Since 1950, there have been approximately 3,000 paedophiles in the French Catholic Church, according to a probe.
Since 1950, 3,000 paedophiles have operated within the French Catholic Church, according to the leader of an independent panel probing the problem, who spoke to AFP only days before the report’s release.
According to Jean-Marc Sauve, the commission’s research discovered between 2,900 and 3,200 paedophile priests or other members of the church, which he described as “a minimal estimate.”
After two and a half years of investigation based on church, judicial, and police records, as well as interviews with witnesses, the commission’s report is set to be released on Tuesday.
According to Sauve, a top French state officer, the 2,500-page report attempted to estimate both the number of perpetrators and victims.
It also looked into the Church’s “mechanisms, particularly institutional and cultural ones” that permitted paedophiles to remain, and would make 45 recommendations.
The Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) established the independent committee in 2018 in response to a series of crises that rocked the Church in France and around the world.
It was also formed after Pope Francis signed legislation requiring people who have knowledge of sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors.
Its mandate was to investigate complaints of child sex abuse by clergy dating back to the 1950s. It was made up of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists, and theologians.
When it first started working, it requested witness testimony and set up a phone hotline, and in the months that followed, it received hundreds of communications.
The findings will be given to the CEF and made public during a press conference on Tuesday, which will include representatives from victims’ organizations.
On the condition of anonymity, one member of the commission told AFP, “It will be an explosion.”
The victim’s association Parler et Revivre’s Olivier Savignac remarked, “It will have the effect of a bomb.”
During a meeting with parishioners from his diocese, Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the president of the CEF, expressed his concern that the study would reveal “large and terrifying figures.”
The report’s release would be “a difficult and severe moment,” according to a statement from Church authorities to priests and parishes for weekend masses, which called for “an attitude of truth and compassion.”
In November, Sauve claimed that the handling of suspected paedophile cases had “frequently been wrong in the past.”
He described it as “very serious” because “systematic abuses could have occurred in a small number of organizations and communities.”
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