In April, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life asked a Peruvian bishop to investigate sexual-abuse allegations against Luis Fernando Figari.
Luis Fernando Figari Rodrigo (born July 8, 1947 in Lima, Peru) is a Peruvian Catholic layman and the founder and former superior general of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae. He has also founded Christian Life Movement and other religious associations. In October 2015 a book was published in Lima 'Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados' by Pedro Salinas, in which various testimonies denounced Figari for the physical, psychological and sexual abuse of young men, some of whom were minors.
He first studied Humanities and Law at the Pontifical Catholic University of Peru, and afterwards Law in the National University of San Marcos, in Lima. During this time, he became a leader of the National Confederation of Youths, the juvenile branch of National Odriist Union party, the political movement of former president Manuel A. Odria When he was 19 years old he was elected to represent all the university students from Lima, giving the welcoming speech to US presidential candidate Robert Kennedy during his visit to Peru.
After participating in politics and searching answers in philosophy, he began to walk through the path of the faith. A Passionist Priest, Father Constancio Bollar, who had baptized L.F. Figari and was a friend of the family, had an important role in his discernment towards a consecrated life. Fr. Bollar became, until his death in 1975, his spiritual director.
|Figari with John Paul II|
He would begin studying Theology in the Pontifical and Civil School of Theology of Lima, where he also taught in 1975.
His conversion process finds a culminating point in the foundation of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, in 1971. He calls that moment "baptism of a search". Cardinal Landazuri, the Archbishop of Lima, would start meeting with Figari in 1972, following closely the development of the Sodalitium and expressing his support.
|Figari with Mother Teresa|
In 1974, he founded the Immaculate Mary Association for women.
In 1984 Figari participated in the first World Youth's Day at Rome, pronouncing the “Catechesis on Love”, in Saint Paul Outside the Walls Basilica. One year later, in 1985, he founded the Christian Life Movement (CLM), an ecclesial movement.
In 1991, he founded the Marian Community of Reconciliation, a religious association for lay consecrated women.
In 1994, Christian Life Movement was recognized by the Vatican as an International Lay Association of Faithful of pontifical right.
In 1995, he founded the Confraternity of Our Lady of Reconciliation.
In 1997, Sodalitium was approved by Pope John Paul II as a Society of Apostolic Life for laymen and priests.
One year later, in 1998, Figari founded another religious association for consecrated women, the Servants of the Plan of God.
All the members of these institutions, who share a common spirit and goals, are said to form a spiritual family: the Sodalit Family. It is constituted by men and women of every age, and is extended throughout the Americas and Europe, as well as in Australia and some countries of Asia and Africa.
In 2002, Pope John Paul II named Figari as Consultor to the Pontifical Council for the Laity.
In 2005, Pope Benedict XVI named Figari as an Auditor to the Synod of Bishops on the Eucharist, one of the few lay participants invited to the assembly.
On June 3, 2006, Figari addressed the conclusive words to Pope Benedict XVI in the Encounter of the Ecclesial Movements and New Communities with the Pope at the Vigil of Pentecost in St. Peter’s Square, Vatican.
|Figari receiving communion from Benedict|
On December 21, 2010, Figari resigned to his role as Superior General of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, claiming health reasons.
LIMA, Peru — The superior general of the (Sodality of Christian Life) has made public that the community has had an apostolic visitor, who is charged with investigating accusations that its founder committed sexual abuse.
The apostolic visitor, who was appointed April 22, is Bishop Fortunato Pablo Urcey of Chota. He was charged by the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life with investigating committed by Luis Fernando Figari.
“When we were told this measure was being taken, the Holy See asked us to not make the visit public or to share who had been appointed as (apostolic) visitor, so he could carry out his work in a serene environment without any pressure from the media,” Alessandro Moroni Llabrés, superior general of the , stated Oct. 26.
“In the midst of the difficult situation we are going through, I requested authorization to make public that this investigation includes an apostolic visitation to our communities in Peru,” Moroni stated.
He explained that the visit began in August “and should conclude in March 2016.”
Bishop Pablo, who made solemn profession in the Order of Augustinian Recollects in 1968, was tasked with “determining the actual authenticity” of “accusations of improper behavior leveled at the founder of this society of apostolic life.”
According to the decree of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life, Bishop Pablo will have to write and send “a detailed account of his investigation and findings” to the dicastery.
The apostolic visitation is in response to accusations that the Holy See has received against Figari.
The is a society of apostolic life that 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 in 2010.
In addition to Peru, the community operates in Argentina, Brazil, Colombia, Costa Rica, Chile, Ecuador, the United States and Italy.