Vatican

Pope to Overhaul Religious Order

Pope Benedict XVI announced plans to overhaul the Legion of Christ, a powerful order that has come under fire after cover-ups that concealed the founder's sexual abuse of seminarians and fathering of a child. The pope, in a statement, said he would appoint a special envoy and set up a commission to restructure the order and change the military-like culture that emphasized secrecy. Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado's actions "are so serious as to require a journey of profound revision," the Vatican said. Maciel denied the abuse allegations until his death in 2008, but last month the Legion repudiated its founder and apologized to victims. The pope is facing much criticism that the Catholic Church did not act swiftly to remove abusive priests from power across the globe over the past several decades. His predecessor was a big fan of the Legion, founded in Mexico, for its vigorous fundraising and conservatism.