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Documents released Friday shed light on the inner workings of a secretive and now-disgraced Roman Catholic order called the Legion of Christ, including new details on how the organization solicited money from an elderly widow, eventually persuading her to bequeath it $60 million.
The documents, previously sealed in a lawsuit brought before Superior Court in Rhode Island, include thousands of pages of testimony from high-ranking leaders at the Legion, its members and relatives of wealthy widow Gabrielle Mee. They are the first-ever depositions of high-ranking Legion officials and include how the order's former second-in-command learned in 2006 that its founder had fathered a child.
The No. 2 said he didn't go public with the news of the paternity because the founder, the late Rev. Marcial Maciel, had already been sanctioned by the Holy See for having sexually abused seminarians and forced into a lifetime of penance and prayer.
Pope Benedict XVI took over the Legion in 2010 after a Vatican investigation determined that Maciel had lived a double life, including fathering three children by two women. The pope ordered a wholesale reform of the order and named a papal delegate to oversee it.
the Holy See willfully ignored credible allegations of abuse against Maciel for decades while holding him up as a model of sainthood for the faithful because he brought in money