Sodalitium Christianae Vitae

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Sodalitium Christianae Vitae
FLAMA SCV COLOR OFICIAL wiki.jpg
Flame
Emblem of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae
Formation 8 December 1971
Type Society of Apostolic Life
Purpose Evangelization of Culture
Headquarters General House, Calle Dos 545, Urb. Monterrico Norte, Lima 41, Perú
Region served
Worldwide
Official language
English, Spanish, Portuguese, Italian
Leader Superior General, Alessandro Moroni Llabrés
Main organ
General Assembly
Parent organization
Catholic Church
Website Sodalicio de Vida Cristiana (español)
Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (inglés)
Sodalício de Vida Cristã (portugués)

Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), or Sodalitium[1] of Christian Life is a Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right, according to the Code of Canon Law[2] which governs the Latin Rite branch of the Catholic Church. It was founded in Lima, Peru, by Luis Fernando Figari on 8 December 1971. It acquired its present canonical form when Pope John Paul II gave his Pontifical approval on 8 July 1997.[3] The Sodalitium was the first male religious society in Peru to receive papal approval. By 1997 there were Sodalit communities in several countries.

The Sodalitium is composed of consecrated laymen and priests, called "Sodalits,"[4] who live in community as brothers, live the evangelical counsels through perpetual commitments of celibacy and obedience, as well as the communication of goods.[clarification needed][5]

Being recognised as a lay society of apostolic life of pontifical right, the Sodalitium is under the authority of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life of the Holy See. This is the first lay society of apostolic life to be recognised with Pontifical approval.

In 2003 there were accusations of brainwashing of young people, and of elitism, conservatism, and authoritarianism. Later there were allegations of sexual abuse by the founder Luis Fernando Figari. There were also detailed allegations about the founder's extreme right-wing and phalangist activism in his youth.[6][7][8][9] Independent investigators commissioned by the Sodalitium reported that “Figari sexually assaulted at least one child, manipulated, sexually abused, or harmed several other young people; and physically or psychologically abused dozens of others.”[10] Apart from the sexual abuse, it was also reported that Figari committed physical abuse, being described as “appearing to enjoy observing the younger aspirants and brothers experience pain, discomfort and fear.” On one occasion, he burned an individual with a candle, and menaced members by allowing his dog to bite them at times.[11]The report also mentions that there are several other Sodalits who had physically or psychologically abused another Sodalit or a person in formation. These people are still in the community, though they have had "administrative actions taken against them and are receiving training."[12] On 30 January 2017, the Vatican's Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life ordered that Figari be “prohibited from contacting, in any way, persons belonging to the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, and no way have any direct personal contact with them.”.[13]

On 10 January 2018, it was announced that Pope Francis had appointed Bishop Noel Londoño Buitrago of the Diocese of Jericó, Colombia as papal commissioner. He will work alongside the papal delegate, Cardinal Joseph Tobin of the Diocese of Newark.[14] Francis said that a verdict would be reached within a month, and was likely to be unfavourable to Figari. Tobin had found instances of sexual and psychological abuse, and financial irregularities.[15]

Description[edit]

Sodalits consider that they "recognize in their lives the call to follow the Plan of God, aspiring to conform themselves with the Lord Jesus through Marian filial piety and striving to be fully available for the announcement of the Gospel". They say that love, to God, to Mary, and to the human person, constitutes the essence of the spirit of the Sodalitium.[16]

In their pursuit of personal holiness, Sodalits participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church, trying to spread their beliefs to others.[17]

While the Sodalitium says there are many different areas of evangelization, three "apostolic accents" are of particular importance: Christian solidarity with those who are in need and marginalized, the evangelisation of youth, and the evangelisation of culture. The promotion of the family and defending the life and dignity of humans are other important areas, as well as education are considered means to achieve the vocation regarding culture.

The government of the Sodalitium is vested in a Superior General who is elected every six years by a general assembly of Sodalits. Alessandro Moroni Llabrés holds the position of superior general from 2012-2018.[18]

According to the Sodalitium, the spirituality of the Sodalitium is known as the Sodalit spirituality,[19] which conforms to what is known in Church tradition as a spiritual family. A spiritual family refers to a large group of people who live their relationship with God from a particular perspective always in communion with the long tradition of the Church.[20] The spiritual family of the Sodalitium is known as the Sodalit Family,[21] which comprises various associations, projects and people.

