The release of a landmark report investigating how French Catholic priests sexually abused an estimated 10,000 victims over the last 70 years during a climate of cover-ups and secrecy is expected to mark a major turning point in the history of Catholicism in France, and threatens to send an already shrinking community of believers into a renewed crisis of faith.
More than two years after French bishops called for the creation of an independent commission in response to the string of high profile sex abuse scandals to rock the church, the CIASE (Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church) will release its highly anticipated findings to the French public on Tuesday the 5th of October.
Ahead of its release, the president of the commission Jean-Marc Sauvé told the AFP news agency and the weekly magazine Journal du Dimanche, that of the 115,000 priests and clergymen who worked in the church in France between 1950 and the present day, 2,900 to 3,200 were paedophiles. The commission has also passed along 22 cases to French prosecutors that fell within the statute of limitations.
At the international level, the findings of the French report will be the latest to condemn the Catholic church. This summer, the discovery of hundreds of unmarked graves of Indigenous school children at the sites of former residential schools across Canada forced Canadians to confront a part of the country’s dark past. For more than a century, until as recently as the 1990s, it’s estimated that 150,000 Indigenous children were forcibly taken from their families and placed in residential schools where they were physically and sexually abused and purged of their language and culture. The schools were run by the Catholic church.
Original: Report Uncovers 3,200 Paedophiles in Catholic Church