Up to 3,200 pedophiles in the French Catholic Church since 1950, according to an independent commission

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“We had to cross historical, sociological, medical and psychiatric perspectives. We had to call on skills in the field of child protection, social work, issues of abuse and also provide skills in the field of theology and law ”, said Jean -Marc Sauvé, ahead of the publication of the commission’s final report on Tuesday.

The report aims to establish the facts and make people understand what happened in order to prevent “such tragedies” from happening again in the future. But the report is not intended to establish “personal liability”, according to the commission’s website.

The commission, made up of 21 people, was set up in 2018 by the hierarchy of the French Catholic Church and religious institutes after the revelation of abuse scandals.

It is funded by the Conference of French Catholic Bishops, but members are not paid and do not receive instructions from the Church. The archives of dioceses and religious institutions were accessible to the commission.

Sauvé said the establishment of the commission was an important stepping stone to tackle “this secret and hideous side of our society” and that “a tremendous amount of work” had been put into writing the report over the past 32 years. last months.

“We have worked a lot with the victims, and we did not delegate the task of listening to all the victims to the research labs. Of course, the research labs did some of the hearings, but we did a lot of the hearings ourselves, ”said Sauvé. noted.

Some of the thousands of identified victims have been referred to organizations that provide legal, medical and psychological support.

“I went through a season of hell,” testified before the commission Christian Dubreuil, victim of abuse at the age of 11.

“I hope you can get them out of this sort of isolation syndrome, blindness,” Dubreuil said of the French Catholic Church.

“They are always in denial, contempt and downplaying the problems.”

This commission was set up before Pope Francis issued an edict in May 2019 that established new rules for reporting sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, requiring for the first time that all dioceses put in place systems of reporting abuse and cover-ups.

CNN has contacted the French Catholic Church for comment.

“I’ve been waiting for this for years”

The report on sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church – due for release on Tuesday – will “change everything,” Katherine Dalle, communications manager for the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF), told CNN on Sunday.

“This is a very important time for people who have been mistreated. It is an important time for the church in France. Jean-Marc Sauvé has done a remarkable job,” she said.

Church authorities sent a message to be read in every parish across the country during Sunday mass. He says the release of Tuesday’s report “will be a test of truth and a difficult and serious time.”

“Pedophilia concerns us all. I invite you all to have an attitude of truth and compassion among yourselves with regard to this report,” he continues.

Olivier Savignac, who heads a victim group called Parler et Revivre, said releasing the report would be like “a cyclone, a tsunami, a hurricane”.

“This report will show the collective responsibility of the church,” he said. “We will finally have figures on the extent of the abuse, collected scientifically. We have been waiting for this for years.”

The Catholic Church in France has taken a number of measures to combat the scourge of sexual abuse in recent years. In 2019, the diocese of Paris signed a protocol with the city’s prosecutor to allow the investigation of the alleged abuses without the victims officially filing a complaint with the authorities.

In March of this year, the church voted in favor of 11 resolutions to tackle the problem, including: the establishment of a council “for the prevention and the fight against pedophilia” and a financial “contribution” for the victims.

Savignac admits that the safeguards put in place made it harder to abuse, but told CNN “the fight is not over.”

“It is important that victims get justice. Nine out of ten people cannot get justice because the statute of limitations has expired or the perpetrator has died,” he said.

“There has always been a collusion between the church in France and the Vatican to protect abusers. The church has been too moderate in following the word of God and caring for the smallest and weakest. “


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