Society of Apostolic life[edit]

A society of apostolic life is a group of men or women within the Catholic Church who have come together to live for a specific mission. Their members do not take religious vows, but instead make promises defined in the Code of Canon Law (731-755). Societies of Apostolic Life were introduced by the Church as a response to contemporary culture in 1965 by the decree of the Second Vatican Council, Apostolicam Actuositatem, the Decree on the Apostolate of the Laity. Other influences included conciliar documents (Lumen Gentium, Gaudium et spes); Pope Paul VI's encyclical Evangelii nuntiandi (1975), and the concluding document of the Second General Conference of the Latin American Episcopate.[22]

While societies of apostolic life are considered a new organisational type in the Church, the idea has roots that can be traced back to the 16th and 17th centuries with the foundations started by Philip Neri, Charles Borromeo, Pierre de Bérulle, Vincent de Paul, Louise de Marillac, Jean-Jacques Olier, Jean Eudes, and others. Members of these societies are fully dedicated to the apostolate and life in a fraternal community, with a formal commitment to order their lives to the work of evangelization.[2]

History[edit]

1971-1977 - Beginnings[edit]

The Sodalitium of Christian Life was founded by Luis Fernando Figari on 8 December 1971. The group was formally consolidated during a ceremonial Mass in Lima, Peru.[23] In 1972, Germán Schmitz, Auxiliary Bishop of Lima, encouraged Sodalitium to develop in the Archdiocese of Lima. Later that same year, the Bishop of the Diocese of Huaraz, Peru, Fernando Vargas Ruiz de Somocurcio, promulgated a "Decree of Praise" that invited the members of Sodalitium to carry out apostolic missions in that diocese.

The Archbishop of Lima and Primate of Peru, Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts, OFM, encouraged the Sodalitium[24] and in 1977 approved their statutes as a private association of the faithful.[25] It was the first step in the ecclesiastical-jurdical process that led the Sodalitium to its current form.

1978-1989 - Community Life and new statutes[edit]

Together with the first experiences of community life in Lima which began in 1978, the first guidelines were drafted for the fraternal life in common. These brought together different aspects from the Church's tradition of religious communities. In a house in the district of Jesus Maria, small groups of Sodalits began an experiment of fraternal life in common.

University Missions, later called Missionary Action, began in 1978, and today forms part of the Christian Life Movement under the name of CLM Missions. This is an apostolic service in which young people live communally and share spiritually and materially in rural and marginalised urban areas affected by poverty.[26] Two years later a project which sought to care for sick children also emerged at the Children's Hospital in Lima.

Following the founder's final profession[clarification needed], several others among the first Sodalits followed suit. In 1981 the first priest of the Sodalitium, Fr. Jaime Baertl Gomez, was ordained by the Archbishop of Arequipa, Fernando Vargas Ruiz de Somocurcio, SJ.[27]

In early 1984 the Formation Centre, dedicated to Our Lady of Guadalupe, was inaugurated just south of Lima, in the coastal town of San Bartolo, to serve for the first years of initial formation.

Also in 1984, Archbishop Fernando Vargas Ruiz de Somocurcio, SJ, invited the Sodalitium to found a community in the southern Peruvian city of Arequipa,[28] the first such community outside of Lima.

The same year Figari was invited to the give his "Catechesis on Love",[29] at the first World Youth Day in Rome.

In January 1985 the First International Conference on Reconciliation was organised in the city of Arequipa in order to reflect on the thought of Pope John Paul II. A month earlier the Pope had published the Post-Synodal Apostolic Exhortation Reconciliatio et Paenitentia, which was important in the development of the congress.[30]

In the same year the Christian Life Movement was formed.[29] The Life and Spirituality (Vida y Espiritualidad) association also arose, and began publishing a journal, entitled the Revista VE.[31] At the request of the parents, the Sodalitium assumed the administration of the Santa Maria school in the city of Chincha, to the South of Lima in 1985.[citation needed]

In 1986, the Sodalitium founded its first community outside Peru at the invitation of Cardinal Eugenio de Araújo Sales, Archbishop of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil, assuming responsibility for the Our Lady of Guidance (Nossa Senhora da Guia) parish.[32] In the favelas (shanty-towns) of the parish territory various solidarity projects were organized, and among the first groups of parishioners to form groups were married couples, who now form part of the Family of Nazareth association of Christian Life Movement.

