Dublin, Ireland, Mar 5, 2020 / 14:00 pm
Mary McAleese has written to Pope Francis about the allegations of sexual misconduct against L’Arche founder Jean Vanier. The former Irish president told the pope she could leave the Catholic Church if the Holy See is found to have failed to act in the case.
McAleese wrote to Pope Francis Feb. 26 asking for an explanation about how Vanier was able to rise to such acclaim in the Church despite his sexual misconduct. The letter was published on her own website.
On Feb. 22 L’Arche International announced the conclusions of an internal report which found Vanier had abused his position and relationship to sexually coerce six women over a period of decades. Vanier died on May 7, 2019, at the age of 90. After his death, Pope Francis issued a statement mourning Vanier, and praising his work with persons with intellectual disabilities.
“I am conscious that you yourself have publicly praised Vanier and indeed spoke to him and of him in glowing terms just before his death,” McAleese wrote to the pope, noting that by 2019 the Vatican was aware that one of Vanier’s associates had a history of sexual predation.