The international Focolare movement has chosen its new leaders for France. Isabelle de Moffarts, French-speaking Belgian lawyer by training, hitherto hired in Brussels, and the Italian-born Fabio Bertagnin, engineer invested in the movement for more than forty years, will take over the management of the French team, after one year. vacancy.
→ READ. Sexual abuse: the examination of conscience of the Focolare
The leadership team of the movement in France has been enlarged to accommodate six people, on a par for women and men, consecrated lay people living in community and members engaged in the social and associative world. A choice that results from a “ Synodal consultation process for Focolari France members According to the press release.
Sexual assault case revealed in October 2020
This appointment comes a year after the resignation of Bernard Bréchet and Claude Goffinet, co-leaders of the Focolare movement in France, as well as Henri-Louis Roche, co-leader of the movement for Western Europe, who had resigned after the revelation of a case. sexual assault within the movement.
In October 2020, the investigative media Les Jours published a documented investigation, which revealed faulty management in the case of sexual and pedophile assault attributed to one of the consecrated secularists of the movement. Thirty children and a few young adults, now aged 30 to 70, were allegedly victims of sexual assault by Jean-Michel M. – a figure that the Focolare movement is not able to confirm with The cross. The facts would have started in the 1970s and certain attacks were recognized by the layman himself in 1994. However, his exclusion from the movement was not pronounced until 2016.
The departure of those responsible for the movement in France was supposed to shed light on the “ possible omissions, blankets and silences From officials of the movement, about cases of sexual assault within it. “Faced with this immense suffering, underlined Maria Voce, then international president of the Focolare, we are convinced that the only way forward is to offer victims full listening and full recognition of the damage suffered. “
A company commissioned to conduct an independent investigation
Three months after the publication of the survey, the Focolare movement mandated GCPS Consulting, an independent commission, to “ investigate sexual abuse by [Jean-Michel M.], reviewing the details and assessing the context ”, ” establish the degree of knowledge of these events by those in charge ”, “ provide recommendations ” and “Write a public report”. This document should be published by the end of 2021.
→ READ. Painful revelations about Jean Vanier
The renewal of leading figures marked a first stage last February, during the election of the Israeli Margaret Karram at the head of the Focolare, within the framework of the general assembly of the movement. She succeeds Maria Voce, who had been in office for twelve years.
The association of the faithful is today present in 182 countries with more than 140,000 members and two million supporters. In France, the Focolare claim 2,000 members and 15,000 sympathizers.