Vatican City, Oct 6 (EFE).- Pope Francis on Wednesday said “this is a moment of shame” for the Catholic Church following a damning report on hundreds of thousands of cases of sexual abuse of children by the French clergy over the past 70 years.
A commission investigating historical claims of abuse in the French Catholic Church found that around 330,000 children were sexually abused by between 2,900 and 3,200 priests since 1950, and that the abuse was systematically covered up by Church authorities.
“I wish to express to the victims my sadness and grief at the trauma they have suffered,” the Pope said delivering the weekly General Audience, expressing his “shame” for the Church’s “long inability” to tackle the problem.
The Pope also encouraged French Bishops and priests “to continue to make every effort so that similar tragedies will not be repeated”, and invited all French Catholics “to assume their responsibilities to ensure that the Church is a safe home for all.”
The Vatican press office said the Pope’s thoughts and prayers “go first of all to the victims” and their “wounds”, adding that he is grateful to them for “their courage to speak out”.
Presenting the report on Tuesday, the head of the investigating commission, Jean-Marc Sauvé, said: “The Church can and must do everything to restore what has been damaged and rebuild what has been broken.” EFE