Sexual assaults on children..Pope Francis is saddened by the “horrific truth” | DW Arabic news | Breaking news and perspectives from around the world | DW


He expressed Pope Francis Tuesday (5 October 2021) expressed his “deep sadness” at the “horrific truth” it revealed. Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse of Children in the French Church In a shocking report, it was reported that more than 216,000 children and adolescents were victims of Catholic clergy in France between 1950 and 2020.

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said that the Pope “is in solidarity primarily with the victims, with great sorrow for their wounds and gratitude for their courage to condemn this. He also stands in solidarity with the French Church, with the aim that, having realized this horrific fact, (…) The path of repentance.

When presenting the report to journalists, the head of the investigation committee, Jean-Marc Sauve, explained that this number amounts to “330,000 if we add the secular aggressors working in the institutions of the Catholic Church,” including teachers in Catholic schools, workers in youth organizations and others. “These numbers are not only alarming, but horrific and warrant definite action,” Souvet said. Souvet denounced “negligence, inadequacy, silence and institutional cover-up that formed a systemic character.” He said that “the church was not able to see, hear, or pick up on the weak indicators. It was not able to take the strict measures that were required,” calling on the church institution to explicitly acknowledge its “responsibility.”

Archbishop of France, Monsignor Eric de Moulin Beaufort, expressed his feelings of “shame and horror” and asked for “pardon” from the victims. “On this day, I would like to ask you for forgiveness, I ask forgiveness from every single one,” he told reporters, stressing that the voice of the victims “shakes us, their number terrifies us.”

For her part, the head of religious institutes and religious orders, Veronique Margron, denounced a “disaster” and stated, “What can we say except that we feel … a physical disgrace, an absolute disgrace.”

Souvet said the Catholic Church showed “until the turn of the millennium a deep, even cruel indifference to the victims” of child sexual abuse. He added that between 1950 and 2000, “the victims were not believed, they were not listened to, they were believed to have contributed in one way or another to what happened to them.”

Souvet explained that boys “represent about 80% of the victims, and a large number of them are between 10 and 13 years old,” after he revealed on Sunday that 2,900 to 3,200 priests and clergymen were involved in sexual crimes against children in the Catholic Church in France during seventy years. , indicating that these are “minimum estimates.”

After investigations that lasted two and a half years, the commission delivered its report publicly on Tuesday morning in Paris to the Congregation of the Catholic Bishops of France and the Orders, in the presence of representatives of the associations of victims.

“You are finally giving the victims an official acknowledgment of all the responsibility of the Church, which the bishops and the Pope have not yet been able to do,” said Francois Defoe, one of the founders of the Victims’ Association. The Association of Societies said in a statement that it was awaiting “clear and concrete answers” from the church.

A member of the investigation committee told AFP, asking not to be named, that the report’s conclusions would be an “explosion” in the Catholic Church. “This is a historic matter, because it will no longer be possible to tell us that we are defaming the Church, and that the page should be turned,” one of the victims, Veronique Garnier, told AFP at the end of the press conference.

For his part, Jean Rene, a member of the Association of Victims of Western France, said, “The commission’s report is a serious matter, officially acknowledging what happened. In the past, I received messages of insults that accused me of fabricating everything.”

Jean-Marc Sauve called on the Church to provide financial “compensation” to all victims of sexual abuse, stressing that such compensation should be considered a “right” and not a “gift”.

The Synod of Bishops had already taken measures in the spring, and did not pledge to provide compensation, but rather promised a system of financial “contributions” to the victims as of 2022, a system that does not enjoy unanimity among the victims nor among the Christians who were asked to make gifts for this purpose.

K.S./H.D (AFP)

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