents.

'The Legion of Christ is firmly committed to receive and examine all accusations presented, reaching out to possible victims and always safeguarding the rights of all those involved,' the Legion said May 11. 'We invite everyone to pray for these brothers of ours and especially for the victims.'

In several countries the major superiors of the Legion of Christ have received allegations of 'gravely immoral acts' and other serious offenses committed by priests.

An internal investigation ruled that seven accusations of sexual abuse of minors by priests had a 'semblance of truth.' These allegations were then referred to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith for investigation.

One allegation of the abuse of minors concerns a recent event, while the others are 'from decades ago.'

The relevant territorial directors and the general director of the Legion have applied 'precautionary measures.

The Legion of Christ has undergone turmoil after revelations that its founder, Fr. Marcel Maciel, lived a double life, sexually abused seminarians, and fathered children.

It is presently under the supervision of Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, who was appointed by Pope Benedict to oversee reform of the order.

Fr. Williams has been a frequent guest on Ave Maria Radio and is a Catholic priest and professor of theology and ethics. He grew up in Bloomfield Hills, Michigan, and studied finance and economics at the University of Michigan, where he earned a bachelors degree in business administration and managerial economics with high distinction. Shortly afterward, in September, 1985, he entered the congregation of the Legionaries of Christ and for the next nine years studied Catholic spirituality in Cheshire (Connecticut), classical humanities and ancient and modern languages in Salamanca (Spain), and philosophy and theology in Rome. Williams was ordained a Catholic priest on November 25, 1994 in Mexico City.

He holds degrees in theology, philosophy and business administration, as well as a diploma in languages and classical humanities. He is senior fellow of the Saint Paul Center for Biblical Theology, and a member of the Pontifical Academy of Saint Thomas Aquinas.

He is known as an author of many books and for his television appearances as a Vatican analyst and consultant on faith, ethics and religion, previously for NBC, and currently for CBS News.

He was teaching at the Regina Apostolorum Pontifical Atheneum, a university run by the Legionaries of Christ in Rome, Italy.

John Allen at the National Catholic Reporter reports:

Out of what he described as “respect for the privacy of the woman and her child,” Williams declined to identify the woman or provide other details. He confirmed, however, that the relationship had occurred while he was already a priest and a member of the Legionaries.

Williams told NCR the woman has declined economic assistance, and that she was neither his student nor someone to whom he had offered spiritual direction.

Williams decided to come forward after a former Legionary priest in Chile, who is now active in a group called the “Association of Aid for Victims of the Legion of Christ,” reported rumors of the affair to senior Vatican officials. A copy of that report was obtained by NCR.

The report also asserted that Williams has had sexual relations with students at the Legion’s university in Rome, Regina Apostolorum, where until recently he was on the faculty. Williams denied those charges.

The report further alleged that Williams had a sexual relationship with the daughter of a prominent American Catholic personality. On that point, Williams said he will not comment on specific individuals.


  1. I am sure the example of the orders founder does not help. I guess an acorn does not fall far from the tree would fit, unfortunately. Lord have mercy on us and give us holy priests! We so badly need them! Heavy sigh.

    1. you can't have it both ways, either you are a priest who follows the laws of the church, or you are not.

    2. HailFullOfGracePrayForUsMay 16, 2012 at 11:26 AM

      God knows why he allows bad things to happen in order to bring more good out of the situation. In light of former Popes, King David, Bishops and Cardinals committing adultery, the Church in Her wisdom knows how to deal with these things and we are in good hands.

      If I were an ancient Jew, and found out my King (David) committed adultery and had the woman's husband killed to make her his wife, would I renounce being a Jew? Knowing that Popes have committed adultery, would I stop being Catholic? I'm a Regnum Christi member, born and raised in Michigan, and the Legionaries of Christ I know, because of their love for the Church and God, have increased my Faith, Hope and Love for all people, especially for my vocation as wife and mother, friend, missionary, and youth leader in the Church.

      I've met Fr. Thomas, he is a solid and good priest, but obviously not a Saint...yet. Neither am I, but yes, I've lied, used God's name in vain and have been envious before, judged others and have not honored my husband at all times because of my pride. I do not share Fr. Thomas' inclination to commit adultery, please God that I never will. Does my inclination to sin in these ways I've mentioned make me less of a wife who gave my life for my husband and children? Thank God they are merciful toward me, because they too have issues to work on and that I help them with. God forgive me because we as a family, haven't prayed as much as we should, for our priests and religious, for families everywhere. Satan knows that if he can tempt a priest to be glutinous, adulterous or not strive to be chaste (holy), that most likely many in the flock will fall away from the Church and God. I will not give Satan what he wants, I will remain a faithful Catholic, in need of confession because I'm not a Saint yet, and thus am not faithful to God all the time, like Fr. Thomas I guess.

