Photo: VINCENZO PINTO / AFP / Getty Images
Pope Francis expressed his “shame” at the “long inability of the Church” to handle cases of pedophile priests, after the publication of the report on the 330,000 cases of abuse or sexual violence against minors or vulnerable people occurred since 1950 by the French clergy.
“It is the moment of shame,” said Francis during the general audience in greeting to the French faithful, when he expressed to the victims his “sadness and pain for the traumas they have suffered.”
According to the report published on Tuesday by an independent commission and made public by the French bishops, in the last three years it has investigated the phenomenon in the French church and has identified between 2,900 and 3,200 religious pedophiles, there were at least 330,000 cases of abuse. or sexual violence against minors or vulnerable people since 1950.
“Unfortunately they are huge numbers,” the pope said in reference to the report in which a bleak outlook for the Catholic Church emerged. “Much higher than expected”, as recognized by the president of the French Episcopal Conference, Éric de Moulins-Beaufort.
“I wish to express to their victims my sadness and my pain and for the traumas they have suffered, my shame, our shame, due to the long inability of the Church to put them at the center of their concerns,” the Pope stressed.
And he added: “Let us pray, Lord, to you the Glory and to us the shame.”
Francis also encouraged “the bishops, the faithful, superiors and religious to continue all efforts so that similar dramas are not repeated ”and he expressed support for the French religious to overcome“ this ordeal, but what will he do well ”.
He also invited French Catholics to assume “their responsibilities so that the Church is a safe home for all.”
After the publication of the report, the Vatican press office published a note in which the pope expressed his “pain” and in which it was said that his thoughts went “first of all to the victims, with great pain, for their wounds, and thanks, for their courage in the complaint ”.
Francis was informed of the publication of the report by the French bishops, whom he received in recent days during ad limina visits (which are made every five years).
“His thoughts go above all to the victims, with great pain, for their wounds, and gratitude, for their courage in the complaint, and to the Church of France, because, in the awareness of this terrible reality, together with the suffering of the Lord for his most vulnerable children, he can embark on a path of redemption ”, it was indicated in a statement.
During the presentation of the report, the president of the French bishops expressed his “shame” over some facts that “because of their shocking nature and because of their number overwhelms,” but he tiptoed over the issue of compensation, which is the main claim of the victims’ associations, who accuse the church of looking the other way in this matter after years of doing so with the reported cases.
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