2 May 2010

New head appointed to religious order

3:12 pm on 2 May 2010

Pope Benedict XVI is to appoint an envoy to run a Roman Catholic order, whose Mexican founder abused many children over a period of 30 years.

The Vatican says the Legionaries of Christ order has to be purified.

The order was founded by Father Marcial Maciel in 1941. The BBC reports it enjoyed strong support from Pope John Paul II.

In 2006, Father Maciel was banned from exercising his ministry in public and told to retire to a life of prayer and penitence. He died in January 2008 at the age of 87.

The Vatican statement came after the Pope met five bishops who investigated the order. Father Maciel always denied any wrongdoing.