The superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae released on Tuesday a video statement confirming that the founder of the community, Luis Fernando Figari, is guilty of the accusations leveled against him.
An apostolic visitor from the Vatican recently concluded investigating allegations of sexual abuse, mistreatment, and abuse of power against Figari. The conclusions of the apostolic visit are now in the hands of Vatican authorities.
“After the testimonies received, we consider Luis Fernando Figari guilty of the allegations of abuse against him and declare him persona non grata to our organization as we deplore and wholly condemn his behavior,” Alessandro Moroni Llabres, superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, said in his April 5 statement.
The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae is a society of apostolic life which was founded in 1971 in Peru, and granted pontifical recognition in 1997. Alejandro Berm√∫dez, executive director of CNA, is a member of the community.
Figari founded the community, and stepped down as its superior general in 2010. In addition to Peru, the community operates in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, the United States, and Italy.
In his statement, released in Spanish on YouTube, Moroni said that “the last few months have been very hard for the Sodalit family because we have been confronted with a regrettable past,” which “we all have seen through the news and social media.”
“After more than five months of prayer, reflection and an intense internal criticism it is time to come forward to publicly release the response of the Superior Council of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae facing these sad and reprehensible facts” involving Figari, the statement continues.
Moroni indicated his desire “to convey three very important messages” to the public. First, he said, is that “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,” especially those who “for years did not obtain a satisfactory and convincing response from our authorities.”
Second, “beyond the ecclesiastical or judicial sentence that the founder of the Sodalitium may deserve -- which we will respect and abide as appropriate -- we also want to make known our moral condemnation of his offenses and crimes.”
He added that the community had “personally asked Pope Francis in a private hearing held last December to order [Figari’s] immediate separation from our community and to end his unsustainable retreat at our facilities.”
Moroni’s third message for the public was that “we 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,” Moroni continued.
“The authorities of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae recognize the sin of not having reacted in a firm and timely manner, and are willing to assume the necessary penance for the forgiveness of God, the Church, our spiritual family, and all of society,” the statement concluded.
“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. Thank you very much.”