Asking for forgiveness with all our hearts


The President and Co-President of the Focolare returned to the subject of sexual abuse by consecrated members of the Movement and asked for forgiveness from all the victims. “We must do all we can to ensure that traumas of this kind do not happen again in the future”.

Last Sunday, December 13th , at 12 noon there were several thousand people connected from all over the world for the Link Up, the customary appointment in video-conference that for over thirty years has brought together the members of the Focolare Movement. Jesús Morán and Maria Voce, respectively Co-President and President of the Focolare Movement, took the opportunity to look back at the serious and painful issue of sexual abuse of minors, in which consecrated persons of the Movement are also involved. Already in March 2019 Maria Voce had written a letter to all the members worldwide to inform them of this serious scourge.

Below is their address during the Link Up:

Jesús: Yes, unfortunately – as you rightly say – we have to admit that this scourge of abuse, not only child abuse but also abuse of authority, and other kinds of abuse, has also occurred among us. In this sense, we would like to take this opportunity of a worldwide link to ask for forgiveness wholeheartedly, sincerely, of all the people who have been victims of any form of abuse. This is the first thing we would like to say one year after that letter.
Then, as we know that this is never enough, we would like to reaffirm our commitment to the work we are doing, and that we want to improve more and more, in terms of prevention and training, so that these things don’t happen anymore, because they are so contradictory to what Chiara gave us, that they really shouldn’t happen anymore.
And then we reiterate the accompaniment of the victims, which is the most important thing and we hope to be able to do it even better, even more effectively.

Emmaus: Certainly, of course. It is a suffering that we live together, that we take on together, all together, and only together can we overcome it, because it is a great suffering for everyone.
I remember we wrote in that letter that every single case for us means a profound purification of the Movement, and we consider it as such. We accept it – and we said so – with humility and deep compassion for those who have suffered indescribable traumas perhaps because of our lack of attention, and we commit ourselves to directing or refocusing our conduct as individuals and as a Movement towards an ever more conscious and mature commitment to the safeguarding and well-being of minors in particular.
But we added at the time – we stressed this in that letter – that we must also be careful to look beyond our Movement, because of course we want to contribute to the fraternity of all, and therefore we must take on board the cry of pain of all those who suffer abuse, especially children but not only, children and young people of the world. And this attention must lead us to see all these people as the Spouse we have chosen, as Jesus forsaken. So we should feel drawn to go and console this pain and to do everything possible to ensure that traumas of this kind do not happen again in future.
This applies to the abuse of children and minors, as well as to all the other types of abuse, even of older people, disabled, of those who suffer abuse of any kind, of their rights, their personhood, and their dignity. We should feel drawn to go and love and relieve these wounds, to respond as far as possible with our attention and love for the victims, for all those who suffer, and to ensure that these traumas never happen again.

Edited by Stefania Tanesini

4 Comments

  • I have watched this video with great interest. Personaly I have been a member of the movement in the Netherlands from 1978 till 1998. I have waited for many years for the day that the leadership of the Focolare would apologize for the mental abuse that has taken place in the movement and also in my life. I had lost hope that the day would come. To see this video has given me new hope. Let this be a first step in healing. Maybe somebody of the movement wants to talk with me. I am open for an honest dialogue.
    Jos

  • Quel bien ce “pardon” a pu faire, en tout cas il m’en a fait à moi.
    Long Chemin que celui de vivre après un “abus” (spirituel ou de pouvoir), et d’arriver à la sérénité profonde avec la Grâce de Dieu, en particulier quand cet abus a eu des conséquences graves, comme par exemple celle de “casser” un projet de vie (je dirai, à l’image de ce qu’il se passe dans un divorce non voulu, les enfants en moins). On part pour ne pas mourir. Mais vie cassée, détruite, puis il y a le temps de reconstruction….et puis le temps pour “revenir” uniquement parce que Chiara, le Charisme nous a marqué comme un fer chaud et que l’Ame a besoin de ce Charisme (mais pas des personnes en elles-mêmes qui composent le Mouvement)…et là encore, au retour, rencontrer des difficultés parce qu’il y a souvent cette crainte chez ceux et celles qui ne sont pas “partis” et qui sont toujours dans leur premier projet de vie, la crainte peut-être de nos critiques ou de nos paroles…..ou la gêne, ou la peur inconsciente probablement de “rencontrer” la souffrance de celui ou celle qui est parti, et de n’avoir pas de réponse à donner. Il n’y a pas de réponse, sauf celle d’accueillir à bras ouverts, sans jugement et sans crainte. Ceux qui sont partis n’ont commis aucune faute, ils ont été victimes….et ont bataillés dur pour sortir de ce rôle de victime et accueillir ce que la Vie pouvait leur offrir de beau pour “continuer” autrement le Chemin.
    Alors nous n’avons pas besoin de paroles de réconfort, mais seulement d’être réintégrés dans la Famille pour qui le souhaite, ou d’être simplement accueilli comme des “Frères”.
    Qui revient pas au sein de l’Œuvre, ne revient pas pour critiquer, on revient dans une Famille parce que justement on a appris à prendre de la distance avec la fragilité des personnes et que l’on ne portera plus jamais personne sur un piédestal, parce que l’on sait que chacun de nous est un vase fragile qui contient un immense trèsor, la Perle Précieuse qu’est le Charisme…..

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