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Commitments for 2020-2026

Throughout 2022 there was progress in several of the commitments that the Congregation established. Nevertheless, there is still a long path to take in search of truth, justice, and healing for the victims. Therefore, we commit to continue on this path and to prioritize the following commitments:

  1. Respond to any allegation according to the established procedures and strengthen the active outreach to victims with whom there is still no contact.
  2. Follow up on and strengthen the program for financial reparation and support for victims of sexual abuse by priests of the Congregation.
  3. Follow up on ongoing canonical proceedings according to the instructions that the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith gives in each case, constituting the corresponding tribunals and ensuring the participation of external canon lawyers as judges and advisers.
  4. In 2023, begin an external audit of the work carried out and reflected in the reports that have been published.
  5. With external experts, examine possible evidence of concealment or grave negligence with respect to past cases of abuse and enact the corresponding processes.
  6. Carry out the processes of external accreditation or reaccreditation of safe environment standards that are underway in several territories.
  7. Expand collaboration with external institutions and experts, and establish forums for consultation with victims of sexual abuse for the continuous improvement of the Congregation’s work in this area.
  8. Address the issue of abuse of authority and conscience, as noted by the General Chapter: “We ask the General Government to analyze this complex reality and to propose appropriate measures in view of pastoral formation, the prevention of any type of abuse and the healing of those affected.

2020 General Chapter

The study conducted in 2019 by the «Commission on cases of past cases of abuse of minors and attention to the persons involved» on the phenomenon of abuse in the Congregation of the Legionaries of Christ from its foundation in 1941 to 2019 generated a series of proposals and recommendations that were presented during the 2020 General Chapter, the highest governing body of the Congregation. These proposals sought to further consolidate the Congregation´s commitment against the abuse of minors through international safe environment policies as well as comprehensive care of victims. The Commission noted in the historical study how necessary and successful the standards of prevention, response and supervision have been put into practice on an international level since 2015. Among the pending issues, it stated the need to examine where there might have been cover-up, negligence or omissions on behalf of those in government.

2020 General Chapter Declarations and Commitments

The General Chapter produced two new historical documents that gather the fruits of its reflections, decisions and commitments with regards to confronting the abuse of minors by members of the Congregation as well as the care of victims.

2014 General Chapter

From the 2014 Chapter Communiqué on government, authority and obedience: institutionalizing the formation of safe environments. “In his letter of December 5, 2013, the pro-director general informed the entire Congregation about the principles being followed by the general government in preventing abuse and in dealing with accusations (delicta graviora) brought against any Legionary. For their part, the territorial directors (provincials) also informed the General Chapter about the state of implementation of the «code of conduct» for Legionaries in dealing with minors, women or vulnerable adults, and about the procedures, adapted to the civil legislation of each country, to be followed when allegations are made against a religious or priest. We, the Chapter Fathers, have noted with satisfaction that the General Director and the territorial directors in recent years have made an effort to appoint people in charge and create commissions to urge local superiors and directors of apostolates to comply with the requirements of the civil codes or certifications in order to promote safe environments in our houses and apostolates. We ask the new government to continue the efforts undertaken and the progress made in this field, in order to protect as much as possible all the people with whom we work and to reduce risks as much as possible. We also ask the general director to establish, with the consent of his council, procedures and action criteria for the safe environment policy that all territories must comply with over the next six years. In territories where there is no independent organization that certifies the quality of the work for the prevention of abuse and for the handling of complaints and possible victims of abuse, the same General Directorate will act as an accrediting body and will offer advice to the territorial directors and safe environment coordinators in order to comply with all the requirements and procedures and action criteria.” You can find the full 2014 Chapter Communiqué document here.
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