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Peru: What Does the Sodality of Christian Life Think About Archbishop Charles Scicluna’s Visit to Peru to Investigate Them?

Enrique Villegas

(ZENIT News / Lima, 07.24.2023).- During the penultimate week of the month of July, several media of Peru announced a visit of a Holy See delegation, which would carry out investigations on the abuse of minors related to the Sodality of Christian Life. The delegation would be headed by Maltese Archbishop Charles Scicluna and Spanish priest Jordi Bertomeu. In the past, the Archbishop and priest have investigated cases of abuse in the United States, Mexico and Chile, among others. 

The Peruvian Episcopal Conference issued a press release in favour of the visit: “I think it’s excellent that this matter be investigated in depth, that the people involved be heard and I’m certain that the Report will be just and objective for the good of all,” said the President of the Peruvian Episcopal Conference, Monsignor Miguel Cabrejos Vidarte, OFM, who will meet with Pope Francis’ envoys on Wednesday, July 26, at the headquarters of the Apostolic Nunciature in [the district of] Jesús María.  

The Sodality of Christian Life, whose founder is the main person accused, also issued a press release, signed by the current Superior General, José David Correa González.

In regard to the invitations that some members of the Sodality of Christian Life have received from the Apostolic Nunciature in Peru to take part in meetings with the Holy Father’s delegation, we want to state the following:

  1. We wish to express our most sincere respect and cordial welcome to the persons sent to Peru by the Holy Father: Monsignor Charles J. Scicluna (Deputy Secretary of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith) and Monsignor Jordi Bertomeu (Official of the Dicastery for the Doctrine of the Faith) to hold meetings with some persons to gather detailed information on the Sodality of Christian Life. 

2. We reaffirm our commitment to collaborate fully with the Holy See, as we have always done, keeping an attitude of dialogue, transparency and sincerity. All the Sodality members, who have been summoned to the said meetings with the Holy Father’s envoys, will participate and collaborate with all the requirements requested. 

3. The Sodality of Christian Life is a lay Society of Apostolic Life a Society of Pontifical Right, and appreciates profoundly the Holy Father’s closeness who continues accompanying us in the renewal process that we have been working on for several years, together with our three delegates appointed by the Holy See, with whom we maintain permanent joint work and render constant reports of our process:

    • Friar Guillermo Rodríguez, OFM, is Delegate ad nutum of the Sodality since April of 2019 to advise and support the Superior General and the general government. In the past he  was appointed Deputy Commissioner of the Sodality from January 2018 to January 2019.
    • Cardinal Gianfranco, S.J., was appointed Delegate for Formation in 2019 and, since November 2020, is Consultor for the process of Revision of the Sodality’s Constitutions. In the past he was appointed Adviser for the Sodality’s 5th General Assembly. 
    • Cardinal  Joseph William Tobin, C.SS.R. has been the Delegate to attend to the Sodality’s financial matters since January 2019. Previously, from May 2016 to January 2019, he was appointed Delegate to accompany and guide the Sodality’s government.

4. Our commitment to truth and justice has led us to address the problems of the past and to continue working for an institutional renewal for the benefit of our community and of the society in general.

5. We ask all the Sodality’s members and our spiritual family to join us in prayer.  Let us raise our supplications to the Lord that He illumine and guide  those carrying out this special mission, so that their work is enriching and fruitful in the search for truth and justice. 

The Sodality of Christian Life is a Society of Apostolic Life dependent on the Holy See. It was founded by Peruvian layman Luis Fernando Figari who in 1971 was accused of abuse of authority, of conscience and sexual abuse by some former members since the year 2000. 

In 2010, in the midst of the process of Beatification of the one who was the Sodality’s Vicar General, Germán Doig Klinge, it was found that he also committed abuses. The process was suspended. In 2015, as a result of the publication of a book, the subject of abuse within the Sodality was made known worldwide. In 2018, the Holy See [appointed] a Commissioner to the Sodality. In 2019, the Movement repudiated its founder and the criminal acts and undertook an internal reform.