THE ARCH OF JEAN VANIER
LETTER FROM THE PRESIDENT OF AVREF
Some time ago we received the first remarkable testimony of a former victim of Marie-Dominique PHILIPPE, founder of the Fraternity of Saint John, of his brother, Fr. Thomas PHILIPPE, co-founder of l’ARCHE, and of the community run by their sister.
We noted, that for this important testimony l’ARCHE, as such, was spared any ecclesial investigations, a fact that has been denounced by our witness, in spite of the fact that it would appear that the founder, Jean VANIER, gave no credit to the Church’s condemnation of the abuse committed by Fr. Thomas PHILIPPE.
We are continuing to publish testimonies of people who were abused by Father Thomas within l’ARCHE Community. These testimonies were sent to us after our first publication. Once again, these are adult women who were committed to l’ARCHE at the time of the abuse, and who were under the spiritual direction of Fr. Thomas PHILIPPE.
It is important to reflect on the reaction of Jean VANIER, co-founder of l’ARCHE. Since the first testimony, although in May 2015 he had written a first letter which infuriated the victims, Jean VANIER wrote a second letter in which he referred to the negative reaction to his first letter, and in which he admits the abuse committed by Fr. Thomas. It is this second letter, dated 17th October 2016 which may appear to rather late in coming, that one of the new testimonies (former victim) criticizes, as she claims that the distinction, is minimum and contradictory, between the spiritual heritage of Fr. Thomas and of the spirituality of l’ARCHE.
We could add that the full truth on the part of the Community of l’ARCHE is absolutely necessary both for the well-being of the victims, and for the reputation of this foundation. Some victims, when they criticize certain aspects which could leave the door open to certain deviations, recognize, the quality of these actions, and even the immense well-being which they felt before they became victims of dramatic abuse. Nevertheless they say how difficult it is for the full truth to be expressed.
We hereby add that words are not enough. The victims must get reparation; recognition of the responsibility and reparation. Only with that can healing at every level begin.
President of AVREF