Maria Voce: “Immense suffering and unconditional collaboration by the Movement so as achieve clarity; the establishment of an independent inquiry after a meeting with some victims of a former consecrated member of Focolare”.
“Faced with this immense suffering, we are convinced that the only path to follow is that of offering the victims full attention and recognition of the harm done. I wish here to reiterate the Movement’s full and unconditional collaboration, to shed full light on the facts and do justice to the victims.”
This is what Maria Voce, President of the Focolare Movement, said in a press release dated 22nd October 2020 on the case of violence against minors by J.M.M. a former consecrated member of the Focolare, who lives in France.
A victim has made his case public, which goes back to 1981 and 1982 when – aged 15 – he was sexually molested.
An independent body is being established through which the Focolare Movement has decided to initiate a special inquiry, after the meeting with some victims on 18th September 2020. On that occasion Jesús Morán, Co-president of the Focolare Movement, expressed his pain and shame for the abuses suffered “and also for the silence or lack of initiative sustained for years on the part of various people in positions of responsibility”.
The composition of the independent body will be made public shortly. Its task will be to listen to the victims and to gather further testimonies, as well as investigating whether there were any omissions, cover ups or silences on the part of those responsible for the Movement. At the end of the investigation, the independent Body will make its final report public.
In the interests of the completeness of the investigation and to guarantee full transparency, the two people co-responsible for the Focolare in France and one of the people co-responsible for the Movement in Western Europe offered their resignation from their respective roles on 21st October 2020. These were accepted by the Focolare President.