In June 1987 in Lima, the first pastoral centre St. Mary of the Evangelisation was opened by the Sodalitium. At that time the Bethany association began for adult women.[33] In Arequipa the Southern Institute (Insituto del Sur) was founded,[34] offering courses for technical careers from a perspective of integral human formation.

With the publication of the new Code of Canon Law in 1983, the Sodalitium sought a clarification of its canonical status. After several consultations with the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Juan Landázuri Ricketts, the statutes were amended in 1986. The group remained a private association of the faithful, but with the structure of a Society of apostolic life (institutions dedicated to the apostolate, living communally according to their own constitutions).[35] The new statutes were approved in 1989 and the Sodalitium of Christian Life was canonically erected in the Archdiocese of Lima.

1989-1997 - Towards pontifical approval[edit]

In 1989 the Our Lady of Reconciliation parish was established in the Archdiocese of Lima,[36] which was commissioned to the Sodalitium of Christian Life by the Archbishop of Lima. The Bishop of Callao, Ricardo Durand Flórez, SJ, invited the Sodalitium to found a community in Lima’s neighboring diocese.

At the request of the Archbishop of Medellín, Cardinal Alfonso Lopez Trujillo, the Sodalitium arrived in Colombia and assumed responsibility for a parish in 1990.[37] Later that year a second community was founded in Brazil in the city of Petrópolis,[38] where Sodalits began helping in youth apostolate in universities, high school education and other solidarity efforts.

25 March 1991, Figari founded the Marian Community of Reconciliación,[39] an association of women consecrated for apostolic service, who live in community.

In 1992 the Sodalitium founded a community in the Diocese of Santo Amaro, in the city of São Paulo in Brazil.[38] The following year the Christian Life Movement arrived in San José, Costa Rica.[40]

On 22 February 1994, after obtaining the official permission from the Holy See, the Sodalitium was erected as a Society of Apostolic Life by diocesan right, by the Archbishop of Lima, Cardinal Augusto Vargas Alzamora, SJ.[41] Shortly after the Christian Life Movement was approved as an International Private Association of the Faithful of Pontifical Right on 23 March. In December the Sodalitium held its First Ordinary General Assembly, in which the Guidelines for Fraternal Life (Pautas para la vida fraterna) were presented.

In Lima in 1995 the Mother of the Faith and the Our Lady of the Sea communities were inaugurated, and the following year the community and the parish church of Our Lady of Reconciliation. The Fifth International Congress on Reconciliation was also organised. For administrative reasons and the need to adapt to the new Constitutions, the Sodalitium erected its first region in 1996: the Peru Region, which at the time consisted of communities in the jurisdictions of Lima, Callao, Chosica, Lurin and Arequipa.[42] The following year the Brazil Region was erected, with communities in Rio de Janeiro, Santo Amaro (in São Paulo) and Petrópolis.[38]

In December 1996, following the creation of the Diocese of Chosica in Lima, Peru, the Our Lady of the Cross parish was established and entrusted to the Sodalitium.

On 8 July 1997, Pope John Paul II approved the Sodalitium of Christian Life as a lay Society of Apostolic Life of Pontifical Right,[43] under the supervision of the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life.

A few months later the Sodalit community Our Lady of the Evangelization (Nossa Signora della Evangelizazione) was established in Rome.[44] Near the end of the year the St. Paul Catholic University was founded in Arequipa.[45]

1997-2010 - end of a foundational stage[edit]

The Sodalitium promoted the participation of the Christian Life Movement in the Encounter of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, convened by Pope John Paul II during the feast of Pentecost in May 1998. Several members of the Sodalit Family were invited to participate in the World Congress of Ecclesial Movements which took place at that time.

On 15 August 1998, the Solemnity of the Assumption of the Virgin Mary, Figari founded the Servants of the Plan of God,[46] a group of women consecrated to God; they live in community and evangelise and promote solidarity.

