A Light Extinguished: Jean Vanier & the Betrayal of Trust

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People around the world are processing the news that the revered spiritual leader Jean Vanier has been found to have sexually and emotionally abused multiple women who came to him for spiritual “accompaniment” over several decades. The revelations sparked a media storm inside and outside Catholicism. Celebrity abusers are front and center in our tremulous time: Bill Cosby, Harvey Weinstein, Jeffrey Epstein, to say nothing of the serial abusers who have haunted the studios of the BBC, the campsites of the Boy Scouts, and the curial cells of Vatican apparatchiks. But there is something even more disturbing about spiritual leaders, as they are the ones we most trust, the ones removed from the hurly-burly, the mad contradictions that define our flawed humanity. They are beacons in a darkening landscape. And now one light has been extinguished.