Sodalitium Christianae Vitae issues statement in wake of accusations

Sodalitium Christianae Vitae issues statement in wake of accusations

.- The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae issued a statement on Wednesday announcing its commitment to the investigation of mistreatement, including sexual abuse, allegedly committed by its founder.

The Oct. 21 statement was released after the publication in Peru of a book containing testimonies against Luis Fernando Figari, founder of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae.

“The testimonies refer to acts of abuse and mistreatment, including sexual abuse. It is a cause for deep grief and shame if such acts could have been committed by Luis Fernando Figari, the founder and for many years the Superior General of our community,” read the statement which bore the signature of Alessandro Moroni Llabrés, the community's current superior general.

Moroni also stated that “we are creating an ad hoc committee, with the participation of experts from outside our community, that would be available to meet with any person who may have been affected.”

“At the same time we are committed to thoroughly investigating and clarifying the truth about the incidents, which are intolerable, because they involve grave suffering for persons who trusted our community, and they  betray our deepest values.”

The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae is a society of apostolic life which was founded in 1971 in Peru, and granted pontifical recognition in 1997. Alejandro Bermúdez, executive director of CNA, is a member of the community.

Figari stepped down as superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae in 2010.

In addition to Peru, the community operates in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, and Italy.

Please find below the full text of the statement of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae:

We wish to communicate the following to the general public:

1.-With the publication of the book Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados (Half Monks, Half Soldiers) by the journalist Pedro Salinas, various reports and commentaries have come out in the press and social media. As authorities of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, we released a public statement which we now consider insufficient.  

 2.- The testimonies refer to acts of abuse and mistreatment, including sexual abuse. It is a cause for deep grief and shame if such acts could have been committed by Luis Fernando Figari, the founder and for many years the Superior General of our community. We condemn the incidents that may have occurred, especially the sexual abuse, which so deeply wound people.

3.- The book compiles assorted testimonies that are plausible and that need to be thoroughly clarified. Additionally, there are former members of the Movement who say they were victims of various kinds of abuse by Luis Fernando Figari. We know there are allegations that have been submitted to ecclesial tribunals, but they are not accessible because the tribunals withhold the information in order to issue their legal opinion with independence. On the other hand, Luis Fernando Figari says he is innocent of all accusations, but to date has not wanted to make any public statement, as would be his moral obligation. The current Superior General of the Movement has communicated all of this to the pertinent ecclesial authorities, and we know they are moving forward with an investigation, of which we hope for results in the next few months.

4.-We reiterate our desire to accompany all of those affected, we ask their forgiveness with all our heart, and we offer them our help in whatever way may be needed. To make this happen in an effective way we are creating an ad hoc committee, with the participation of experts from outside our community, that would be available to meet with any person who may have been affected. At the same time we are committed to thoroughly investigating and clarifying the truth about the incidents, which are intolerable, because they involve grave suffering for persons who trusted our community, and they  betray our deepest values. We are available to cooperate in whatever may be necessary with civil and ecclesial authorities.

5.-We know that as a community we are faced with a great challenge going forward, which involves putting in place all means necessary so that such things as have been reported never happen in our institution.

Lima, October 21, 2015

Alessandro Moroni Llabrés
Superior General

Tags: Abuse Allegations, Accountability