In January 1999, the Sodalitium erected the Our Lady of Carmen (Nuestra Señora del Carmen) community in Santiago, Chile.[47] That same year during the First Plenary Assembly of the CLM in Rome, on 6 December, Pope John Paul II spoke to members of the Christian Life Movement and the Sodalitium of Christian Life and invited them to be “artisans of reconciliation in the today’s world.”[48]

The Second Ordinary General Assembly of the Sodalitium of Christian Life was held in the city of Lima in December 2000, in which the founder of the Sodalitium was again elected as superior general.

At the beginning of 2001, the Colombia Region was created, comprising the jurisdictions of Medellin, Cali and Bogota.[37] Days later, the Holy See approved the incardinated of Sodalit priests to the Sodalitium, which concluded the juridical process as a society of apostolic life.

In 2002 the Immaculate Heart of Mary community was established in Guayaquil, Ecuador. On 7 April, Cardinal Juan Luis Cipriani ordained Jose Antonio Eguren a bishop, and appointed him Auxiliary Bishop of Lima until July 2006.[49]

In an Audience at Castelgandolfo in 2002 Pope John Paul II gave Figari a letter of encouragement and praise.[50]

Accepting the invitation of the then Archbishop of Denver, Charles Chaput, OFM, to administer the Saint Malo’s Retreat Center, the Sodalitium founded a community in Colorado, USA in 2003.[51]

In 2004 the Sodalitium was invited to Buenos Aires, Argentina, by Cardinal Jorge Mario Bergoglio, SJ, the archbishop of Buenos Aires and later Pope Francis.[52] The following year the Our Lady of Chiquinquirá community in Bogotá,[37] Colombia was founded; as well as the Our Lady of the Angels community in San José, Costa Rica.[40]

In 2006 Kay Martin Schmalhausen Panizo was named bishop of Ayaviri.[53] Months later Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren was appointed Archbishop of Piura.[49] To accompany the pastoral bishops the Sodalitium founded communities in Piura and Ayaviri the following year.

The Third Ordinary General Assembly of the Sodalitium of Christian Life was held in December 2006, in which the founder of the Sodalitium was again chosen as superior general.

In Santiago, Chile a second Sodalit community was established in 2007, under the name of Mother of the Apostles.[47]

In 2009 the Our Lady of the Lake Formation Center was founded in the town of Nemi, near Rome, and was conceived as a home for Sodalits who would study in Roman universities.[44]

After the Fifth General Conference of Latin American and Caribbean Bishops in Aparecida, Brazil which was held in 2007, the Sodalitium founded in 2010 the St. Mary of the New Evangelization community in this Marian sanctuary in Brazil.[38]

In December 2010 Fernando Figari resigned and an Extraordinary General Assembly was convened for the election of his successor. This concluded the phase in which the community was governed by its founder.

From 2011[edit]

At the Extraordinary General Assembly in January 2011 Eduardo Regal Villa, who since 2001 had been Vicar General and General Coordinator of the Christian Life Movement, was elected Superior General.[54]

In December 2012, at the Fourth Ordinary General Assembly Sodalit delegates for the assembly elected Alessandro Moroni Llabrés, a Peruvian, who had been superior in Santiago, Chile since 1999.[18]

Vatican oversight[edit]

In April 2015, the Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life appointed Bishop Fortunato Urcey, Prelate of Chota, as apostolic visitor tasked with investigating charges of "improper behavior" on the part of Figari. His work in Peru was scheduled to last from August 2015 to March 2016.[55] In May 2016, Archbishop Joseph W. Tobin of Indianapolis (later Cardinal Archbishop of Newark) was named to oversee the reform of Sodalit.[56] On 30 January 2017, as a result of Urcey's investigation, the Congregation decreed that Figari should have no further contact with members of the Sodalit community. Urcey had reported that while Figari was Superior General he had "adopted a style of government excessively or improperly authoritarian, directed to impose one's own will," and that "in order to obtain the obedience of his brothers [he] used improper strategies and methods of persuasion, that is to say, underhanded, arrogant and nonetheless violent and disrespectful of the right to the inviolability of one's own interiority and discretion".[57]

Ordinations to Episcopacy[edit]

Two SCV members have been ordained bishop: Archbishop Jose Antonio Eguren of Piura,[58] and Bishop Kay Schmalhausen of the Prelature of Ayaviri.[59]Both dioceses are in Peru.

