Prayers for a friend and brother in Christ

Roughly a year ago, I heard the news that our brother Legionary Fr Thomas Williams LC fathered a child a number of years ago. As a result, Fr Thomas discontinued his public ministry and took a year for prayer and penance to discern his future course in the light of God’s plan.

Fr Thomas, after much prayerful reflection and discernment, has written to the Holy Father to request dispensation from the obligations of his ministry.

Such decisions are not easy. We all balance success and failure, joy and sorrow in our lives. None of us escapes sin and the need to ask forgiveness.

I have known Fr Thomas well for the better part of a decade. I have appreciated and enjoyed his friendship, his wisdom and counsel and I deeply respect his decision about his future. After recently finishing spiritual exercises he wrote me saying “I came to the serene conviction that what God expects of me now is to devote myself to caring for my child and his mother. By responsibly and lovingly accepting the consequences of my actions, I will continue to serve God and his Church. I know I should be with my son and try to be the kind of father he needs.”

I have complete confidence that Fr Thomas will continue to be a valuable instrument in God’s plan and positively influence many, many people for the good of Christ’s Kingdom. I hope all of you will join me in praying for the success of Fr Thomas in his new life.

 

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Printed from: http://live.regnumchristi.org/2013/05/prayers-for-a-friend-and-brother-in-christ/ .
© Legionaries of Christ 2014.

20 Comments   »

  • Tina Haben says:

    I am so glad about Fr. Williams' decision. And I have nothing but respect for his humility. I have been praying for him daily and I am confident that he'll continue to serve Christ's Kingdom with his wisdom and knowledge. May God bless him and guide him.

  • John Schultz says:

    A year ago when I read the news about Fr. Thomas I was devastated. I have never met him or any other LC but have read many of his books and have been spiritually enriched by them. Starting this May I knew his year would be up about the
    15th so I started a daily rosary that our Lord would forgive him and return him to his order and to continue writing books as I feel he has a gift. Obviously your news has answered my prayers. I wish him well but am so disappointed.

  • St. Iraeneus and Hans Urs van Balthasar have written about God's "mysterious play" with our own freedom, maintaining a dynamic relationship with us, and always using both our successes and failures for our salvation, and for the world's good.
    Last year, when I heard of Fr Thomas' "slip", I was disappointed, because I really looked up to him. But having been able to pray and think about his situation, I've come to realize that the Legion and Regnum Christi will learn a very important lesson from this bittersweet event.
    Our actions are real, and they have real consequences. When I discovered some of the truth about Marcial Maciel in 2009, one of my first thoughts was, "Why didn't he retreat, and pray, after his first serious fall?" Fr Thomas made the mistaken judgment of increasing his apostolic activity after having fathered a child, but eventually came to the humble realization that it was better to admit the fact, and accept the real consequences that resulted from his real actions. Had Maciel done the same, a lot of the things that LC and RC members are trying to put back together, now, wouldn't have been so dispersed to begin with.
    It was common to hear Maciel say, "It doesn't matter if you kill someone, or run off with a prostitute. As long as you repent, and go to confession, God will forgive you, and give you the strength to carry on". Yes, God's mercy is infinite. But our actions still affect people within the temporal order of human justice, and we need to respect both orders. Living according to God's infinite mercy DOES NOT mean naively overlooking the order of human justice, and true charity implies openness to the truth; not trying to hide it under the rug.
    Thank you, Fr Thomas, for your courage. Thank you for the service you have, and will continue to offer to the Church. I'm sure you'll be able to offer great wisdom to both priests and husbands who have had to struggle in today's aggressive culture, and who will continue to do so. I'm behind you, 100%, because you've had the manliness to admit your weakness, accept it, and to honestly move forward. I hope that those who ought to learn from your example, will do so.

  • marina says:

    Pena porque a la mujer y el niño se les dejó solos durante mucho tiempo a pesar de tenerlos. Esa doblez sí dio sobre todo a ellos mal ejemplo.
    Al fin.

