SANTIAGO, Chile — The Legion of Christ religious order said Thursday that the Vatican has banned an Irish priest from public ministry for 10 years for sexually abusing a minor in Chile.
The order said in a statement that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith also banned the Rev. John O’Reilly from any contact with minors for life and ordered him to live outside Latin America.
O’Reilly can appeal.
“As a congregation, these acts cause us great pain and we again ask forgiveness for the suffering caused,” the order said.
O’Reilly had worked in Chile since the mid-1980s.
He was convicted in a civil court in 2014 of sexually abusing a minor while he was a chaplain at a school operated by the legion in the capital.
The court also banned him from any job near children and included him in a database for registered abusers. Congress revoked the honorary Chilean citizenship it gave O’Reilly in 2008.
O’Reilly has denied any wrongdoing.
Under an order from Chile’s government, O’Reilly left the country in 2018 after finishing the four-year sentence. He has been living at the home of the Legionaries of Christ in Rome since then, said Father Aaron Smith, the order’s International Communications Director.
“He’s not exercising any public ministry, independently of whether he decides to use his right of appeal or not,” Smith told The Associated Press. “He has been in the Legionaries of Christ since 1965 and doesn’t have his own resources. In the community, his superiors and brothers are making sure that he abides by the sentences of the both the civil and ecclesiastical law.”
Associated Press writer Luis Andres Henao in Buenos Aires, Argentina, contributed to this report.
John O’Reilly abused minors in Chile and his punishment is that he is not allowed to say Mass publicly for 10 years!
He is ensconced in the Legionaries of Christ headquarters in Rome eating pasta and drinking wine.
Why has Francis and the church not dismissed him from the clerical state?
Yes, he is in his 70s. He needs bed and board and the Legionaries of Christ are responsible for him.
They should give him bed and board and medical care. But he should NOT be kept in the priesthood.
And after the 10 year ban, if he lives, will he back celebrating public Mass again?
Will he have access to altar boys?
So much for Francis and zero tolerance.