Vatican Takes Over Movement whose Founder was Accused of Sexual Abuse

Some serious changes are happening in the Vatican and the people must know about them. The Vatican has taken over the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, Peru-based Catholic movement whose founder (Luis Figari) was accused of sexual abuse, just a few days before Pope Francis starts his trip to Peru and Chile where this scandal is happening.

Via The Guardian: A Vatican statement said the congregation for religious orders had issued a decree naming a commissioner to take over the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a conservative movement that has chapters and about 20,000 members throughout South America and the US.

The move came just weeks after Peruvian prosecutors announced they were seeking the arrest of Sodalitium’s founder, Luis Figari.

While Figari had never been charged, many of the allegations were confirmed by a Vatican inquiry. He was ordered to cut contact with members of the society, and has been living in Rome.

In the statement, the Vatican said Francis had followed the Sodalitium scandal for years, had asked that the congregation pay particular attention to it and was “particularly concerned about the seriousness of information about the internal regime, the training and financial management”.

The Vatican said the congregation had decided on the “commissioning” of the society after the recent moves by Peruvian prosecutors to arrest Figari and a “profound analysis of all the documentation”.

Some of Sodalitium’s victims had denounced the Vatican’s handling of the case, saying the six-year delay in taking any action, and subsequently allowing Figari to live in retirement in Rome, was anything but satisfactory.

Figari founded the society, known by its acronym SCV, in 1971 as a lay community to recruit “soldiers for God”. It was one of several Catholic societies born as a conservative reaction to the left-leaning liberation theology movement that swept through Latin America starting in the 1960s.

Figari was a charismatic intellectual, but he was also “narcissistic, paranoid, demeaning, vulgar, vindictive, manipulative, racist, sexist, elitist and obsessed with sexual issues and the sexual orientation of SCV members”, according to a 2017 investigative report commissioned by the society’s new leadership.

The report, by two Americans and an Irish expert in abuse, found that Figari sodomized his recruits and forced them to fondle him and one another. He liked to watch them “experience pain, discomfort and fear”, and humiliated them in front of others to enhance his control over them, the report found.

The SCV scandal parallels that of the Mexico-based Legion of Christ religious order, whose charismatic founder was a favorite of John Paul II. He was found to be a serial pedophile who sexually abused his seminarians, fathered three children and built a secretive, cult-like organization to hide his double life. The Vatican sanctioned him in 2006 after documentation about his abuse languished for decades in the same congregation that received the SCV complaints years ago and finally took over the society Wednesday.

Some of Karadima’s victims, as well as other concerned Chilean laity, are expected to stage protests during Francis’ trip to Chile, which begins Monday. The Karadima scandal has taken on new life after Francis named as bishop of the southern diocese of Osorno a Karadima protege accused by victims of knowing of his abuse and doing nothing.

 

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