VATICAN CITY—Pope Francis has granted a “plenary indulgence,” or religious pardon, to the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ movement, mired in a pedophile scandal, provided its members perform acts of penance, Vatican Radio said Thursday.
The Legion of Christ has for years been beset by accusations of sexual abuse.
The order’s founder, Mexican-born Marcial Maciel, stepped down in 2005 amid allegations of pedophilia and fathering several children. He died in 2008.
In August the Chilean government decided to deport Irish priest John O’Reilly, the local Legion head who was convicted of sexually abusing a young girl.
“After the huge scandal provoked by its hellish past,” the Legion of Christ group “has begun a period of purification and renewal,” Vatican Radio said.
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