Associated Press - January 31, 2008 1:23 PM ET
VATICAN CITY (AP) - The founder of 1 of the fastest-growing Catholic religious orders, who was disciplined because of sex abuse allegations, has died.
Mexican priest Marcial Maciel (mahrs-YAHL' mahs-YEL') died yesterday of natural causes in the U.S., according to his order, the conservative Legionaries of Christ.
Maciel was 87 years old.
He founded his order in 1941 in Mexico City, and it became a favorite of Pope John Paul II. It now has more than 600 priests and 2,500 seminarians in 20 countries.
But in 2006, the Vatican ordered Maciel to remove himself from public ministry, following allegations that he abused young boys and teenagers in seminaries between the 1940s and 1960s.
Maciel was the most prominent Catholic Church official to be disciplined for alleged child sexual abuse. The Vatican never said whether it determined the allegations to be true.
See previous post. The rumor is confirmed.