During the general audience on Wednesday, Pope Francis prayed for the victims of the sexual abuse of the clergy in France and expressed his grief and pain at the trauma they have undergone.
Charlotte Smedes – Vatican
“This is a moment of shame,” Pope Francis told the general public Wednesday, commenting on a new report describing hundreds of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of minors priests in France since the 1950s.
The report, released Tuesday by the Independent Commission on Sexual Assault in the Church (CIASE) also highlights a tendency among church leaders to deny, silence and even cover up abuses in dealing with allegations.
sadness and pain
“I want to express my grief and pain over the trauma suffered by the victims,” the pope said, addressing the French-speaking pilgrims and visitors.
He was ashamed of the Church’s “extremely prolonged failure” to put victims in his center. Pope Francis reassured them with his prayers.
He encouraged the French bishops and presidents to “continue to do everything in their power to prevent similar tragedies from recurring”.
He also expressed his “closeness and fatherly support” to the priests of France during this “difficult but healing” trial. While he urged all French Catholics to “take responsibility for ensuring that the Church is a safe home for all.”
“Unfortunately, a large number of abuses have been revealed. To the victims, I want to express my grief and pain for the trauma they have experienced, the shame, the shame, the shame that the Church for so long has not been able to put this at the center of its concerns. I assure them of my prayers. I pray and let us all We pray together: “Glory be to God, let us be ashamed”: this is a moment of shame. I encourage the bishops and you, dear brothers, who have come here to share this moment, and I encourage bishops and senior consecrated to continue to do everything so that similar tragedies do not happen again. I express My closeness and paternal support to the clergy of France before this trial, which is difficult but healing, and I urge Catholics in France to take responsibility for ensuring that the Church is a safe home for all.”
Sexual assault in France
According to the CIASE report, drawn up by Catholic bishops and French religious leaders, at least 330,000 people in France were sexually abused inside the church as children.
Between 2,900 and 3,200 priests and consecrated persons were implicated in these crimes, but these numbers are believed to be low estimates.
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