Jakarta, CNN Indonesia —
One of France’s senior civil servants, Jean-Marc Sauve, said research by an independent commission found between 2,900 and 3,200 priests or other church members were pedophiles.
He also said that the number was still a minimum estimate. According to Sauve, the report seeks to quantify the number of perpetrators and victims.
The report also shows the mechanisms, particularly cultural institutions within the church, that allow pedophiles to continue to work.
“It is very serious that there may be some institutions and some communities, in small numbers, where systemic abuses can be committed,” he told AFP, Sunday (3/10).
In many cases, however, prosecution is impossible because the abuse took place outside the confines of French law. Meanwhile, the French Catholic church has not yet explained what action will be taken regarding this finding
The report will be released tomorrow, Tuesday (5/10). The report will be released after an independent commission conducted two years of research using church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with witnesses.
“It’s not going to be easy for anyone,” said a sociologist on the commission, Phillippe Portier.
“It will have an explosive effect,” said member of the Parler et Revivre victims’ association, Olivier Savignac.
Meanwhile, the president of the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF), Bishop Eric de Moulins Beaufort, fears the report will expose important figures.
The report is expected to be carefully studied at the Vatican. The center of the world’s Catholic Church has discussed reports of sexual abuse within the church during a meeting with French bishops last September.
“I hope we can bear this burden, no matter how grim it is, so that we can take the necessary action,” said CORREF Conference President, Veronique Margron.
The independent commission was created in 2018 by the French Bishops’ Conference (CEF) and the national conference of congregations (CORREF) in response to a number of scandals that have rocked the church in France and around the world.
The commission consisted of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians. Briefly, the commission was tasked with investigating allegations of sexual abuse of children by clergy since the 1950s.
When they started work, they asked for witness statements and opened a telephone line. In the months that followed, they received thousands of messages.
The formation came after Pope Francis ordered anyone with knowledge of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to report to their superiors.