Canadian Jean Vanier was highly admired for his work with intellectually disabled individuals. News that accusations of ‘sexual misconduct’ against him appeared credible disappointed many Canadians. But instead of regretting the weakness of one man and holding him responsible for his actions, the usual sort of leftist pretend Catholic wanted to blame the Church’s sexual morality for Vanier’s action. Catholics under the influence of Catholic teaching have a ‘deep fear of sexual pleasure’, it is alleged. Donald Demarco in the comment below blows this idea away with some facts about the Church’s teaching. This refutation is relevant to the Pell case and to clerical sexual abuse in general because many (on the left) blame clerical celibacy for the abuse. Such a view cannot be sustained on the evidence. Demarco has written a timely piece in Crisis Magazine.
Jean Vanier’s Sins Are His Own
According to a report released by L’Arche International, Jean Vanier, the Catholic Canadian founder of a network of communities for intellectually disabled individuals, sexually abused at least six women. This news comes as both a disappointment and a shock to all those who regarded Vanier as a man of exemplary virtue.
“I was horrified,” writes Dorothy Cummings McLean for LifeSiteNews, “by revelations that its founder, the late Vanier, has been credibly accused of sexual misconduct by six women.” Discretion requires that we not go any further into what the report has revealed. Added to this unhappy revelation, however, is a bizarre criticism of the Catholic Church, as if it were as much to blame for Vanier’s lurid behavior as he was.
In an opinion piece for Canada’s Globe and Mail, Professor Michael W. Higgins (who calls himself a Catholic) stated the following in response to the Vanier revelations: “The deep pathology that runs through centuries of Catholic teaching on sexuality—a pathology marked by a deep fear of sexual pleasure with its body versus spirit dualism—needs to be recognized for its destructive potential. And the aftershocks of patriarchy reverberate throughout all of society. It’s time for a new and healthier anthropology.”