The Catholic Church in France has given institutional responsibility for the massive abuse of children and young people.
Lourdes – The abuse cases were not isolated acts of individuals, there was a systemic dimension, said the chairman of the French Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, in Lourdes on Friday. “Processes, mentalities and practice in the Catholic Church made it possible for these acts to take place and prevented them from being reported and persecuted.” The archbishop said that recognizing responsibility entails the obligation to pay compensation.
In the Catholic Church in France, according to a study presented at the beginning of October, extrapolations suggest that 216,000 children and young people have been victims of sexual abuse since the 1950s. Including the facilities run by the Church, it is estimated that 330,000 victims.
The bishops’ conference, which will meet in Lourdes until Monday, now wants to discuss the necessary steps that will result from the results of the abuse study, it said. Victims and lay representatives should be involved in this process. “The first duty of the Catholic Church to the victims is to recognize their institutional responsibility, in addition to the responsibility of the perpetrators of sexual abuse,” said the archbishop. The church has a responsibility to the victims, to society and to God. (dpa)