Pope Francis said on Wednesday that he was saddened and embarrassed by the inability of the Catholic Church to deal with child sexual abuse in France and that the church should build itself a “safe home for all”.
“I want to express my sorrow to the victims, my sorrow for the trauma they have suffered and my shame, our shame, for the Church’s inability, for so long, to keep them at the center of our concerns,” Francis said. Francis said. His weekly general audience.
A day after a major investigation revealed that more than 200,000 children had been abused by French clergy over 70 years, the pontiff called on the church to take responsibility for what had happened to make it a “safe home for all”. invited Catholics to France.
“This is a moment of shame,” he said, calling on bishops to do everything possible to ensure “a similar tragedy does not happen again”.
Jean-Marc Sauve, the head of the commission that compiled the report, said the church has shown indifference to abuse over the years, preferring to protect itself rather than the victims, many of them aged 10 to 13.
The height of abuse was 1950-1970, the commission said in its report, with a clear resurgence in cases in the early 1990s.
The pontiff said he was close to the French clergy dealing with the “tough, yet healthy” challenge.
The Pope had already expressed his gratitude for their courage to come before the victims and condemn what happened to them.
Later on Wednesday, a Vatican court is expected to sentence a man who is now a priest at a youth seminary in the Vatican for alleged sexual abuse, before being ordained.
This is the first Vatican trial in relation to alleged sexual abuse in Vatican territory.
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