SUPERIOR OF LAY APOSTOLATE DECLARES FOUNDER GUILTY OF SEX ABUSE: The community of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae has systemic problems
by Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th. • ChurchMilitant.com • April 6, 2016
LIMA, Peru (ChurchMilitant.com) – The general superior of a lay community released a video statement yesterday deploring the past behavior of the society’s founder.
Speaking on behalf of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), Alessandro Moroni Llabres, lay superior of the community, decried the actions of its lay founder, Luis Fernando Figari. Figari, who founded the SCV in 1971, came under investigation by Peru’s attorney general for alleged sexual abuse after a book, “Half Monks, Half Soldiers,” was published six months ago.
In the book, thirty former SCV members alleged widespread sexual and psychological abuse within the society. Three of the men claimed Figari personally abused them.
Following the publication of the book, the Vatican sent an apostolic visitor to investigate allegations of physical, psychological and sexual abuse against Figari. The findings of the recent investigation have been sent to Rome.
In yesterday’s pre-recorded statement, Llabres affirms, “After hearing the witness accounts, we find Luis Figari guilty of the alleged abuses. And we declare him a persona non-grata in our organization which completely deplores and condemns his behavior.”
Llabres revealed he met with Pope Francis in December asking that Figari be removed from the SCV society. But the community, considered a society of apostolic life similar to Opus Dei, has been plagued with scandals not limited to Figari.
The society, which has branches in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, Italy and the United States, came under fire in 2007 when an SCV member, Daniel Beltran, was arrested for photographing a naked boy in a Lima hotel. In 2008 the cause to beatify German Doig, the second-highest authority in the society after Figari, was stopped due to allegations of sexual abuse.
In his statement, released in Spanish yesterday, Llabressaid the “Sodalit family” has been “confronted with a regrettable past,” which “we all have seen through the news and social media.”
Speaking for the society, the general superior affirmed, “We ask for forgiveness from the victims of any type of abuse and mistreatment which they may have suffered from any member of our organization,” emphasizing those who “for years did not obtain a satisfactory and convincing response from our authorities.”
Llabres unveiled the society’s plans for reform noting,
[W]e announce the immediate start of a comprehensive reform of our organization, taking into account the mistakes of the past in order to build a new Sodalitium on the strength of the charism we received, its great family, and its good works in Peru and abroad. We have asked the Holy Father to send us a representative to help us implement and lead this reform.
In conclusion, Llabres stated, “We are sure that with the grace of God, our great family will prevail and move forward beyond the mistakes of its authorities, who starting today are committed to write a new story.”
To understand the decline in religious orders, please watch “Mic’d Up—Fall of the Orders.”
Bradley Eli, M.Div., MA.Th. is a staff writer for ChurchMilitant.com Follow Bradley on Twitter: @BradleyLEli
Read the source and comments: http://www.churchmilitant.com/news/article/superior-declares-founder-guilty
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