Margaret Karram: I commit myself on behalf of the Focolare Movement to respond with action, listening, openness and preventive measures, to the final recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry.”

The Focolare Movement has announced the results of the investigation carried out by an external and independent body into the cases of sexual abuse involving JMM, a former consecrated member of the Focolare Movement in France.

On 23rd December 2020, the Focolare Movement entrusted the Inquiry to the British company GCPS Consulting, an independent body whose mission has always been to help institutions improve their systems for preventing and reporting abuse. To ensure the integrity, quality and reliability of the inquiry process and its results, the Focolare Movement also appointed Alain Christnacht, a former senior French civil servant, as an independent supervisor, with no connection to the Movement.

At the request of the victims, the Focolare Movement entrusted the inquiry to an independent Commission in the same spirit with which the French Bishops’ Conference commissioned CIASE (Commission indépendante sur les abus sexuels dans l’Église), in February 2019, to carry out an investigation into the whole of the Catholic Church in France with the sole aim of giving absolute priority to the victims in its investigation.

The independent body received testimonies covering the period 1958-2020 which clearly show that JMM was responsible for different levels of abuse of at least 26 victims.

GCPS Consulting summarises the work done for the Inquiry as follows:

“Listening to the victims was one of the main tasks and a challenging part of the process, for the victims and for the Inquiry team, but it is the most important element.

The report describes events over five decades in which JMM abused or attempted to sexually abuse his victims, mainly teenage boys, describing his modus operandi and also the context in which the abuse took place. The investigation listened to other victims of abuse, some sexual and also other types of abuse, from a significant number of victims and witnesses.

The fact that the abuse was widespread and not addressed, even when reported to those in positions of leadership and responsibility, is also a subject of the report. The Inquiry was asked to examine the extent to which the people responsible were aware of these events at the time and subsequently, and to assess how they were addressed. The report describes in detail how complaints were not responded to adequately, victims were not heard, were not treated appropriately, and how opportunities were missed to respond to JMM’s abuse and to prevent subsequent incidents.

Finally, the report details how the Focolare Movement has developed safeguarding measures more recently and makes a number of recommendations to strengthen the safeguarding environment, including those related to fundamental changes in culture and leadership”.

After reviewing the report Margaret Karram, President of the Focolare Movement, said,

“There are no words that can adequately express the shock and pain I feel at the harm that has been done to children and young people by JMM and – I say this with immense suffering – not only by him, as is clear from the results of the inquiry.”

Addressing the victims, she added, ‘In this moment, all my thoughts and feelings are for you who have suffered a very serious crime that in many cases has ruined your lives’.

TO EACH AND EVERY ONE OF YOU PERSONALLY,
AND TOGETHER WITH CO-PRESIDENT JESÚS MORÁN,
AND ON BEHALF OF THE FOCOLARE MOVEMENT,
I HUMBLY ASK FORGIVENESS

We must recognise that despite the good that the Movement has done throughout its history, here we failed in being vigilant, in listening and in being receptive to the cries for help from so many people. This must not happen again and is in total contradiction with the values that the Focolare Movement with its Christian spirituality is called to live.

I commit myself on behalf of the Focolare Movement, to respond with action, listening, openness and preventive measures, to the final recommendations made by the Independent Inquiry”.

The Focolare Movement is more determined than ever to ensure that its communities around the world are safe places where there can be mutual enrichment. As the GCPS inquiry points out, in 2011 the Movement began an in-depth evaluation of measures to prevent abuse and safeguard people. Those measures were reviewed in 2014 and 2020 and will be further updated after an in-depth study of the results of this inquiry.

The Focolare Movement has informed the French Bishops’ Conference and the Dicastery for Laity, Family and Life of the publication of the report.

The Movement’s main concern is to contribute as much as possible to the healing process of the victims, including financial compensation, if necessary and requested.

For this reason, on the recommendation of the Church in France, the Focolare Movement has asked the “Commission indépendante de reconnaissance et de réparation” (CRR), a multidisciplinary body composed of experts from civic society and set up by CORREF (Conférence des Religieux et Religieuses de France) to accompany victims who so wish on their path to reparation. As of now, victims can contact this body.

Mail: victimes@crr.contact
Tel: 09 73 88 25 71
Internet site: https://www.reconnaissancereparation.org

In order to fulfil its commitment to the victims of JMM, the Movement has for some months now been running a psychological support procedure coordinated by Dr Alexis Vancappel. This procedure will be maintained for the victims who have already used this service.

The Focolare Movement states that in the coming weeks it will make known the procedures and measures it intends to put in place to respond to the recommendations contained in the report.

