Rumours of a relationship between Elizabeth Lev, daughter of one of Francis’ top advisors and former Legion spokesman Thomas Williams – who was removed from the order after admitting he had fathered a child – have not only proven to be true but the two are planning to marry. The news raises some awkward questions for those involved, the order and the Church
Takenf form vatican insider
Thomas Williams, the most publicly prominent member of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order who left the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child, is getting married the child’s mother. The bride is none other than the daughter of former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, The Associated Press reports.
“Glendon, a Harvard University law professor, is one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican as president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. She is also one of five people on Francis’ commission to reform the scandal-marred Vatican bank. Her daughter, Elizabeth Lev, is a Rome-based art historian and columnist for the Legion-run Zenit news agency, which Williams published for over a decade while he was in the order.”
“Williams, a moral theologian, author, lecturer and U.S. television personality, admitted last year that he had fathered a child several years earlier. At the time, Williams apologized for “this grave transgression” against his vows of celibacy and said he had stayed on as a priest because he hoped to move beyond “this sin in my past” to do good work for the church. The Legion’s retired superior later admitted he had learned about the child in 2005 but allowed Williams to keep teaching and preaching about morality. After taking a year off for reflection, Williams left the priesthood in May to care for his son. According to their wedding registry, he and Lev are due to marry on Saturday in the United States,” The Associated Press informs.
After initially denying she had an intimate relationship with Williams, Lev confirmed by email on Thursday that the two planned to marry, saying: “We have no intention of ever discussing our personal life in this forum.”
The Associated Press points out that the wedding raises some awkward questions: “Who beyond Williams’ superior in the church knew about the child while the couple tried to cover it up? Was Williams already in a relationship with Lev when she was hired at the magazine he published? And did the family ties to Williams influence Glendon in her defence of the Legion and its disgraced founder despite credible reports that the founder was a paedophile?”
After the death of its founder Rev. Marciel Maciel, in 2008, the Legion admitted that he fathered three children and sexually abused his seminarians. The news of the wedding is all the more shocking given that Williams had been a staunch defender of Maciel.
A papal delegate has been overseeing the Legion’s reform and “purification” since 2010. The Legion will elect a new leader and introduce a new set of constitutions at its General Chapter in January next year.