      Thank God we don't worship men (or women), we worship a perfect God, full of mercy, justice and love. He prunes ALL OF US, priest, bishop, pope, father, mother, wife, husband, student, child, grandmother or grandfather. He loves us even though we sin. Please God help us to love like YOU and make many prayers, sacrifices and acts of fasting for our priests and religious, and all those who serve the Catholic Church to shield them from Satan and all his ways.

    3. Keep drinking the RC Kool-aid! Justify everything in the name of your church or something you didn't do. Really? And when your priests are caught buggering little boys, what justification then?

  2. Really sick of reading Catholic web sites and having to chase my kids out of the room and hide the screen of tablet computers, etc! UGH.

  3. Statement by Barbara Blaine, SNAP President (312.399.4747, bblaine@snapnetwork.org)

    Reuters is reporting that a top Vatican official has kept silent for months about a high profile Catholic priest's fathering a child.

    Will Catholic officials ever start being more honest and prompt about clergy sex crimes and misdeeds?

    The Vatican official is Spanish Cardinal Velasio De Paolis, who was appointed two years ago by Pope Benedict to oversee the Legion of Christ. Yesterday, the Legion's most prominent priest, Fr. Thomas D. Williams, admitted he had an "affair" and fathered a child which neither he nor his Legion supervisors are financially supporting.

    It's important to remember that Fr. Williams is also accused of having inappropriate sexual contact with
    --college students in Rome, and
    --the daughter of a prominent US Catholic figure.

    And it's important to remember that the Legion
    --has a long, sordid history of secrecy about clergy sex crimes and misdeeds, and
    --claims a recent "investigation" found that seven Legion priests are accused of molesting kids.

    (We strongly suspect that's a lie. We believe it's very likely that most of these allegations were reported directly to Legion officials, not discovered through some "investigation." And we suspect that, like with Fr. Williams, top Legion staffers have known for months or years about many of these accusations but have kept them hidden.)

    Finally, Fr. Williams' own comments on this scandal bear mentioning.

    He apologizes for the news getting out - "I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation" - but not for the harm he's caused to his child (who's growing up with apparently no emotional support - or at least honesty - from his or her father and no financial support from his or her father or the wealthy Catholic institution that pay him).

    And Fr. Williams still refuses to accept responsibility for the child, writing about "respect for the privacy of the woman and her child."

    In short, the Legion is - and has long been - perhaps the most secretive and corrupt Catholic religious order in the world. It's officials should publicly discipline Fr. Williams. And those who have seen, suspected and suffered clergy sexual misconduct by current and former Legion employees should step forward, get help, call police, expose wrongdoing, protect others and start healing.

    Judy Jones, SNAP Midwest Associate Director, USA, 636-433-2511
    (SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world's oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims.
    SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 12,000 members. Despite the word "priest" in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers and increasingly, victims who were assaulted in a wide range of institutional settings like summer camps, athletic programs, Boy Scouts, etc. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)

    1. What about the woman? Did she not have responsability? Is just the priest to blame? Having sex implies 2 people. Are we judging without knowing the details, was he after her or she after him? Did she not know that he is a priest. Maybe the only victim is the child that they procreated, do not you think?

    2. Maybe it's time for the movement to be dissolved. What good is being done for the Church giving such horrific scandal, yet again following their founder. Our Lord had some pretty harsh words for those who would scandalize children.

      I wonder if these priests realize that being too friendly with women only gets them into lots of trouble. I like a priest to be polite, friendly but very reserved. It protects him from temptation and helps him live holy purity better.

    3. http://www.catholicleague.org/snap-unravels/ SNAP does not have the credibility to reply on sexual matters involving the Church.

  4. I am just wondering why everybody is blaming the priest & victmizing the woman? Does not she have at least 50% responsability? Personally I have seen how many girls are after seminarians or priests

    1. Then he should flee the temptation...tell his director...get away from the person who is pursuing before terrible things happen. Fr. Williams only spoke after the "cat was out of the bag". Wrong, he should have been taking the moral high road long before it escalated.

      This is just good common sense for all people wanting to live purity well whether ordained, married, single or in religious life.

  5. The truly neurotic part is his referring to their child as "her child." And one day the child will read that phrasing. He was ordained in 1994 and admits this happened after ordination.....making the child's age as 18 at the most but more than likely, much younger since ordination must have originally kept him law abiding for awhile. The child feeling the non prescence of the father is the worst part of this. It's about the child.

  6. First: When priests are fascinated by media, they are in danger.
Too much time in media and cinema set not enough in confessional.
Leave the media apostolate to lay people and do what priest are ordained to do.
Otherwise, religious sisters would ask to become priests!
What Jean-Marie Vianney would do?
Certainly not blogs and TV comments.
He would be in his confessional.

    Second: the only important person in this case is the child: Evangelium Vitae.
Dont be focussed on sin but on the gracious gift of a beautiful human life: a gift of God to our world.
He is the only important person in that case.
His whole family must be at his service.
To help him become a great friend of Jesus.