VATICAN CITY — Thomas Williams, the onetime public face of the disgraced Legion of Christ religious order who left the priesthood after admitting he fathered a child, is marrying the child's mother this weekend, the Associated Press has learned.
The bride is the daughter of former U.S. Ambassador to the Holy See Mary Ann Glendon, one of Pope Francis' top advisers.
Glendon, a Harvard University law professor, is one of the highest-ranking women at the Vatican as president of the Pontifical Academy for Social Sciences. She is also one of five people on Francis' commission to reform the scandal-marred Vatican bank. Her daughter, Elizabeth Lev, is a Rome-based art historian and columnist for the Legion-run Zenit news agency, which Williams published for more than a decade while he was in the order.
Williams, a moral theologian, author, lecturer and U.S. television personality, admitted last year he had fathered a child several years earlier.
At the time, Williams apologized for "this grave transgression" against his vows of celibacy and said he had stayed on as a priest because he hoped to move beyond "this sin in my past" to do good work for the church.
The Legion's retired superior later admitted he had learned about the child in 2005 but allowed Williams to keep teaching and preaching about morality.
After taking a year off for reflection, Williams left the priesthood in May to care for his son. According to their wedding registry, he and Lev will be married Saturday in the United States.