VATICAN CITY (AMP)—Pope Benedict XVI said he will overhaul one of the most powerful orders in Roman Catholicism, the Legion of Christ, in the wake of a Vatican investigation into decades of cover-ups of sexual abuse.
But the Vatican refused to speculate on the fate of its most powerful, supersecret order Dominus Dei—or even acknowledge its existence. This prompted a swift rebuke from its top linguist and environmental czar Serena Serghetti, who is beloved outside Vatican City as “Mother Earth” and nicknamed “Sister Pain-in-the-Ass” inside its gates.
“Moral pollution has as much place within the Church as industrial waste does in the environment, which is no place at all,” the 27-year-old Carmelite nun stated from the Arctic Circle, where she is investigating what she calls “disturbing human factors” in the triggering the eruption of last month’s Icelandic volcano that grounded air traffic across Europe and blew travelers back to the 1940s in having to rely on trains, boats and autos for transport.
“The moral failures of sexual abuse within the Legion have been well-documented, so this has been a long time coming,” Serghetti said. “But since Dominus Dei doesn’t officially exist and hides in the shadowy corridors of economic and political power, its crimes through the ages are less visible but no less real.”
The Wall Street Journal, in reporting on the news, said that the the Vatican announced plans for Benedict XVI to appoint a special envoy and set up a commission to restructure the Legion.
“The commission will rewrite the Legion’s statutes and redefine the military-like culture, which led its members to maintain a code of secrecy in the face of sexual abuse committed by its late founder, Rev. Marcial Maciel Degollado,” the Journal reported.
The decision to act came one day after Pope Benedict met with top advisers inside Vatican City to receive a briefing on the Legion from five Vatican-appointed investigators. The overhaul of the Legion comes as Pope Benedict is under intense pressure to show his willingness to crack down on sexual abuse in the highest ranks of Catholicism.