  • Mariela Gonzalez says:

    SPANISH:
    El mundo LC es de el de la simulación.
    Simulan ser amantes de Dios y sus mandatos, pero hacen gala de apoyo mundial por los que pecan gravemente contra El, y exhortan a que se rece por ellos.

    Sin embargo, castigan cruelmente a los que según ellos "pecan gravemente" contra los mandatos legionarios: 'No hablar mal de la congregación", etc.. P. Peter, P.Pablo y demás...

    ENGLISH:
    The Legion of Christ world is a one of simulation!
    Professing a love of God and his commandments, while campaigning for world wide support for those that have sinned gravely against God and exhorting RC members to pray for them (the sinners).

    Yet in cruel contrast punishes those that according to the legion have "sinned gravely" against the Legion of Christ statutes: "thou shalt not criticize the legion", etc... Father Peter, Father Pablo and so many more!

  • Mariela Gonzalez says:

    and by the way the only reason why F. Thomas and his supiriors (which new) came forward about his situation was because it had been leaked to the press........ otherwise everything would have been kept quiet!

  • marina says:

    ¿Después de más de 10 años, le dan un año para rezar? ¿Es que no tuvo tiempo de darse cuenta antes de lo que era un hijo?
    La legión no reaccionó y permitió de nuevo la doblez, después dicen que buscan el carisma.
    Ahora vuelve con la mujer y el hijo ya mayorcito.
    ¿Y la mujer lo perdona después de tanto tiempo sin él? O quizás nunca los dejó del todo.
    Un mensaje:la doblez debe erradicarse ya y entender lo que es la verdad y el amor de una vez, con rectitud y libertad de conciencia.

  • FrMichael says:

    I'm sorry it took a year to figure out what most priests would in 5 minutes: need to resign from the priesthood and raise the child he brought into the world. God bless him in this new and important endeavor.

    Meanwhile, the idea that the Legion ever seriously considered retaining this priest in its ranks demonstrates the corruption and moral blindness that yet exists in it.

  • Graham says:

    Fr Thomas has clearly done the right thing by resigning, albeit a very difficult decision to arrive at. What the man now needs is our love and prayers. What the Order now needs is also our love and prayers, but too, some real soul searching about how such an issue, and similar issues before it, have been dealt with. It is not good that cover-ups, real or perceived, are allowed to continue while the Church hurts.
    Fr Thomas has been a brave man in (eventually) dealing honestly with his situation, not least deciding to care for his son and the boy's mother. Given time he will be able to teach the Church how it should behave in such moments as these.

  • Jack says:

    Fr. William's decision is between him and the Lord. Let us support him with our prayers and in any other way we can. His transition will not be easy and, unfortunately, in the past, the Legion has done a very poor job of maintaining brotherly ties with former priests and brothers. I know of whence I speak. It is encouraging to see critical comments allowed on this blog; I hope that is a sign of deeper reform - I do want to see the good men who remain find their place in the Church with humility. It is not easy to get over the toxic elements of the founder and I wish them well.

  • Dan Talkington says:

    I wish Thomas Williams all the best and I hope he has a wonderful life as a father. I enjoyed working with him in Rome.

    Daniel Turski: still quoting Marcial Maciel are we? Bad habits are hard to break indeed.

  • Diaspora says:

    Great. Finally an article in this web gets 15 comments. It seems we are in the real world. Now I would expect some legionaries writing nice things about those who were their brothers and keep serving the Church. I would start thinking about real change in the LC.

  • Angy says:

    Santa Maria, Rogai por ele e por nós...

  • Pili says:

    Thanks to Fr. Connor for publishing such an honest article and kudos to this blog which demonstrates a new openness to reality and a respect for freedom of expression. May God bless Fr. Connor, Fr. Sliney, and the other Padres for this new image of the Legion of Christ and Regnum Christi. The Pope would be proud of you.

  • Maureen says:

    St. Therese of Lisieux offered her last Holy Communion for a priest who left the priesthood. How sad all of this. I do not understand why you do not weep for what has been lost.

