October 20, 2021

The report shows that French Catholic priests sexually abused more than 200,000 children.

Issued:

A two-and-a-half-year investigation into sexual exploitation within French Catholic clergy found that 216,000 juvenile clergy were abused between 1950 and 2020: a major event that has been shrouded in “silence” for decades. on Tuesday.

The commission found that the “majority” of the victims were pre-teen boys from diverse social backgrounds.

When claims against ordinary church members, such as Catholic schoolteachers, are included in the statistics, the number of victims reaches 330,000 in seven decades.

Jean-Marc Sowe, head of the commission that compiled the report, said the abuse was military. Presenting the results to the public on Tuesday, he said the church had shown “deep, complete and even cruel indifference” to the victims.

He said the church not only failed to stop the abuse, but also failed to report it, and sometimes deliberately kept children in contact with poachers.

“These were not just a few isolated, deviant individuals, but a whole organization, a way of thinking, social relations, organized silence and inadequate institutional response,” said the commission member. Alice Cassagrand. Told RFI

“The church cannot say that and such a criminal will have to pay compensation, it will have to bear both judicial and moral responsibility.”


Shame and horror.

The revelations are the latest for the Roman Catholic Church in the wake of worldwide rape scandals.

Archbishop Eric de Mullins-Beaufort, President of the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF), who requested the report, expressed his “shame and horror” at the results.

“Today I want to apologize to each and every one of you,” he said.

Francois Divax, who founded an organization of victims. Free word“You are infamous for our humanity,” he told church representatives.

“There have been heinous crimes in this hell … but even worse, betrayal of trust, betrayal of courage, betrayal of children.”

Repair

In France, Catholic bishops set up an independent commission in 2018 to shed light on abuses and restore public confidence in the church.

The problem remains, Mahfouz said. By the 2000s, the church had disassociated itself from the victims and only began to change its attitude in 2015-16.

Case of Philip WildAn archbishop was initially convicted of failing to tell police about the boy’s abuse of scouts, and he expressed outrage after being acquitted in January 2020.

Seo urged the church to pay compensation, although most cases are outside the scope of litigation.

The veil of silence.

The commission identified about 2,200 victims through a call for testimony, thousands more were found in the archives.

But an extensive study by France’s INSERM Health and Medical Research Institute estimates that the number of victims is much higher – about 216,000, up to 330,000, if abuse involves ordinary members.

The commission also had access to police files and church archives, citing only two cases of refusal to hand over documents requested by church institutions.

Overall, it was found that 2.5% of French clergy have sexually abused minors since 1950, down from 4.4% to 7%, as revealed by similar inquiries in other countries. Is.

“If the veil of veil is finally torn … we are indebted to the courage of these victims,” ​​Sawe wrote.

Vatican

A Vatican statement on Tuesday said Pope Francis had “sadly learned” the contents of the interrogation.

In May 2019, the pope vowed to correct pastor abuse, and ordered those familiar with the matter to report it to church officials.

Francois Divax thanked the commission and said he hoped the report would be a turning point. “You have finally brought to the victims an institutional recognition of the responsibility of the church, which the bishop and the pope are not yet ready to do,” he said.

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