A PRIEST whose movie star good looks landed him frequent appearances on US TV, has admitted to fathering a child.
Father Thomas Williams who was described by US TV anchor woman Katie Couric as ‘Father What-A-Waste’ is well known for his frequent appearances on US TV, where he talks of theological and ecumenical matters.
Father Williams, who is a Dean of Papal Morality at a university in the Vatican, has admitted to having an affair with a woman who gave birth to his child some years ago. It is unknown if he is supporting or in touch with the child.
In a statement Williams admitted: “A number of years ago I had a relationship with a woman and fathered her child. I am deeply sorry for this transgression and have tried to make amends.”
The priest who has served as a Vatican and religious affairs commentator for Sky News, for NBC and CBS and has published 14 books on Catholic dogma, including ‘Becoming the Christian You Want to Be’ said: “My superiors and I have decided it would be best for me to take a year away without active public ministry to reflect on my commitments as a priest.
“I am truly sorry to everyone who is hurt by this revelation, and I ask for your prayers as I seek guidance on how to best move forward.”
Williams admitted to fathering the child after a former Legionary priest reported rumors of the affair to senior Vatican officials.
However there has been anger expressed in Catholic circles in the States as it has since emerged that the order to which Williams belonged The Legion of Christ, had known about the child, but failed to take any measures to remove Father Williams him from his duties or to curb his appearances on TV.
This is the second scandal to hit the religious order in the past week. Last week the Legion admitted that seven of its priests are under investigation for suspected sex abuse of minors.
The Legion of Christ has been embroiled in controversies before. It emerged that its founder, now deceased, was a pedophile.
Marciel Marciel had fathered three children with two different women and frequently sexually abused seminarians. He died in 2008 and the following year the Legion admitted to his crimes.
Marciel, had when alive, been praised by Pope John Paul II as a model for the faithful and his ability to attract new seminarians. However in 2006 Pope Benedict banned Marciel from practicing as a priest, and ordered him to spend his retirement in "prayer and penitence."
The news of Father Williams fathering a child has caused much debate on Catholic forums on the internet with many offering support for Fr Williams.
One commentator Stefano posted: “This is very sad news that reminds us all, believers and non-believers, that as humans we are fragile and can and do make mistakes. Not always are we faithful to the promises and vows we freely take.”