Wed. Dec 1st, 2021

The move comes a month after a major report revealed that mass abuse of children by church figures has been revealed since the 1950s.

France’s Catholic Church has agreed to financially compensate thousands of people who have been sexually abused by priests in what the president of the country’s bishops’ conference saw as a “decisive step”.

Eric de Moulins-Beaufort said in a speech on Monday that the church had acknowledged its “institutional responsibility” and decided to “embark on a path of recognition and recovery that paves the way for victims of the possibility of mediation and ‘ to receive compensation. ” .

The move came when the Bishops’ Conference held its annual meeting, a month after a major report large-scale child sex abuse within the French Catholic Church over the past 70 years.

The study, released by an independent commission, estimated that some 330,000 children were sexually abused over a period dating back to the 1950s by priests or other church-related figures.

It was the latest controversy to shake up the Roman Catholic Church after a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world, often involving children, over the past 20 years.

“We felt disgust and horror when we realized how much suffering so many people have lived and are still living,” Moulins-Beaufort said.

The bishops acknowledged the church’s responsibility which implies financial compensation because the commission “strongly suggested that path”, but also because “worshipers full of shame expected it of us,” he said.

Moulins-Beaufort did not provide details on the amount of compensation and how the church intends to pay.

The report, published last month, describes a “systemic” cover-up of abuse by the Catholic Church, and accuses it of drawing a “veil of silence” over the offense.

The number of 330,000 victims is said to include an estimated 216,000 people abused by priests and other clergy, and the rest by church figures such as scout leaders and camp counselors. The estimates are based on broader research by France’s National Institute for Health and Medical Research on child sexual abuse in the country.

The 2,500-page commission made 45 recommendations to the church, including the training of priests and other clergy, the revision of canon law – the legal code used by the Vatican to govern the church – and the promoting policies to recognize and compensate victims.

France is a traditionally Roman Catholic country, but adheres to a strict form of secularism in public life based on a 1905 law separating church and state.

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