Thousands of paedophiles active in French Catholic Church since 1950, commission finds

Notre Dame Cathedral in Paris

Source: France 24

Some 3,000 paedophiles have operated inside the French Catholic Church since 1950, the head of an independent commission investigating the scandal told AFP, days ahead of the release of its report.ADVERTISING

The commission’s research uncovered between 2,900 and 3,200 paedophile priests or other members of the church, said Jean-Marc Sauve, adding that it was “a minimum estimate”.

The commission’s report is due to be released on Tuesday after two and a half years of research based on church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with witnesses.

Sauve, senior French civil servant, said the report, which runs to 2,500 pages, had attempted to quantify both the number of offenders and the number of victims.

It also looked into “the mechanisms, notably institutional and cultural ones” within the Church which allowed paedophiles to remain, and will offer 45 proposals.

The independent commission was set up in 2018 by the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) and the national congregations conference (CORREF) in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide.

Its formation also came after Pope Francis passed a landmark measure obliging those who know about sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors.

Made up of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians, its brief was to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics dating back to the 1950s.

When it began its work it called for witness statements and set up a telephone hotline, then reported receiving thousands of messages in the months that followed.

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1 reply

  1. What would interest me is the conclusion whether the institution of celibacy contributed to this. Of course sexual abuse is not limited to celibate priests, but the incidents may be higher?

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