- Feb 23, 2021
A network of clergy abuse survivors has joined calls for an end to lawsuits against a journalist who investigated alleged sexual abuse and financial irregularities within a controversial Catholic group.
Pedro Salinas, author of the 2015 blockbuster book ‘Half Monks, Half Soldiers,’ detailing years of allegations of physical, sexual and psychological abuse by members of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae (SCV), is being sued by an archbishop belonging to the group, who is charging the journalist with defamation.
Vatican officials have denied protecting the founder of Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Peru-based religious movement, who is accused of sexual, physical and psychological abuse of minor and young adult members of the group.
Through the years the Vatican has developed strong rules and regulations to fight sex abuse in the clergy, but two recent sex abuse scandals in Catholic lay associations show that in these cases the Church is still very slow to respond and that often local bishops fail to exercise the necessary monitoring.
The sanctions the Vatican imposed against Luis Fernando Figari, the whistleblower Pedro Salinas said, amount to a “golden exile, where he can live comfortably with all his needs taken care of.” As a layman, Figari was not subject to the same defrocking punishment used to sanction abusive priests.
An ethics commission created to investigate accusations of abuse against Luis Fernando Figari had released a report which detailed an internal culture of extreme “discipline and obedience to the founder” which was “forged on the basis of extreme physical demands, as well as physical punishments, constituting abuses which violated the fundamental rights of persons.”