PARIS – French Catholic clergy has sexually abused at least 216,000 children since 1950, a report revealed the shocking revelations saying it was all draped by ‘veil of silence’.
The much-awaited report by Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse revealed how the Catholic Church members used to silence the victims while no reports were filed against the hierarchy.
The commission president, Jean-Marc Sauvé, speaking in a presser in the French capital said “For years, the church showed a ‘deep, total and even cruel indifference toward victims’ while the church failed to take the rigorous measures that were necessarily adding the problem was far more pervasive than previously known”.
In 2018, the commission was formed at the Catholic Church’s request in France in response to criticism of its handling of abuse cases. The commission stated that around 2,900 clergy members were involved in the gruesome acts over the past 7 decades while 80 percent of the victims were boys.
Following the reports that shook the world, a number of people who demands a detailed probe welcomed the report however it was unclear how the church would act on the commission’s shocking revelations.
The report also encouraged French bishops to consider the ordination of married men and to give “a far greater presence of laypersons in general, and women in particular” in the church’s deciding bodies.
Meanwhile, the co-founder of a victims’ association François Devaux said “You are a disgrace to humanity”. He founded the association of victims of Bernard Preynat – a former priest who sexually abused dozens of minors.
The head of the Catholic Church, Pope Francis, appreciated victims for coming forward. A statement issued by the Vatican cited “First of all his thoughts go to the victims, with great sorrow, for their wounds, the Church of France, in the awareness of this terrible reality … it may embark on a path of redemption.”
The bone-chilling findings surfaced around a year after the UK said the Catholic Church had received more than 900 complaints involving over 3,000 instances of sexual abuse of minors in England and Wales between 1970 and 2015.