The only way to describe the effect of these recent revelations about Jean Vanier on Catholics around the world is to say: It’s a shock wave.
We’ve just found out – thanks to an investigation organized by L’Arche itself – that the founder of that organization, revered for his personal sanctity and the wisdom of his teaching was also guilty of sexually abusing at least six women. Not only did he manipulate these women into intimate relations with himself, he did so while he was “ministering” to them in a time of crisis. In other words, he took advantage of someone who was vulnerable and didn’t respect their dignity and autonomy – the very opposite of everything L’Arche stands for.
(Note: Vanier, a theologian and humanitarian, died in May 2019 at the age of 90. He was the founder of L’Arche, an international community of individuals with intellectual disabilities and their supporters, and of Faith and Light, an ecumenical Christian association of prayer and friendship for those with intellectual disabilities and their families)