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Selasa, 05 Oktober 2021

Report finds 216,000 children have been sexually abused by French Catholic Church clergy since 1950 - ABC News

An investigation into sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church has found an estimated 216,000 children have been victims of abuse by the clergy since 1950.

The revelations in France are the latest to rock the Roman Catholic Church. It has been at the centre of a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world, often involving children, over the past 20 years.

The church had shown "deep, total and even cruel indifference for years", protecting itself rather than the victims of what was systemic abuse, Jean-Marc Sauve, head of the commission that compiled the report, said.

Most of the victims were boys, he said, many of them aged between 10 and 13.

The church not only did not take the necessary measures to prevent abuse but also failed to report it and sometimes knowingly put children in touch with predators, he said.

The independent commission was established by Catholic bishops in France at the end of 2018 to shed light on abuses and restore public confidence in the church at a time of dwindling congregations.

Mr Sauvé said until the 2000s, the church had shown complete indifference to victims and it only started to really change its attitude in 2015-2016.

Mr Sauvé said the commission had identified about 2,700 victims itself, but a wide-ranging study by research and polling groups had estimated there had been around 216,000 victims.

The number could go up further to 330,000 when including abuse by lay members.

A man in a suit hands a large pile of very thick document stacks to another suited man.
Commission president Jean-Marc Sauve (left) hands copies of the report to Catholic Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort(

Pool: Thomas Coex, via AP

)

Francois Devaux, who set up victims' association La Parole Liberee, told church representatives at the public presentation of the report: "You are a disgrace to our humanity."

Monsignor Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the French conference of bishops, asked for forgiveness from the victims, and said he and his fellow bishops wanted to express their shame at the abuse revealed in the report.

The report found the Catholic church's teaching on subjects such as sexuality, obedience and the sanctity of the priesthood helped created blind spots which helped allow sexual abuse by clergy to happen, Mr Sauvé also said.

He said the church needed to reform the way it approached those issues to rebuild trust with society.

Reuters

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2021-10-05 09:21:07Z
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