The results of the survey are published in full and accessible to all on the GCPS Consulting website and on the French as well as the international website of the Focolare Movement (active links). At present, the survey is available in English, French and Italian. Translations in German, Spanish and Portuguese will be added later.

Stefania Tanesini

Independent investigation (full text)

Summary report

Supervisors report Alain Christnacht

Letter from the Focolare President and Co-President to the members of the Focolare Movement in France

19 Comments

  • Sí, es un profundo dolor para todos por éste enorme daño moral y psicológico a éstas personas que en buena fe confiaron en él como en los miembros de la obra allí en Francia. Esto nos hace estar más atentos para evitar que éstas cosas se vuelvan a repetir y que en los procesos de selección vocacional haya un gran filtro sobre los postulados para corroborar la madurez psicoafectiva e incluso la historia personal y familiar del postulado. En razón a que comporta una gran responsabilidad tanto para esa persona como para la obra que lo acoge y lo acompaña en su vocación de servicio a Dios a través de la la vida de unidad y en comunidad

    • English: Yes, it is a deep pain for everyone for this enormous moral and psychological damage to these people who in good faith trusted him as the members of the work there in France. This makes us more attentive to prevent these things from happening again and that in the vocational selection processes there is a great filter on the postulates to corroborate the psycho-affective maturity and even the personal and family history of the postulate. Because it entails a great responsibility both for that person and for the work that welcomes him and accompanies him in his vocation of service to God through the life of unity and in community

    • English: This procedure is very important to all of us, and we deeply apologize to all victims.
      In unity with Margaret and Jesus.

  • Esprimo sconcerto e profondo dolore per quanto accaduto. Mi unisco alla richiesta di perdono che la lettera esprime, col desiderio di un profondo necessario cambiamento.

    • I express bewilderment and deep sorrow for what happened. I join the request for forgiveness that the letter expresses, with the desire for a profoundly necessary change.

  • Me uno a nossa Presidente e todos os membros da Obra neste momento de dor e principalmente de reconhecer e investigar este tipo de dano ocorrido, ação que vai totalmente contra tudo aquilo que pregamos e vivemos.
    De suma importância para com as vítimas neste processo. Que não se repita e aprendamos com esta dor.
    Infelizmente está presente em todos os grupos da sociedade, vivemos o bastante para testemunhhar o ideal de Chiara que não seja manchado por ações deste tipo.
    Obrigada Margareth e Jesus Moran pela fidelidade incondicional e genuína.
    Confiamos em vocês.
    Que Deus nos ajude.

    • English: I join our President and all the members of the Work in this moment of pain and especially to recognize and investigate this type of damage that has occurred, an action that goes totally against everything we preach and live.
      English: Of paramount importance to the victims in this process. May it not happen again and let us learn from this pain.
      Unfortunately, even if it is present in all groups of society, we have lived long enough to witness Chiara’s ideal that is not tarnished by actions of this type.
      Thank you Margaret and Jesus Moran for unconditional and genuine fidelity.
      We trust you.
      God help us.

  • Agradezco a las autoridades actuales del Movimiento de los Focolares por el esfuerzo que están realizando para llegar al fondo de los acontecimientos acaecidos a lo largo de todos estos años, sabemos que ninguna acción será suficiente para restituir estas vidas truncadas, aún así confiamos que todas estas medidas puedan ayudar a sanar y superar los daños sufridos. Como miembro del movimiento y como cristiana me uno al pedido de perdón por todo lo sucedido y ruego al Señor de los Amores que sane vuestras profundas heridas.

    • English: I thank the current authorities of the Focolare Movement for the effort they are making to get to the bottom of the events that have taken place over all these years, we know that no action will be enough to restore these truncated lives, even so we trust that all these measures can help heal and overcome the damage suffered. As a member of the movement and as a Christian, I join the request for forgiveness for everything that happened and I pray to the Lord of Loves to heal your deep wounds.

  • I join in prayer with all, victims and their families, leadership of Focolare, worldwide members for continued humility and openness to Holy Spirit. May we worldwide members become aware, acknowledge publicly the report made and join Focolare president in asking forgiveness and not repeat what is called minimizing the report or sweeping the report under the rug. We move forward and hope for regular psychological testing of all consecrated members early on and before intervals of vows and be afforded appropriate guidance to leave or get treatment. Mary desolate, our Lady of sorrows be with all.

  • Where is the report published? What we have on this website is are links to a short summary report and a summary by Alain Christnact. I may have missed it but was led to believe that the full report was being published on the International Focolare website. Could you please provide an easily accessible, highly visible link to the actual report. Thanks.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.