France: Catholic Church Inquiry Finds 216,000 Children Were Abused By Thousand Of Paedophile Priests Since 1950

A protester holds up a sign in reference to the sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church as Pope Francis travels. (Charles McQuillan/Getty Images)

A report into sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church concluded that about 216,000 children have been abused by clergymen since 1950, Jean-March Sauvé, head of the commission that compiled the report, said on Tuesday (Oct 5),

The Church not only did not take the necessary measures to prevent abuse but also turned a blind eye, failing to report abuse and sometimes knowingly putting children in touch with predators, Sauve said.

The commission uncovered that between 2,900 and 3,200 paedophile priests or other members of the church, said Jean-Marc Sauve, adding that it was “a minimum estimate”.

The 2,500-page document prepared by an independent commission comes as the Catholic Church in France, like in other countries, seeks to face up to shameful secrets that were long covered up.

Sauvé said the problem continues to persist. He noted that the Church had until the 2000s showed complete indifference to victims and that it only started to really change its attitude in 2015-2016.

The Church not only did not take the necessary measures to prevent abuse but also turned a blind eye, failing to report abuse and sometimes knowingly putting children in touch with predators, he said.

The independent commission was set up in 2018 by the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) and the national congregations conference (CORREF) in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide. The commission worked for 2 1/2 years, listening to victims and witnesses and studying church, court, police and press archives starting from the 1950s

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