Jean-Marc Sauvé, head of the Independent Commission for Sexual Abuse in the Church (Ciase), which investigates crimes of pedophilia in the French religious institution, revealed that between 2,900 and 3,200 priests and other members of the Church were guilty of sexual abuse against children since the 1950s. Sauvé added that this is a “low estimate”. The findings of its 2,500-page report will be released on Tuesday.
Thousands of pedophiles have operated within the French Catholic Church since 1950. A few days after the publication of their report, that is the terrifying conclusion of the Ciase, an independent commission that investigates pedo-crime scandals within the Church. French.
Jean-Marc Sauvé, head of the Commission, affirmed this Sunday that the investigation has discovered that between at least 2,900 and 3,200 male priests and other members of the Church have sexually abused children for more than 70 years.
On an interview with the French newspaper ‘Le JDD‘, Sauvé specified that “two thirds are diocesan priests.”
According to Jean-Marc Sauvé, the president of the Commission investigating child crime in the Church, there have been “between 2,900 and 3,200 pedophiles” within the Catholic Church in France since 1950. https://t.co/6Kkhgaof2Q
– Łukasz Maślanka (@ukasz_maslanka) October 3, 2021
“We ask the bishops and superiors to convey our desire to listen to abusers,” he added. “In the end, 11 authors agreed to be interviewed.” Sauvé specified that 35 profiles of pedo-criminals were also analyzed from the psychiatric evaluations carried out by the courts.
Regarding the number of victims, although he did not comment on the potential figure of 10,000, Sauvé said that his report provides “a new assessment”.
“It is an important step but it is not the end of the story … both for the Catholic Church and for the rest of society,” he said in his interview with ‘Le JDD’. “At the end of this considerable work, we cannot claim to have the whole truth … It is necessary to continue working to deepen the knowledge of pedo-criminality. But we have enough truth to speak with confidence and legitimacy,” he said.
On the other hand, the head of the Commission indicated that 22 cases have been referred to the prosecution for non-prescribed acts discovered by the work of the Commission and that bishops and senior officials have been alerted to more than 40 cases in which the author still alive.
La Ciase, a Commission created in search of Justice for the victims
The 2,500-page Ciase report will be released on Tuesday after two and a half years of investigation based on church, judicial and police archives, as well as interviews with witnesses.
It will highlight “the mechanisms – especially institutional and cultural” within the Church, which allowed the permanence of the acts of pedophilia. It will also give a quantitative vision of the phenomenon and will compare the prevalence of sexual violence in the Church with the violence identified in other institutions, such as sports associations, schools and in the family sphere.
In view of its diagnosis, the Commission will list 45 responses and proposals that will touch on areas from listening to victims, prevention, training priests and religious, canon law, to transforming the management of the Church. The Ciase will also recommend a policy of recognition and compensation for victims.
This Commission was created in 2018 in response to a series of scandals that shook the French Catholic Church and in response to the testimonies of many victims defended by various associations.
The main association, La parole libérée (The liberated word), was created in December 2015 to “offer a space of expression and support to the victims of the acts of pedophilia that took place in the Saint Luc Group between 1970 and 1991” .
“In France, La Parole Libéréë (…) was a pioneer in challenging the Catholic hierarchy,” explained sociologist Céline Béraud in her book ‘French Catholicism put to the test of sex scandals’.
Other associations were created and several victims were able to testify and express their painful experience, specifically in a documentary entitled ‘Pederasty, a silence of the cathedral ‘, issued 2018.
“Cela va être une déflagration”, entrusts to the FP a member of the Commission indépendante sur les abus sexuels dans l’Eglise catholique (#Ciase), qui rend mardi son rapport. “2,900 à 3,200” prédateurs recensés from 1950, “estimation minimale”, they are president Jean-Marc Sauvé
– Benoît Fauchet (@BFAuchet) October 3, 2021
Then, on August 20, 2018, Pope Francis published a “letter to the people of God” in which he recognized the “pain of the victims” and called for “solidarity” and “commitment” to “a culture of protection and ‘never again’ to any kind and form of abuse. ”
The French Episcopal Conference (CEF) welcomed the pontiff’s letter, saying it was “saddened and embarrassed” by these “heinous acts” and called for the “relentless persecution (…) of any abuse.”
In November of the same year, 120 bishops meeting in Lourdes, in the south of France, in the presence of seven victims, voted to create the independent Commission, a decision that was also supported by religious institutes and congregations.
The publication of the investigation “will be like a bomb”
Composed of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians, the commission’s task was to shed light on the sexual abuse of minors in the Church and propose remedial measures. Before its formation, Pope Francis approved a landmark measure that forces those who are aware of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors.
Two and a half years after the creation of the Ciase, Sauvé, its president will present his report to the CEF and the Conference of Religious of France (CORREF) on Tuesday. According to him, the Commission has made the testimonies of the victims “the matrix of its work.”
The commission established a call for testimonies that was open for 17 months and that collected 6,500 calls or contacts from victims or relatives. He also conducted 250 lengthy investigative hearings and interviews.
“It will be a blast,” a Ciase member assured the AFP press agency, under anonymity and referring to the publication of the report. “It will be like a bomb,” added Olivier Savignac, from the victims’ support group Parler et revivre (Talk and revive).
AFP and local media