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Pope expresses ‘disgrace’ at scale of clergy abuse in France

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Pope Francis expressed “disgrace” for himself and the Roman Catholic Church on Wednesday for the dimensions of child sexual abuse throughout the church in France and acknowledged failures in placing the wants of victims first.

The pope spoke throughout his common viewers on the Vatican a few report launched Tuesday that estimated some 330,000 French children have been abused by clergy and different church authority figures relationship again to 1950.

“There may be, sadly, a substantial quantity. I want to specific to the victims my disappointment and ache for the trauma that they suffered,’” Francis mentioned. “Additionally it is my disgrace, our disgrace, my disgrace, for the incapacity of the church for too lengthy to place them on the heart of its issues.”

Pope Francis on the Vatican on Feb. 25, 2017.

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He referred to as on all bishops and non secular superiors to take all actions essential “so related dramas aren’t repeated.”

The pope additionally expressed his “closeness and paternal help” to French clergymen within the face of a “tough check” and referred to as on French Catholics to “be sure that the church stays a protected home for all.”

The report mentioned an estimated 3,000 clergymen and an unknown variety of different folks related to the Catholic Church sexually abused youngsters, offering France’s first accounting of the worldwide phenomenon. The French church, like in different international locations, has needed to resist shameful secrets and techniques that have been lengthy lined up.


The president of the unbiased fee that issued the findings, Jean-Marc Sauvé, underlined Tuesday that Catholic authorities had lined up the abuse spanning 70 years in a “systematic method.”

Victims welcomed the two,500-page doc as lengthy overdue, and the top of the French Catholic bishops’ convention requested for his or her forgiveness.

The report mentioned the tally of 330,000 victims contains an estimated 216,000 folks abused by clergymen and different clerics, and the remainder by church figures corresponding to Scout leaders and camp counselors. The estimates have been primarily based on a broader analysis by France’s Nationwide Institute of Well being and Medical Analysis into sexual abuse of youngsters within the nation.

Pope Francis holds his speech during an International Prayer Meeting for Peace "No one is saved alone - Peace and Fraternity" at the Roman Basilica of Aracoeli on Oct. 20, 2020, in Rome, Italy. (Photo by Vatican Pool/Getty Images)

Pope Francis holds his speech throughout an Worldwide Prayer Assembly for Peace “Nobody is saved alone – Peace and Fraternity” on the Roman Basilica of Aracoeli on Oct. 20, 2020, in Rome, Italy. (Picture by Vatican Pool/Getty Photos)


The fee urged the church to take robust motion, denouncing its “faults” and “silence.” It additionally referred to as on the Catholic Church to assist compensate the victims, notably in {cases} which are too {old} to prosecute in French courts.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni mentioned Tuesday that Pope Francis realized concerning the report’s findings “with sorrow.”

“His ideas go in first place to the victims, with a profound disappointment for his or her wounds and gratitude for his or her braveness to talk out,” Bruni mentioned.

Francis issued a groundbreaking church legislation in Could 2019 that requires all Catholic clergymen and nuns to report clergy intercourse abuse and cover-ups involving their superiors to church authorities. He mentioned in June that each bishop should take accountability for the “disaster” of the intercourse abuse disaster.

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