Lay movements ‘next frontier’ in abuse crisis, ex-Vatican official says


November 29, 2018

By Elise Harris

Rocio Figueroa Alvear is a theologian, an abuse survivor and a consecrated woman-turned-whistle-blower on scandals in her former community. After trying unsuccessfully to raise the alarm both in her order and in the Vatican, she left, and is now a researcher and activist pushing for a change in Church structures that allow abuse and cover-up to happen.

A former member of the Marian Community of Reconciliation (MCR), a pontifically-recognized Society of Apostolic Life, Figueroa said that while much discussion in the Church has so far focused on the abuse and cover-up by priests and bishops, lay movements are next on the list.

Asked whether lay movements are the “next frontier,” Figueroa said “absolutely,” and pinned part of the problem on the Church granting “too much power to lay movements.”

“They have lots of rights and no responsibilities, no accountability, so it’s very complicated,” she said, explaining that in her view, there need to be changes in canon law that better address the specific needs of lay movements which would also protect their members.

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