  • marina says:

    El p Thomas no se tomó 1 año para pensar en su hijo, se tomó como mínimo 8 años. El padre Álvaro reconoció que en el año 2005 ya sabía de su existencia y se permitió que siguiera dando clases de moral.
    Aceptan la doble vida hasta que esta sale a la luz.

  • Jim Fair says:

    We're working on it...everything in Italian:)

  • Después de tener trabajado 10 años con Thomas Willians puedo decir que somos amigos, por lo menos yo le considero un amigo, aunque tengamos perdido el contacto desde 2010 cuando dejé de trabajar en Zenit. Sé que hay errores en el medio de la Legión como del Movimiento, hay obscuridades que merecen ser tratadas con rigor, pero para esto existe el delegado del Papa y para esto ya están. Cuanto al P. Thomas, cuando supe de la noticia, me quedé arrasado, pero comprendí lo que tanto le pesaba a las espaldas y cuán difícil fue para él ver a nosotros todos los días sin poder hablar de su vida. Hay que tener mucha valentía para abrir su vida. Sin embargo, cuando me he tocado de esto comprendí las dimensiones de tal error en mi corazón de laico casado y padre de dos hijas y, tan pronto vi su pedido de perdón, el año pasado, obviamente le perdoné, pues así lo hacen los amigos. No porque somos del Movimiento, no porque hemos trabajado juntos, pero porque nos conocimos, nos quedamos amigos y siempre miré al Thomas como un "good guy". Además, cómo he subrayado en mi blog hablando sobre otro tema, todos nosotros, en cuanto vivos, estamos bajo las leyes del Universo creado que establecen que seremos tentados y, si no nos damos cuenta de esto, podemos caer en tentación. Solo seremos santos se y cuando en la hora de nuestra muerte, nuestra alma esté en completa amistad con Cristo, arrepentidos de todos los pecados y limpios de toda inmundicia. Pero esto no quiere decir impecabilidad, sino, arrepentimiento. A mi me gusta muchísimo que Thomas Willians tenga asumido todas las consecuencias de su error. Abrazos a todos desde el Brasil.

  • Kathleen says:

    Priests are sinners like the rest of us, the difference being their errors are on display for the world to highlight, emphasize and cast aspersions with great emphasis to the world for ridiculing purposes. Yes, to those given much, much is expected. This is Fr. Thomas' valley that he must dwell in. It is not a spear to attack his fellow priests with, rather it is a sorrow they must deal with in that a friend has suffered a travesty that they feel as a brother would. It is the walk that they make with him in prayer that he will accept the mercy of God in order to be a good father to his child. The child is a blessing who needs his father.
    Fr. Maciel inflicted much damage to the RC family he founded and the children he brought into the world through the exploitation of their mothers. To constantly harp at the priests of the Legion in the name of the evil of the founder is not an act of charity. It seeks not to heal the wounds, but to continue letting the wounds remain open and festering with the insinuation that Maciel still rules. The Legion and RC are going through the reparative process of examining its foundation and identifying what it was and is that attracted them in making Christ the center of their life. They are re-founding themselves. I hope the world gives them the opportunity to succeed.

  • A says:

    Recently in prayer I was thinking of Fr. Thomas and thought of sending him an email to say somthing that was already said in some way in this blog... Our lives are made of many years, of good choices and also of mistakes, some grave. Yet, we are not evil because of one bad choice nor are we saints because of one instance of good. We must work out our salvation and entrust ourselves to God's mercy. I pray that Fr. Thomas will make many more good choices in his life than bad ones. I pray that he will not give in to dispair which can so often overtake us when we have erred. I pray he will one day experience that eternal embrace of the Father who welcomes him home. Praying for you Fr. Thomas.

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  • About the author:

    Father John Connor

    Father Connor is assistant for apostolate for the North America Territory. He was ordained to the priesthood in 2001. He has worked in several different ministries which include dean of discipline at the Everest Academy in Madrid, Spain; chaplain in the missions of Michoacan, Mexico; and retreat director/spiritual director in the Regnum Christi Movement with a specific dedication to the integral formation of Catholic businessmen. He most recently served in the Legion’s development office, as local coordinator of apostolate in New York and as chaplain of the Lumen Institute.
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