Parishes[edit]

Parishes have been entrusted to the Sodalitium in the archdiocese of Lima, Peru;[60] the diocese of Chosica, Peru;[61] the archdiocese of Medellin, Colombia; the Archdiocese of Rio de Janeiro, Brazil;[62] and the Archdiocese of Philadelphia, United States.[63]

Spirituality[edit]

The views of the Sodalitium on spirituality are as follows.

Along with the common spirituality of the Catholic Church, the Sodalitium has its own spirituality ("the Sodalit spirituality"[19]), discipline and style, which the members consider to be suitable means to live one’s conversion and mission within the Church.[64] The spirituality of the Sodalitium has been influenced by Blessed William Joseph Chaminade (1761-1850), St. Ignatius of Loyola (1491-1556), several Fathers of the Church, several authors of the Benedictine and Cistercian school – among them St. Bernard of Clairvaux (1090-1153) – as well as by the French school of spirituality, including Cardinal Pierre de Berulle (1575-1629). as well as by some spiritual authors of the Spanish Catholic Reformation, including Cardinal Abbot Francisco Jiménez de Cisneros (1455-1510), Fray Luis de Granada (1504-1588) and St. John of Ávila (1500-1569).[65]

"Integral life of faith" is the foundation of the Christian life.[19] The Sodalitium's members read, study, and pray, especially meditating on the Sacred Scriptures.[66] Its tenets include:

  • The centrality of the Trinitarian Mystery[67]
  • The recognition of the Incarnation as the central event of human history, in which Jesus the Reconciler restored fallen humanity.[68]
  • Filial love to Mary, as a way of relating with her son, Jesus, and of growth in the Christian life.[66] As the mother of Jesus, Mary is seen as the spiritual mother for Sodalits, which is expressed in their motto: "Through Christ to Mary and through Mary more fully to the Lord Jesus."[69]
  • Community life, whereby the human being finds fulfilment in communion with others. In community, those who live the Sodalit spirituality are meant to have faith which they share and celebrate, living like a family in the same way as the disciples of Jesus gathered around Mary.[70] Members of the Sodalitium and its spiritual family come together as friends with the same belief, to share the life of faith, where each person should be for the others a motivation of fervour, humility, prayer, reverence, joy, work, ministry and solidarity.[71]
  • The effort to live a spirituality of everyday life, making of one's own person and actions a "worship pleasing to God", living the evangelical virtues, fulfilling duties according to one's condition and position, and using one's personal gifts in order to fulfill what are considered God's plans.[66]
  • Embracing the gift of the sacrament of reconciliation in order to live one's own conversion in order to say with the Apostle Paul: "It is not I who live, but Christ who lives in me."[72] Through reconciliation it is believed that the change of the human heart (the basis for all social change) is attained.
  • Ecclesiality expressed in obedience to the magisterium of the Church and the Pope,[73] in the participation in the life of the Church and the disposition of service for its evangelising mission, seeking to spread the Gospel.[74]

Formation[edit]

Formation for the consecrated life and priesthood has several stages. While these vary from community to community in name, length of time, and format, the following outline gives a general view of formation programmes.[75]

Aspirant

The aspirant to membership will have questions like "What does God want of me?" The aspirant has meetings and participates in certain activities while continuing their education or work. A person may be an aspirant for between one and three years.

Candidate

A more formal relationship with the community occurs when a person becomes a candidate, and must discern whether the consecrated life is the right choice. At this stage candidates live with the community. This period enables the person involved to observe and participate in religious life from inside the community, and lets the community decide whether the candidate is suitable. This stage lasts two years.

Trainee

This next stage of formation is called in some religious societies the novitiate, a one- to two-year period which marks the person's official entrance into the community. Trainees spend time in study and prayer, learning more about themselves, the community, spirituality and their religious relationship. Special periods of learning in practice are established to help make an assessment of the trainee's readiness and consistency. These periods are established with special attention to the trainee's requirements and to the convenience of change in environment in the formation process.

Marian Consecration

At the end of the main formative years, the Marian Consecration prepares the person for temporary promises, or vows.

Temporal commitment

The person explicitly makes vows of obedience, celibacy, communication of goods and all other norms contained in the Constitutions approved by the Holy See. The temporal profession is renewed yearly and may last up to nine years. Final vows can be made after three years of temporary promises.

