After three years of investigation, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church in France (CIASE) issued a report on October 5 which estimates that 216,000 people have been abused by clerics or religious since 1950 in France.
I.MEDIA interviewed Jean-Marc Sauvé, the president of CIASE, on the relationship between the Church in France and the Holy See in the fight against sexual abuse.
Do you plan to come to Rome to present your report to Pope Francis?
Sauvé: It is a possibility that is on the table. We are at the disposal of the Holy Father to meet with him. We will see what the Holy See can do. It is possible that there will be a trip to Rome within a timeframe that is not determined at this stage.
At the conference to present the report, one victim said they felt that Pope Francis has been “absent” on issues of abuse. In your opinion, has Pope Francis grasped the enormity of this crisis in the Church?
Sauvé: My feeling is that Pope Francis has said and done some important things in the fight against sexual abuse in the Church. I’m thinking in particular of the Letter to the People of God of August 2018 and the meeting he organized in February 2019 with the presidents of the bishops’ conferences of the world. There are other examples, such as the reform of canon law that goes into effect on December 8, which is the culmination of a long effort.
Among the members of the commission I chaired, there is no doubt about the Holy See’s willingness to tackle this problem and Pope Francis’ commitment to these issues. It’s a continuation of the pontificate of Benedict XVI who took many steps in this direction.
We must understand the fact that the victims express a great deal of radicalism and a form of impatience that can lead them to make accusations that I, for one, do not share.
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