Aparecida, Brazil, Jan 22, 2019 / 07:00 pm (CNA).- Colombian José David Correa González has been selected as the new superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae, a Catholic society of apostolic life.
The selection took place during Fifth General Assembly of the Sodalitium, which is being held at the Aparecida Marian shrine in Brazil, Jan. 6-27.
Correa, 49, will serve a six year term. He was chosen by the Vatican Congregation for the Institutes of Consecrated Life and Societies of Apostolic Life from a three-person list chosen by members of the society during the general assembly.
The Sodalitium Christianae Vitae was founded in 1971 in Peru, and granted pontifical recognition in 1997. CNA’s executive director, Alejandro Bermúdez, is a member of the community.
The Sodalitium’s founder, Luis Fernando Figari, stepped down as superior general in 2010, after allegations surfaced that he had committed serial acts of abuse while leading the community. Other former leaders of the community have since faced related abuse allegations, and several remain subject to law enforcement investigations.
In February 2017, a team of 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.”
As a result, the Vatican’s Congregation for Institutes of Consecrated Life issued a decree the same month forbidding Figari from any contact with the religious community, and banning him from returning to Peru without permission from the current superior of the Sodalitium. Figari was also forbidden to make any public statements.
In January 2018, Pope Francis appointed Colombian Bishop Noel Antonio Londoño Buitrago C.Ss.R. as papal commissioner for the society, tasking him with overseeing an ongoing process of reform that began after allegations against Figari came to light. Cardinal Joseph Tobin of Newark was tasked in 2016 with assisting the community’s reform process and its internal investigations of alleged misconduct.
The election of Correa is seen as the latest step in the reform process.
The new superior general of the Sodalitium Christianae Vitae was the first Colombian member of the community. He was born in Medellin July 26, 1969, entered the SCV on September 4, 1992 and made his perpetual vows May 13, 2000.
Correa had been serving as superior of the Our Lady of Alta Gracia community in the prelature of Ayaviri, Peru, one of the poorest regions of Peru, situated 12,800 feet above sea level. Until now he was also the Secretary General of Caritas in Ayaviri.
Correa is the first non-Peruvian superior general of the Sodalitium.
The SCV general assembly next elect the community’s vicar general, who functions as an executive officer to the superior, and five members of its governing council.
The Holy See has also announced that with Correa’s selection, the Sodalitium will no longer be directly governned by its commissioner. Tobin, however, will continue to assist the community as a papal delegate, especially on financial matters.
The general assembly will conclude with a Mass of thanksgiving at the Aparecida Marian shrine Sunday, January 27.
This article was originally published by our sister agency, ACI Prensa. It has been translated and adapted by CNA.
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