This is what one
of the visitors of our website wrote to us:
As a devout catholic, I have tried to
get to know about focolare spirituality, because my dear friend
became a full-time member of focolare. I approached the
movement with open mind, because she told me that this is the best
that can happen in one's life, that they have an Ideal, that
the Pope is with them etc etc.
Obviously she wanted also me to know it. But
the more I got to know the movement, the less I liked it, because in
my humble opinion, the tacking marks of spiritual
manipulation, brainwash and personality cult are so evident
everywhere I look.
Because of her, I probably will
continue to go occasionally there as long as needed, because I don't
want to let her down. As many, who are recruited in Christian
sects, also she is very tender, very sweet, very good willing,
trusting and vulnerable person - but also quite naive,
defenceless and submissive to influences. With great sadness I
notice, that in many ways she
has given up her reason, her independent thinking, and her intellect
is somehow degenerating.
But she cherishes the friendship with
me, and has often asked me to stay her friend, so I will do it
for her whatever it takes. I think this is the best how I can
help her. I can not do to her the same the movement is doing -
I can not try to counter-brainwash" her.
Because what the movement is
doing, is I think a mental violence, and I can not do the violence
EVEN if I would believe that it is for good cause. I don't
pretend that I know the will of God. I can just hang on, stay
next to her, be there if she needs me, and pray for her. If
the day will come, when she will be brought to her senses, I will be
there for my friend to help her return to the beautiful world
For more information about other
opinions and recent discussions you can visit our
Remarks of yet another
At one level the focolare does not
appear to be democratic. At the risk of sounding really
scandalous...who says that is a bad thing? Is the Catholic church
democratic? Not really. However, in case you despair at that, then
at least consider the fact that the majority of the coordinating
council of the movement (including the president) is elected every
seven years by the zone delegates. This is clearly laid down in the
statutes of the movement which have been approved by the Church. So,
is focolare democratic? Yes and No. As for how the Gen "white" for a
zone is chosen, I really don't see that the system in place has any
The 'internal' members of the movement
are not quasi trade union members, with "rights" accorded to them
because of their 'status'. They are individuals who have voluntarily
undertaken a way of life guided by a spirituality which has been
closely monitored, evaluated and approved (at least by the Roman
Catholic Church) as an authentic charisma. I have never had any
problems sharing my concerns about how things should or shouldn't be
within focolare, however I also recognise that just because I view
something one way doesn't mean it should change. Change does happen
in the movement - I can see that in the time I have known it and if
you speak to people who have been around longer you will see that
that is true, but, again a bit like the Church, I guess that the
belief is that change should be directed by a slow discernment of
the Spirit and not by individual or minority group pressure.
Answers of the Webteam
We never said that not being
democratic is a bad thing, but we believe it could be an issue to
discuss, not something above discussion. Sometimes a gen had a
discussion in the focolare and the ultimate reason for doing
something was that the leader felt is was God's Will to do it. Here
we see a potential danger. Focolare seems to consider itself to be a
mirror of the Catholic Church (Mystical body of Mary as mirror of
the Mystical body of Christ). You also seem to imply that the fact
that the Catholic Church is not democratic may be enough to
legitimate the focolare not being democratic.
As you might know, the election
process of the president and the council is influenced heavily by
talks among the participants in the days before elections. The
statutes mention that the voting members have to be together in
meditation for 3 days before elections. By that time everybody knows
what is expected of them.... And, by the way, who has appointed the
delegates that choose the new president in the first place? Wasn't
that the President herself???
Let's forget about the gen-white for a
moment and look at the leaders of New Humanity, New Parishes and
other mass movements. These are grown up adults who could have a
vote about their leaders but we never saw anything of the kind. Yet
a lot of money and time is involved in these movements.
We appreciate your view about sharing
your concerns in the focolare. What worries us is that you and many
others do not know everything that is going on, you are left in the
dark and told to trust the Spirit. But people, even focolarini can
make mistakes. We have been told that even if a focolarino makes a
mistake, and you do what he tells you, God will make sure it is the
right thing after all. If is brings you pain, it is a chance to love
Then you say that the movement is
closely monitored. We wonder about this a lot. By this time, a lot
of important clergy in the Catholic Church participate in the
Focolare. It seems not so difficult for some bishops to approve of a
group that they themselves are part of.
