Silent out of shame

Silent out of shame

The "Legionaries of Christ": catholic order © lc

A priest of the "Legionaries of Christ" -until recently head of a seminary in Rome- is making headlines after he announced that he is the father of a son and a daughter.

The religious order Legionaries of Christ on Friday made public the case of Oscar Turrion, who from 2014 until this year was head of the Maria Mater Ecclesiae seminary in Rome run by the Legionaries of Christ. According to the report, Turrion informed his religious superiors on Thursday that he had been the father of a son for several years.

Already in the spring he had informed the leadership of the order about the birth of a daughter and asked for a time-out.

Case treated confidentially

At that time, according to the "Legionaries of Christ", the process was kept confidential at Turrion's request. A successor was sought for the leadership of the seminary, who took office in August. In an open letter, Turrion announced that he was seeking a release from his priestly vows and his transfer to the lay state.

Both children came from the same woman, with whom he has had a relationship for some time. He had found himself in a crisis of meaning "due to certain circumstances" with the Legionaries of Christ and "many other circumstances" in the church – and in this situation he fell in love with the woman.

Relationship concealed out of respect and shame

By his own admission, Turrion made the decision to continue this relationship during his time as rector of the seminary. "Out of love and respect" for his employees and seminarians, but also "out of weakness and shame," he had hesitated to announce his decision until shortly before the end of his term of office.

For its decision as well as for its proceeding it takes over the full personal responsibility. At the same time, Turrion stressed that at no time did he use his income as head of the seminary to support the children. Rather, the funds came from donations he received from friends for "personal disposal".

A priest has the duty to rest his office if he begets a child

The Legionaries of Christ quoted the president of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Children, Cardinal Sean Patrick O'Malley. The latter recently emphasized: "When a priest fathered a child, he had a moral duty to leave his office and look after the welfare of the child and the mother."

The Legionaries of Christ operate two seminaries in Rome, the in-house "Center for Advanced Studies" and the International Pontifical College Maria Mater Ecclesiae.

The crisis of the Legionaries of Christ

After it came to light that its founder, the Mexican cleric Marcial Maciel Degollado (1920-2008), sexually abused minors, fathered three children with two women and committed other serious misconduct, the order was plunged into a serious crisis.

The Vatican placed it under provisional administration from 2010 to 2014 and ordered a major renovation. The Legionaries of Christ then distanced themselves from their founder in an unprecedented move.

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