Thousands of priests abused children in France’s Catholic Churches, inquiry finds

Estimated 3,000 child abusers employed by Catholic Church in France over last 70 years, major review finds

Joanna Taylor
Monday 04 October 2021 02:46
<p>Pope Francis has attempted to address the issue of paedophilia in the Catholic church</p>

Pope Francis has attempted to address the issue of paedophilia in the Catholic church

Thousands of child abusers have worked in France’s Catholic Church over the past 70 years, according to an independent commission investigating sexual abuse.

An estimated 3,000 abusers have been employed by the church since the 1950s, two-thirds of whom are priests, commission president Jean-Marc Sauve said.

Mr Sauve gave the estimate in an interview with France’s Journal du Dimanche newspaper ahead of the full findings’s release on Tuesday.

The purpose of the investigation is to identify the causes of the widespread abuse and to try to bring some of the perpetrators to justice.

During the two-and-a-half-year investigation, 22 abuse cases were sent to prosecutors Mr Sauve said, while more than 40 alleged crimes that are too old to be prosecuted but involve living suspects have been forwarded to church officials.

He added that an estimated number of victims will be included in the commission’s report.

“We evaluated their number at 3,000, out of 115,000 priests and church people since the 1950s,” Mr Save said. “Two-thirds are diocesan priests.”

He continued: “From 1950 to 1970, the church is completely indifferent to the victims. They don’t exist, the suffering inflicted on children is ignored. The periods that followed were different.

“Our objective is to furnish a concrete diagnosis of all the abuses, to identify the causes and draw all of the consequences.”

The French Catholic Church said that it would hold prayers on 5 October, the day the full findings are released, on behalf of victims. They also posted a prayer for victims on Twitter.

“Dear Lord – we entrust to you all those who have been victims of violence and sexual attacks in the Church.

“We pray that we will always be able to count on your support and help during these ordeals.”

Since his election in 2013, Pope Francis has attempted to address the issue of paedophilia in the Catholic Church, which has embroiled the institution in multiple scandals.

Earlier this year he revised church law to compel bishops to take action against clerics who abuse children and vulnerable adults.

Register for free to continue reading

Registration is a free and easy way to support our truly independent journalism

By registering, you will also enjoy limited access to Premium articles, exclusive newsletters, commenting, and virtual events with our leading journalists

Please enter a valid email
Please enter a valid email
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Must be at least 6 characters, include an upper and lower case character and a number
Please enter your first name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
Please enter your last name
Special characters aren’t allowed
Please enter a name between 1 and 40 characters
You must be over 18 years old to register
You must be over 18 years old to register
Opt-out-policy
You can opt-out at any time by signing in to your account to manage your preferences. Each email has a link to unsubscribe.

Already have an account? sign in

By clicking ‘Register’ you confirm that your data has been entered correctly and you have read and agree to our Terms of use, Cookie policy and Privacy notice.

This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy policy and Terms of service apply.

Thank you for registering

Please refresh the page or navigate to another page on the site to be automatically logged in