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Independent probe reveals over 3000 paedophile priests and members operated in Catholic Church in France since 1950

The Commission's report is about 2500 pages long and puts up a minimum estimate of paedophiles working in the Church since 1950.

An independent commission set up to uncover scandals and cases of child abuse in churches has estimated the presence of 2900 to 3200 paedophiles in Catholic Churches in France, reported Agence France-Presse (AFP).

Jean-Marc Sauve, who headed the Commission, emphasised that about 3000 paedophile priests and Church members had operated in the French Catholic Church since the year 1950. Sauve shared the information prior to the release of the official report to the AFP. Earlier in November, he had conceded that the handling of such cases had been faulty. The Commission, which was set up by the Conférence des Religieux et Religieuses en France (CORREF) and Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) in 2018, tried to quantify the number of victims and sexual offenders.

The Commission’s report is about 2500 pages long and puts up a minimum estimate of paedophiles working in the Church since 1950. AFP reported that the Commission was constituted in the aftermath of sex scandals that broke in the French Catholic Church and other churches in the world. The Commission includes 22 members from various disciplines including law, medical, history, sociology, and theology.

While speaking about the matter, a Commission member and sociologist Philippe Portier remarked, “It’s not going to go easy on anyone”. Veronique Margron, the President of the CORREF conference, said, “I expect that we will be forced to confront this burden, as bleak as it is, so that we can then take the necessary measures”.

The President of Bishops’ Conference of France, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, pointed out that the Commission report would highlight ‘significant’ and ‘frightening’ figures. At this point, it remains unclear as to how the Catholic Church will respond against the suspected paedophiles. Meanwhile, AFP added that criminal prosecution in such cases was highly unlikely.

New Zealand Catholic Church apologises to victims of abuse

Earlier in March, the Catholic Church of New Zealand had tendered an apology to the victims of abuse, including sexual abuse, within the church. Roman Catholic Archbishop of Wellington and Metropolitan of New Zealand, Cardinal John Dew apologised at the Royal Commission into Abuse and Care on behalf of the bishops and congregational leaders in New Zealand.

The Royal Commission into Abuse and Case was set up by New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern in 2018 to inquire into and report on the responses of institutions to instances and allegations of historical abuse in state care and faith bases institutions between 1950 and 2000.

An interim report of the Commission released in December reportedly found up to a quarter of a million children, young people, and vulnerable adults were physically and sexually abused in the country’s faith-based and state care institutions from the 1960s to early 2000s. As per the Commission’s findings, the victims included children as young as nine months old who suffered years of abuse including rape and electric shock treatment by staff at psychiatric and state care facilities, clergy, and foster guardians.

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Dibakar Dutta
Dibakar Duttahttps://dibakardutta.in/
Centre-Right. Political analyst. Assistant Editor @Opindia. Reach me at [email protected]

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