Friday, 30 October 2015


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 LimaPeru) 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.

The accusations against Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari came from one of the movement’s former members, Pedro Salinas, who recently published a book called “Half Monks, Half Soldiers” (Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados).

In it, Salinas quoted witnesses who described Figari as a “sexual abuser, a sexual predator.”

The group now apparently has acknowledged that at least some of the charges against Figari have merit.

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.

Bishop Fortunato Pablo Urcey, prelate of Chota, was appointed apostolic visitor of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae – THE SODALITY OF CHRISTIAN LIFE

LIMA, Peru — The superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (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.

Bishop Urcey

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 allegations of abuse 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 Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, 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 Sodalitium Christianae Vitae 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 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.


  1. I wonder - what is the connection between sexual abuse and the Catholic Church's promotion of sexual guilt, sexual denial, obligatory celibacy and virginity.

    There has to be an important connection.

  2. MourneManMichael30 October 2015 at 18:24

    Pat, I'm sure you don't 'wonder' as in 'being surprised', and that your query is purely rhetorical.
    Apart from the hypocrisy of such clerical perpetrators of abuse, there is, for me, another major issue.
    How is it possible that repeatedly, continuosly, and for long periods, so many clerics, particularly those in the RC church, can commit what their God, Bible and church decrees to be a mortal sin, and yet continue to believe in the existence and relevance of these professed deistic central beliefs?
    I acknowledge that some will argue that their behaviour and beliefs are not totally incompatible and quote scripture, canon law etc all about God's mercy, forgiveness of sinners; that fornication, buggery sodomy and the like are not "adultery" as per the ten commandments given via Moses. Such quasi theological loopholes are of no interest or relevance to me!
    I can but say, that if I was not already a humanist with no belief in any god, then certainly the behaviour of clerics alone would cause me to have grave doubts about the validity of any form of religious belief.

    1. MMM, You are right. I am not surprised.

      I just cannot take it in that these people who vehemently preach celibacy, virginity etc not only sleep around with men and women but have sex with minors and it does not really worry them. They still hand around with popes, bishops and people like Mother Teresa.

      There is a deep moral and psychological schizophrenia at the centre of this - and perhaps even a deep and evil contempt for people.

      And it seems that these things are most common among the right wing ones.

      It is the Pharisees all over again - only worse this time.

    2. MourneManMichael30 October 2015 at 19:37

      I entirely agree, especially with the gist of your third paragraph, though I would rather describe it as a psychological incongruity rather than a functional mental illness.

  3. I remember being told in college (Rome) that the proportion of sex abusers in the church is no different to that of any other demographic in society. I dont know if this is true or not. What I would be interested in knowing is if any egghead has discerned why church people -who should be of high moral standing abuse. More important still when someone does abuse why does the church institution try so hard to protect them. Criminal court is the place for genuine abuse allegations to be sorted

  4. I note a silence from Rev Bile, D+C PP, Retired PP etc on this subject. Much tooo close to home me thinks.
    Dalriada Dick

  5. MourneManMichael2 November 2015 at 09:48

    Indeed you may be right in quoting that Sean, (that the proportion of sex abusers in the church is no different to that of any other demographic in society), and I must confess that I, like many others, had the contrary impression.

    Wikipedia, under the heading "Catholic Church and Sexual Abuse Cases" quotes several studies showing that the prevalence is no greater among the clergy. But one comment, by Aiden Lewis writing in May 2010 for the BBC makes a telling comment which perhaps throws light on the popular misconception that clerical sexual abuse is rampant. He says that, "what has made the crisis stand out are the cover-ups and other alleged shortcomings in the way abuse was dealt with, ......the abuse of authority."

  6. Pat you remind me of a child that plays football doesn't get picked and takes the ball home. You throw the dummy out of the pram when you don't get your way

  7. MourneManMichael2 November 2015 at 14:59

    An interesting perspective at 12:03.
    It would certainly add weight to it if you could kindly assist us with the evidence?

  8. Unbelievable that you would connect child abuse to celibacy. You are a twisted man Mr Buckley

  9. MourneManMichael4 November 2015 at 10:43

    It's difficult to refute a comment which gives no basis for the opinion expressesd. It is merely that, an opinion, to which everybody is entitled. "De gustibus non est disputandum" springs to mind.
    However in asserting that Pat "connects" child abuse to celibacy we can but assume from the subsequent comment using the word 'twisted', that Anonymous at 15:31 is using the word connect in a causitive sense, hense the pejorative comment.
    I do not recall clear evidence for such an assertion in Pat's blogs, and no doubt Anonymous will draw our attention to it if I have missed it.
    However what I believe Pat does is draw attention to the serious matter of clerical sexual abuse, it's emotional and psychological effects, and in particular, to the RC's lamentable role in handling such abuse, both of the victims, and of the inherent abuse of church power.
    In raising the issues, and indeed questioning what links there may be, Pat finds himself in some very eminent company, as a simple search of Wikepedia will show under the heading of "Debate on the Causes of Clerical Child Abuse".
    Cardinal Christoph Schonborn,Archbishop of Vienna, and one time strongly tipped for the Papacy, and eminent theologian Hans Kung are pretty good company to be considered with.

  10. "I wonder - what is the connection between sexual abuse and the Catholic Church's promotion of sexual guilt, sexual denial, obligatory celibacy and virginity.

    There has to be an important connection."

  11. All they have to do is go to confession,isn't it? Then start all over again! What a loophole for any Catholic, whether, child sexual abuser or murderer, presumably that is what the predatory sexual child abusers did, soooooooooooo simple, If it was not so sad,illegal,and downright damaging, it would be risible.Frigari's predator behaviour,is a prime example of what has been going on,(since the inception of the Catholic Church) only hushed up until recently. I have got to the stage, where, I would not trust any priest with any minor, or, for that matter a craw thumper, with any minor. Definitely the suppression of expression of sexuality, by enforced celibacy in my opinion, is a large contributory factor in the excesses of child sexual abuse found in this one organisation, namely, the Catholic clergy, I am glad I am out of it.