Perpetual commitment

After these stages the person makes promises of obedience and celibacy perpetually in the Society, becoming a full member. A man preparing for the priesthood also has seminary training, where his time is spent studying theology, the Bible, the teachings of the Church, and the skills he will need to be a priest.

Structure[edit]

The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae is ruled by the Constitutions approved by the Holy See. The Constitutions establish the structure and the way the Sodalitium is governed. This structure is quite similar to other societies of consecrated life approved by the Holy See.

General Government
  • The General Assembly is the highest authority in the Sodalitium, and its decisions are binding for all members. The last assembly was held in December 2012.[76]
  • Superior General - The Sodalitium is governed by a Superior General elected every six years by a General Assembly composed of delegates, the majority of whom are elected by fully pledged members of the Sodalitium. Peruvian Alessandro Moroni Llabrés was elected superior general in December 2012 for the period from 2012-2018.[18]
  • Superior Council - Together with the Superior General, the other members that make up the Superior Council are the Vicar General, and five General Assistants who are responsible for the five areas of Spirituality, Instruction, Apostolate, Communications and Temporal Goods. Each is also elected at the General Assembly for the same period of time.[77]
Regional Government
  • Regional Superior - For administrative reasons the Sodalitium is divided in Regions and Territories, which can be compared to that which most religious societies call Provinces and Regions. Responsible for exercising the service of authority in each Region is the Regional Superior, named with the consent of the Superior Council.[78]
  • Regional Council - analogous to the Superior Council, but for each Region.
Local Government
  • Superior of a Center - A local superior is in charge of each centre in the Sodalitium, being appointed by the Superior General. Similar to the other structures of government, there is also a local Council with someone responsible for each of the five areas of Spirituality, Instruction, Apostolate, Communications and Temporal Goods. A centre may be composed of one or more Sodalit communities, and corresponding projects.[79]

Apostolic work[edit]

The members of the Sodalitium participate in the evangelizing mission of the Church, spreading the Gospel to everything they consider not in accordance with it, particularly to young and poor people. Other areas of apostolate are carried out, especially regarding the family, the defence of life and education.[80]

Apostolate with youth[edit]

Evangelising of the young is a priority for Sodalits. Apostolic work with young people takes place in different areas, such as in universities, schools, youth organisations and groups of formation, especially in the Christian Life Movement, offering conferences, missions, talks, courses, spiritual accompaniment, retreats and spaces for faith formation.[81]

Sodalits seek to evangelise the new generations of young people into their faith, especially on World Youth Days.[81][82] Since 1977, the Sodalitium and the Christian Life Movement have sponsored an International Youth Congress called Convivio. The Congress is for Catholic youth who travel from around the world to experience an intense weekend, to reflect upon contemporary society, share their experiences, and explore the problems and challenges of their lives.[83]

In 2010, Convivio Congresses were held in Australia, Brazil, Chile, Colombia, Costa Rica, Ecuador, England, Peru, Angola, the Philippines and the United States in a total of 16 cities. Tens of thousands of young people attended these Congresses.[84]

Solidarity in Action and charitable work[edit]

Solidaridad en Marcha (Solidarity in Action) is a social programme and charity branch of the SCV. Its goals are human development and poverty eradication. Through third-party support, Solidaridad en Marcha runs social projects in health care, education, and community development. Their work also includes urban infrastructure development, the construction of water systems, transportation systems, community kitchens, parks and playgrounds, schools, day-care and community centres, chapels, and medical clinics. They also conduct a number of campaigns throughout the year that focus on assisting the poor and evangelisation.[85]

As mentioned above, the SCV are concerned with what they call "solidarity with the poor", which includes apostolic work around the world to meet this concern.[86][87][88][89]

Evangelization of culture and youth[edit]

Culture is understood by the Sodalitium as the sphere in which human beings are educated and come to know themselves, in which values are formed, in which truth, goodness, and beauty are recognised and appreciated. It is a fundamental area of apostolate for the Sodalitium.[90]

The Sodalitium looks to investigate, develop thought and reflection with the aim of elevating the cultural conditions in which people are developed. There are members of the Sodalitium and its spiritual family who are dedicated to the development, research and teaching at various levels, in many different areas of culture and the professional world.

