On Tuesday, a 2,500-page report on sexual abuse in the French Church is due to be published. “Over the past 70 years, between 2,900 and 3,200 priests and religious have committed sexual crimes against minors,” said Jean-Marc Sauvé, who chaired the Church’s Sexual Abuse Committee.
A report by his committee, which summarizes its nearly 2.5 years of activity, is to be published in France on Tuesday.
The commission, based on church and secular archives, including court documents, as well as on testimonies of victims and press publications from 1950-2021, determined that the entire group of 115,000 French priests and religious in the last 70 years had been 2, 9,000 to 3,200 clergymen who molested and raped minors.
– The report has over 2,500 pages – said Jean-Marc Sauvé, 72, in an interview with the AFP agency, who three years ago undertook the mission of leading the work of the commission investigating cases of pedophilia in the Church. “Today I understand better what human suffering is,” he said.
Description of “mechanisms and institutional” and 45 recommendations
“Many members of the Commission, but also representatives of the church hierarchy, praise Jean-Marc Sauvé for his integrity and honesty. All emphasize that he is a ‘statesman’ and a ‘titan of work’,” writes AFP.
The agency adds that the victims of pedophilia and their families also seem to be satisfied with the way the investigation has been conducted, although “back in 2019, there were voices that a commission headed by a zealous Catholic [ Jean-Marc Sauvé – przyp. red.] and whose work is financed by the Episcopate and religious congregations wishing for self-purification, does not guarantee impartiality. ”Today such voices are rare.
The report’s main task is to present figures, including the number of victims of pedophile priests. The authors of the report also tried to compare the situation in the Church with other French institutions – schools, sports clubs, interest clubs and families.
One part of the report is devoted to an analysis of the “institutional and cultural mechanisms” that made it possible to molest minors and effectively conceal such cases, announces the AFP. The last part of the report contains 45 recommendations for the future on how to exclude sexual crime against minors in the Church.
Financial help and prayer for the victims
The commission was established on the initiative of the French Episcopate in 2019 as the “national interrogation team” to investigate cases of pedophilia. Thus, the bishops assumed responsibility “for the past, present and future”, agreeing to provide financial assistance to victims of pedophilia crimes. This assistance will be financed from the “Emergency Fund” and released by an “independent aid body” responsible for examining applications and deciding on assistance within the limits of the fund.
The French bishops also decided that every third Friday of Lent, the faithful throughout France would pray for the victims of pedophilia.
The bishops also decided to establish an “interdiocesan canonical criminal court” that would deal with sexual crimes committed by the clergy against children and adolescents.
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