- May 11, 2021
Most observers of new movements in the Catholic Church would say they tend to share a number of characteristics, one of which is a strong cult of personality around the founder that tends to insulate such figures from suspicion and creates a series of disincentives for bringing forth accusations or complaints.
The Vatican office that grants official recognition to international Catholic lay movements and organizations ordered the groups to develop detailed child-protection guidelines and norms for handling allegations of the abuse of minors and vulnerable adults.
For the adults with disabilities who are the core members of L’Arche, news that Jean Vanier sexually abused six women over a 35-year period hit particularly hard.
The University of Notre Dame Feb. 23 revoked the Notre Dame Award that was conferred upon Jean Vanier in 1994 after the L’Arche organization he established found credible allegations that Vanier sexually exploited six women.
Following revelations that Jean Vanier, famous for his work with those who have intellectual disabilities, had sexually abused six women, a woman who works in the field and appreciated Vanier’s contributions has said she is shocked, and that the organization he founded needs support.
An internal report reveals that L’Arche founder Jean Vanier, a respected Canadian religious figure whose charity work helped improve conditions for the developmentally disabled in multiple countries over half a century, sexually abused at least six women.
At nearly a month since his passing, the legacy of Jean Vanier is far from forgotten, but continues to live on in friends and colleagues who say the Canadian theologian not only impacted their lives personally, but he changed theology and the way the Church views the human person.
Gathered in a makeshift chapel around a simple pine casket, members of L’Arche communities and Faith and Light groups from around the world mourned the passing of Jean Vanier and celebrated his life, his wisdom, his holiness and humanity.