Family and defence of life[edit]

The Sodalitium emphasise the family, and considers marriage as a way of holiness[91] and the first line of evangelization, and as teacher of the faith, as well as respect for personal liberty and life

There are also apostolic initiatives that defend human life from conception until natural death.

The New Evangelization[edit]

For the Sodalitium, "has to be a very clear proclamation of the absolute singularity of the Eternal Word, incarnated in the womb of the Virgin Mary." They consider that the "truth is the same today as it was yesterday, as the Lord Jesus is the same today and always." For them, a key component is humanization, which can be seen in both Gaudium et spes and Ecclesia in America.[citation needed] The Sodalitium believe that "the theme of Evangelization of Culture, [is] a core dimension of the process of the New Evangelization."[citation needed]

The Sodalit Family[edit]

The Sodalitium has several branches that represent and promote different spiritual expressions:

  • The Christian Life Movement is an international ecclesial lay Movement that is open to people of all ages. It was approved by the Holy See in 1994. With more than 40,000 members it is by far the biggest branch of the Sodalit Spiritual Family.
  • The Marian Community of Reconciliation, also known as the "Fraternas", erected as a Society of Apostolic Life of diocesan right in the Archdiocese of Lima in 2011.[92]
  • The Servants of the Plan of God is a canonical society of consecrated women who wear a habit. They are also in the process of becoming a Society of Apostolic Life.

Controversies and criticisms[edit]

The order founded by Luis Fernando Figari, Sodalitium Christianae Vitae is considered, by its members, to be orthodox in its fidelity to the Catholic Church and its magisterium, claiming the support of various Catholic bishops.

Some groups are opposed to the Sodalitium, which has generated suspicion and alarm; it is seen by some as a conservative, elitist group with an authoritarian and fundamentalist structure. After parents accused the Sodalitium of brainwashing their son and separating him from his parents, the movement opened its doors to the press for the first time in 2003. Young members were reported as laughing at talk of brainwashing, and said that they had been evangelised, not captured, as teenagers.[6]

Pedro Salinas, a former member, said at the time that during his membership to the SCV in the 1980s he was subject to absurd orders, and assumed that "now the Sodalicios have learned from their mistakes and have evolved", but that when he was a member of the movement they had "sectarian characteristics".[6]

In 2015 Salinas published a book, Mitad Monjes, Mitad Soldados (Half Monks, Half Soldiers)[7] which reported abuse and mistreatment, including sexual abuse, by Luis Fernando Figari. The movement first published a response which was later considered insufficient, then said that it was "a cause for deep grief and shame if such acts could have been committed by Luis Fernando Figari ... We condemn the incidents that may have occurred, especially the sexual abuse". They said that the testimonies in the book were plausible and needed to be thoroughly clarified, and that former members of the Movement had reported abuse. Allegations submitted to ecclesial tribunals were withheld. Luis Fernando Figari denied all accusations, but did not make any public statement, "as would be his moral obligation". Ecclesial authorities were investigating. The SCJ asked for forgiveness, and said they offered victims help. They created a committee of members and non-SCJ experts to meet with any person affected, and said they were committed to thoroughly investigating and clarifying the truth about "the incidents, which are intolerable, because they involve grave suffering for persons who trusted our community, and they betray our deepest values". They said they were available to cooperate with civil and ecclesial authorities.[8] There were thirty allegations of abuse by Fernando Figari and his closest associates, including Daniel Murguía and Germán Doig. Salinas's book also details Fernando Figari's involvement in his youth with extreme right-wing, and phalangist groups.[9]

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Sodalitium", a word not in the Oxford English Dictionary, rather than the English "sodality", was used in the English version of the society's Web site. A sodality is a religious guild or brotherhood established for purposes of devotion or mutual help or action. The adjective "Sodalit" used on the Web site and in this article is also not in the OED. "sodality". Oxford English Dictionary.
  2. ^ a b Code of Canon Law, Can. 731 to 755, "Societies of Apostolic Life."
  3. ^ "History of the Sodalitium", article on the website of the Sodalitium.
  4. ^ Constitutions of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, 1 website of the Sodalitium
  5. ^ "What is the Sodalitium" website of the Sodalitium
  6. ^ a b c MUÑOZ-NAJA, TERESINA (2003). "Los Once Mil Castos". Caretas (in Spanish) (1763). Retrieved 18 September 2007.
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External links[edit]