Our appeal is to focolare is: to be
more transparent. Not to give in to individuals or minority groups
but to ask for peoples opinions and to be open about the decision
making process in all levels of the movement. God's Will should not
be a secret. Let us know about what happened in 1943 and what is
going on now in the countries where focolare politicians are
Question from a friend
I am an outsider, with very little
contact with movement. In fact I am a non believer of the Catholic
church. In your website, you said "this site is not accusing the
focolare, but we are asking legitimate questions". I take that you
have been with the Focolare House and you may also spent couple of
years in Lopiano. For whatever reason(s), you left the
My question to you is that why didn't
you ask the right questions before committing yourself? Isn't the
time spent in Lopiano long enough to judge for yourself whether the
life of the movement is suitable for or not? My understanding is
that when you stay in the Focolare house as a Popo or Popa you sign
a covenant to donate all your possessions to the movement that
includes your income. I don't see any deception.
Why don't you give the reader some
fact not accusation of the deceptions you keeping talking about. Let
the reader decide whether there is any ground to believe
Answer to a friend
Reading your story, I see two
First: Why did I
not ask questions before I got involved with the focolare?
Second: Can I give more facts about
deception by the focolare?
To start with the first. When I got to
know the focolare I was still very young and in a vulnerable
situation. I was alone and experienced some problems in my life.
Focolare people were very friendly to me and has was receptive for
their friendliness. The focolare did not appear to be a threat to my
personality. After some time I got more involved and it was a thrill
to work with them. Every time I did something right I was rewarded
and I was told if I did something wrong. Life became very simple. I
remember that I tried to convince myself like this: “If Chiara has
thought about the right way of living so much and she tells us how
to do it, what is the use of me trying to find out all for myself
what is right for me? If I live like Chiara I will be sure to go to
Heaven.”. So I stopped asking questions to myself and to the
focolare. I now regret that focolare people encouraged me to live
like this, without any critical reflection.
I never lived in Loppiano and never made vows
like you assumed, but I was involved in spreading the movement to
other regions. In doing this, it became clear that this high goal
justifies almost every means. Making yourself one with another
person, except in sins, meant that we never revealed out true
intentions (spreading the focolare) but we were always playing
theatre, a so called Devine comedy... In the end I lost my
personality and did not know who I was anymore.
In short: Before you are in the
focolare, you do not know what questions to ask, and when you are
inside, it is too late to ask questions because everything is so
Secondly some more facts about
deception. There is so much of it, I don’t know where to start. Let
me give you some facts.
one of the important decisions that are made by the leaders of
focolare is democratic.
There is no clarity about the amount of money that focolare
posses and how it is used.
3. Leaders in the co-ordinating Council have
complete power over the lives of people who have given vows to the
4. The co-ordinating
Council controls all of the branches like Parish Movement, Gen
Movement, New Humanity.
prizes and honorary doctorates that Chiara received are prepared by
focolare people in the different countries and their aim is to
emphasise the humanitarian side of focolare while it actually is a
deeply religious, catholic organisation.
Now you may think these are no facts
but accusations. Many people have said so before, but nobody has
given any evidence to the contrary. Here is my evidence:
1 I have been a full time member for
20 years and part of the time I was in the local co-ordinating
Never has there been any voting about any issue of policy
in the movement.
2 I often
asked for annual reports, other people also did but nothing was
showed or given.
People have been sent to far away countries because they did not
function right or because it was said that this
country needed a popo or a focolare.
4 Branches do not choose their own leaders but the Capo-zona talks
with the leaders in Rome and then it is decided
who will be leader
of a branch.
5 This is tricky
because it is well guarded. But if you look at all the prizes, you
can recognise a pattern. Focolare people
may say it is Gods Plan,
but I believe that humans cannot begin to fathom Gods plans. We are
convinced that the
power that the focolare represents because of
their financial, political and economical influence generates the
necessary opportunities that are needed to win prices for Chiara.
So my dear friend, here is your
answer. If anybody like to give a reaction, please do so but
preferably in a decent way. I am sure that Chiara is not at all
happy with all those defenders of the true faith who show no love or
respect for me or the other webmasters. Always remember your aim: To
love your enemy.
Take good care