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Vatican was slow to move on abuse charges against Peruvian leader of lay movement

June 02, 2016

The Vatican took nearly five years to act on reports of sexual abuse by the leader of an influential lay movement based in Peru, according to a report by Austen Ivereigh for the Crux web site.

Basing his report on a document from an ecclesiastical tribunal in Peru, Ivereigh says that complaints against Luis Figari, the founder of the Sodality for Christian Life, had been brought to the attention of the Congregation for Religious in May 2011. That Congregation eventually, in 2015, ordered an apostolic visitation of the movement, and in May 2016 announced a program for reform of the group. 

Father Federico Lombardi, the director of the Vatican press office, told Crux that the Vatican's slow reaction reflected "the complexity and diversity of positions and interpretations" in the complaints against Figari. 

Figari stepped down as leader of the Sodality in 2011. In April of this year-- prior to the Vatican's disciplinary action-- the Sodality announced that it believed the founder was "guilty of the abuses of which he is accused," and "totally deplores and condemns his behavior." 

 
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