Prevention of Abuses of Power and Authority

There is a growing interest in the Church regarding the themes of prevention of the abuse of power, authority and conscience. Sr Ianire Angulo Ordorika notes, “However much its importance is recognised, the abuse of power and conscience has, in a way, been relegated. One of the reasons is for the slippery terrain that occupies and its complexity to be approached. While crimes of a sexual nature are quantifiable, other forms of manipulation are difficult to determine.” (in “The unnamed presence – Abuse of power in Consecrated Life”).
For this reason, the team of APA was asked by the commission of formation (For-For) to give some formations to the formators on these topics. The APA team were happy to assist, and gave two formations on the topic of prevention of abuse of power and authority in formation imparted by the team of Ana Elisa Ramirez Barrera (Mexico) and James McTavish (Scotland).

The first session was held on 15 October 2022, and dealt with the following aspects among others: definitions of abuse of power, authority, and conscience, what is not abuse, and structures of abuse. A real case from the Church was shared to the formators, and a discussion followed.

In the follow up session on 14 January 2023, a concrete application was made to the Verbum Dei charism, looking at prevention of such abuses in the following settings: revision of life and spiritual accompaniment, being a formator and responsible, and fraternal life in community.

The feedback from the sessions was positive, and we note that these types of formations are essential for our charism and mission of accompanying persons in the world of today as Pope Francis has frequently underlined: “Men and women today experience serious identity problems and have difficulty making proper choices; as a result, they tend to be conditioned and to delegate important decisions about their own lives to others. We need to resist the temptation of usurping individual freedom, of directing them without allowing for their growth in genuine maturity. Every person has their own time, their own path, and we must accompany this journey” (Address to participants in the Third World Congress of Ecclesial Movements and New Communities, 22 November 2014).

If you or your community would like to receive formations on the above themes, please feel free to contact the APA team.

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