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Pope names interim leader in Legion of Christ overhaul

Its late founder, Marcial Maciel, was disgraced by sex abuse scandals. -AFP

Fri, Jul 09, 2010

VATICAN CITY - Pope Benedict XVI named a commissioner to revamp the ultra-conservative Legion of Christ order whose late founder Marcial Maciel was disgraced by sex abuse scandals, the Vatican said Friday.

Italian Velasio De Paolis, Archbishop of Thelepte in Tunisia and president of the Prefecture for Economic Affairs of the Holy See, will take over the Legion as the Church faces intense pressure to crack down on abusers and their protectors in the hierarchy.

The Legion had announced the overhaul in May.

The Mexican-born Maciel, who died in the United States in January 2008 aged 87, was accused of molesting eight seminarians and secretly fathering and abusing of his children.

The Legion of Christ, which won Vatican recognition in 1965, is one of the largest and wealthiest of the Church's dozens of orders, and Maciel was a prodigious fundraiser and recruiter of priests.

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