Statement concerning accusations against Père Thomas
Recently I have become aware of accusations against Père Thomas, who died in 1993. According to the L'Arche website
... in 2014, adult women, without disabilities, testified that they had been victims of sexual abuse at the hands of Père Thomas during accompaniment. The leaders of L’Arche requested a canonical enquiry, which was immediately carried out by the accompanying Bishop for L’Arche International, and during which the victims were able to tell their stories and the facts were confirmed.
This is extremely painful to hear. So many people have been victims of sinful pastors of the Church and so often in the past they have not been listened to. We at MDM, of course, strongly condemn such abuse, even if it was from a priest we have admired and who has helped us. And we respect the testimony of the victims and the canonical enquiry.
At the same time, I also know the witness of many people who knew Père Thomas for many years and who experienced something very different. For these people, he was an instrument of great grace, radiating Christ’s love in a way that touched them at the deepest level of the heart. I would also include those people who did not know him while he was living but who testify to fruits they believe they have received through his intercession. And I cannot deny the graces I received through him which seemed like true supernatural fruits of the Holy Spirit.
I have written of Père Thomas’ great impact on me and others in our account of the history of MDM posted on our website. In the interest of transparency,that account remains up. At the same time, I am including the accusations against him. See more information at https://www.larche.org/en/web/guest/news/-/asset_publisher/mQsRZspJMdBy/content/-pere-thomas?
At this point, I don't know how to reconcile the two. And since Père Thomas passed many years ago, he can no longer respond to the accusations. I entrust all involved to the mercy and judgment of God and pray that the Holy Spirit shed His light of truth and bring justice and healing.
- Fr. John Mary Foster