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Bombshell French report spotlights church abuse

Commission president Jean-Marc Sauvé gives sexual abuse report copies to the president of the Bishops Conference of France. Associated Press/Photo by Thomas Coex

Bombshell French report spotlights church abuse

The Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church released a 2,500-page report on Tuesday revealing an estimated 330,000 child victims in the Catholic Church in France since 1950. It exposed roughly 3,000 priests, clerics, and other church authorities who allegedly sexually abused 216,000 children—mostly boys between 10 and 13. The number rose to 330,000 when it added victims abused by lay people connected to the church such as teachers at private Catholic schools. The report claims the church routinely covered up allegations.

What has the French church said? Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the Bishops Conference of France, immediately asked forgiveness from victims and convened the conference to discuss how to address the issue. Pope Francis learned of the report over the weekend and thanked victims and families for coming forward. The commission offered 45 recommendations, including amending canon law for sexual abuse cases and offering compensation to victims. Jean-Marc Sauvé, the commission president, called on the French Catholic Church to reverse years of “deep, total, and even cruel indifference” toward victims.

Dig deeper: From the WORLD archives, read Kiley Crossland’s report about the debate among U.S. bishops over preventing sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.

Carolina Lumetta

Carolina is a reporter for WORLD Digital. She is a World Journalism Institute and Wheaton College graduate. She resides in Harrisburg, Pa.



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