French bishops recognise church's 'institutional responsibility' for child abuse

·1-min read

French bishops have recognised that the Catholic church bore an "institutional responsibility" in the many thousands of child abuse cases documented in the landmark report published in October.

The Bishops Conference at its annual meeting in Lourdes also recognised that the church was guilty of allowing the abuses to become "systemic", the head of the bishops' conference Eric de Moulins-Beaufort said.

His comments come a month after a report detailed the abuse of 216,000 minors over 70 year.

In October, an independent commission examining abuses between 1950 and 2020, called them a massive phenomenon that had been covered up for decades by a veil of silence.

The nearly 2,500-page report found that the vast majority of victims were pre-adolescent boys from a variety of social backgrounds.

De Moulins-Beaufort at the time expressed his shame and horror at the findings, while Pope Francis said he felt great sorrow.

Although their annual meeting was not entirely dedicated to the response to the report, the 120 bishops from across France have devoted much of their week-long meeting to the fight against violence and sexual aggression directed at minors.

Victims of abuse had called on the bishops to admit that, beyond the guilt of individual attackers, the church itself had been at fault as an institution.

(with AFP)

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