Montreal, February 27, 2020 – The entire Catholic Christian community was stunned by the news of the conclusion given by the independent inquiry, concerning testimony implicating its founder, Jean Vanier, and his historical link to Father Thomas Philippe whom he designated as his spiritual father. The investigation revealed sexual misconduct by Jean Vanier. It also clearly establishes the truthfulness of the denunciations that were courageously made by the victims. Our first supportive stance is intended for their behalf.
The Canadian Religious Conference joins its voice to all those who have recently spoken out to denounce these unacceptable actions and to support the victims. Religious congregations are encouraged and supported by the CRC in the establishment of policies protecting all persons from physical or psychological abuse, especially minors and vulnerable persons. We also denounce abuses committed against religious sisters.
The Canadian Religious Conference calls for great vigilance when leaders of religious movements exert such influence that there is reason to fear inappropriate behaviour. The internal structure of these movements, of religious institutes and of the Church in general, must be very alert in order to supervise the actions of those who accompany people at a spiritual level.
The CRC would like to commend L’Arche Internationale and its Canadian branch for their courage and transparency throughout this process.
May the consequences of the behaviour of this spiritual clay-footed giant have the least possible impact on the organization of L’Arche, which continues to accomplish an extraordinary mission!
The CRC is an association that brings together the leaders of 250 Catholic congregations of women and men religious in Canada. Its mission is to encourage its members in living fully their vocation of following Christ and to support them in their prophetic testimony of justice and peace in society and the Church.