MESSAGE OF THE V GENERAL ASSEMBLY
OF THE SODALITIUM CHRISTIANAE VITAE
Forgiveness and Reconciliation
1. The incorporated members of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae have gathered from January 6th to January 27th, 2019 in the city of Aparecida (Brasil) at the feet of Nossa Senhora da Conceição Aparecida. Placing ourselves under the mantle of Saint Mary, we have meditated over the words “Do whatever He tells you” (John 2,5), which have accompanied our works and pointed us towards the Lord in this crucial time of our history.
Our work has been accompanied by the Pastors whom Pope Francis has entrusted the task of overseeing and caring for our Society: Ad nutum Delegate, Card. Joseph William Tobin, C.Ss.R., the Commissary Apostolic, Mons. Noel Londoño, C.Ss.R., the Assistant Commissary Apostolic, Fr. Guillermo Rodríguez, O.F.M., and the Pontificial Assistant R.P. Gianfranco Ghirlanda, SJ. Through their selfless service, experience and wisdom we have been able to experience the presence of Peter’s successor and the maternal company of the Church.
2. Our Assembly began with a week of Spiritual Exercises, in which we dedicated ourselves to prayer to discern what God is asking of our community. This has allowed us to be more sensible to understand the pains and joys that we have gone through in this last years.
3. This message is directed to all members of the Sodalitium and our spiritual family, to the Church in general and particularly to its Pastors, to society in general, and especially to those that have suffered in any way due to the regrettable actions that occurred within our community.
4. Although each individual is responsible before God and others for their own actions, we recognize that our community has committed abuses and faults that have caused real harm. As an Assembly we wish to sincerely ask for forgiveness to the victims of these abuses and mistreatments. We renew our commitment to doing everything within our grasp to continue healing these wounds and sufferings in justice and charity, and to make sure that these actions never occur again. This request for forgiveness is also extended to the whole Church and her Pastors, to our spiritual family, as well as to any person who has suffered scandal, confusion and pain due to these sad facts.
5. We recognize that in our past, particularly in some aspects of it, practices or approaches that didn’t reflect the Gospel existed and were even contrary to the vocation that we have unworthily received from God. There was self-referentiality, pride, little openness, little listening capacity and little self-criticism to accept mistakes and faults when it was necessary. For all of that we ask for your forgiveness. With the aid of the Holy Spirit we believe we have been able to take a step forward in the acknowledgement of these actions and its reach, to see reality more through God’s eyes.
6. This has led us to admire the abundant blessings that are also part of our history. We treasure the moments of brotherly communion in the presence of Our Lord, lived in prayer, friendship, solidarity and apostolate that have forged our identity and that we have again experienced during our Assembly.
We also understand that the process of conversion does not conclude with this Assembly. We will continue to work in our purification of everything that is not in accordance with evangelical values, trusting that the Lord will continuously offer his Grace to enable us to keep moving forward in the reconciliation of all.
7. We consider it our duty as the Assembly to make a statement about the relationship between our community and Luis Fernando Figari, who we cannot consider a spiritual reference for our sodalit life. With pain and shame we firmly condemn the abuses committed by him: the bad use of his authority, his lack of respect for (personal) freedom, his physical and psychological abuses, and his sexual abuses, which were denounced and investigated by our community and the Holy See.
During these days as the Assembly we have also been better able to understand the way the first accusations were received, the consultations made to the Holy See and the investigations which our community solicited and carried out with the help of foreign experts. Finally, we want to thank the Holy See for allowing us to carry out the process of imposed residence outside of the Sodalitium for Luis Fernando Figari which the Sodalitium’s authorities requested several years ago, and today after his appeals before the Apostolic Signature have been denied, will be made effective.
8. In the midst of all difficulties, our Assembly has been an opportunity to experience the strength of God’s love. Our sessions, centered on the Eucharist, have been a time of open dialogue, communion and reconciliation among brothers of various ages and countries who have different experiences and points of view, in which we have perceived the gift of the Church’s faith as well as that which is authentic, alive and fruitful of the charism and spirituality given by God to our community. This fills us with joy, consolation and hope.
9. To all of those that have supported us with their prayers, friendship and patience, we express our most sincere gratitude. To our families we express our thanks and love for their support, and we ask for their forgiveness for what they might have suffered. Finally, we wish to thank all of those that at some moment have been a part of our community, for having served in the Church’s mission and shared our life. To those that have felt hurt or have decided to take distance from us, we beg you to listen to our request for forgiveness and we hope that in due time we can reestablish communion and friendship with you.
10. The work of the V Assembly and the election of our new authorities named by the Holy See among those proposed by the Assembly encourage us in the hope to continue with an even stronger effort the process of renovation that we started a few years ago. There is much to be done and we clearly feel that there is still much to be walked. In this experience of humbleness we can hear the voice of our Mother pointing the way “Do whatever He tells you”. Holding her hand, we look into the future filled with hope and willing to do all that is at our reach to answer Our Lord Jesus’s call to give Him all our lives as his disciples and apostles.
Aparecida, January 26th, 2019,
The sodalit members of the
V Assembly General