After a report in France made public the number of child victims of sexual violence in the Catholic Church, the Pope has now spoken out.
Rome (AP) – Pope Francis has responded with deep concern over a report of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France. “It’s a moment of shame,” Francis said Wednesday during a general audience at the Vatican.
A commission of inquiry reported on Tuesday that around 216,000 children and young people had been victims of sexual violence in the Catholic Church in France since the 1950s. Together with institutions run by the Church in France, it is even assumed that 330 000 victims.
It was a “considerable” number, declared the Pope, and told “to the victims my grief and my pain for the trauma they suffered. But also my shame, the shame of all of us, my shame”.
Francis called on bishops and church leaders in France to do everything possible to prevent such incidents from happening again and “so that the church becomes a safe home for all.”
The conference of bishops of France has already announced consequences. Action is expected to be taken at the November meeting of church bodies.