For nearly three years now, an independent commission set up by the Bishops’ Conference of France has been investigating child sexual abuse by Catholic leaders in the country.
The commission consisted of historians, doctors, sociologists, and other experts in religion and sexual abuse who could (hopefully) fairly assess the extent of the problem. They interviewed over “6,500 victims and witnesses” since 2018, and their final report, which is said to be over 2,500 pages, will be released on Tuesday.
But we already have the headlines and… yikes.
According to the head of the commission, there’s evidence of at least 2,900 sexual abusers among all the Catholic leaders who have been in their positions since 1950.
Jean-Marc Sauvé told French media that the commission had found evidence of 2,900 to 3,200 abusers — out of a total of 115,000 priests and other clerics.
“That is a minimal estimate,” he added.
That’s nearly 3% for anyone doing the math. 3% of all the Catholic leaders employed by the Church in France over the past several decades was an alleged child sex abuser.
Most of them, you would have to think are long gone. Some cannot be prosecuted because their alleged actions occurred decades ago. But Sauvé said there were 22 cases where legal action could still be taken, and that information has been handed over to prosecutors. Furthermore, Catholic officials have been informed of any allegations against people still working today.
This is what we know before even seeing the report, which will contain further details about the investigation along with 45 proposals to stop this problem moving forward. (Will one of them be to shut down the damn Church?)
How many more bombshells will drop before Catholics in France decide this Church is a criminal enterprise? A haven for pedophiles? What will it take for more Catholics to finally get the hell away from that institution no matter what cultural or religious affections they may have to it? And if this report doesn’t do it, what will it take?
(Image via Shutterstock. Thanks to everyone for the link)