National News

Father Elizondo Is Accused of Sexual Abuse

SOUTH BEND, Ind. (CNS) – Father Virgilio Elizondo, founder of the Mexican American Cultural Center in San Antonio and a theology professor at the University of Notre Dame, has been accused of sexually abusing an unidentified boy more than 30 years ago in a lawsuit filed against him, the San Antonio Archdiocese and a former priest.

A spokesman for the San Antonio Archdiocese told Catholic News Service May 28 that the archdiocese declined to comment on the case because it had not been served the lawsuit.

An email from a Notre Dame spokesman said the university was “reserving comment until further inquiries are completed.”

became aware of the allegation after it was reported by a local television station.

Father Elizondo did not respond to an email from CNS seeking comment.

The priest is currently a professor of pastoral and Hispanic theology at Notre Dame and is widely recognized as the father of U.S. Latino religious thought. He has pursued scholarly work in theology, evangelization, faith and spirituality, culture and public ritual.

He was an advocate for underpaid and exploited Mexican-American laborers in the Archdiocese of San Antonio during the early 1970s. Father Elizondo has been active in television work and video productions and is considered the foremost interpreter of U.S. Latino religion by the national and international media.