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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The troubled Legion of Christ religious order is electing new leadership for the first time since its founder was revealed to have been a pedophile and a fraud. The process starting Wednesday will formally end the Vatican’s three-year rehabilitation of the movement, a reform the Legion is touting as a success and critics have dismissed as a sham.
The Legion was once held up as a model by the Vatican, which turned a blind eye to the Rev. Marcial Maciel’s misdeeds as the order became one of the fastest-growing congregations in the Catholic Church and brought in millions in donations. After three years of Vatican-imposed reform though, questions still remain as to how the Legion can exist when its founder was a fraud and its core mission remains unclear.