Pope Reacts ‘With Great Sorrow’ to Report of Minors Sexually Abused by French Clergy

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Pope Francis learned ‘with great sorrow’ of the findings in a report on sexual abuse of minors by members and affiliates of the French Catholic Church, head of the Vatican press office, Matteo Bruni, said on Tuesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, an independent commission published a report which revealed that at least 216,000 minors had been victims of sexual abuse by the French clergy between 1950 and 2020. The same report uncovered that between 2,900 and 3,200 people in the French Catholic Church had committed those abuses since the 1950s.

“His thoughts go out, first and foremost, to the victims, with great sorrow for their wounds and gratitude for their courage in speaking out, and to the French Church so that, realizing this tragic reality … it will be able to take the path of redemption,” the Vatican spokesman told reporters.

Bruni indicated that the pontiff, through his prayer, commended the French people and, above all, the victims to God in the hope that they would find consolation and a “miracle of healing” would occur.

The Pope was briefed on the findings by French bishops paying a traditional ad limina visit to the Vatican.

The issue of sexual abuse of minors in the Roman Catholic Church has become a matter of serious concern to Pope Francis as more and more such cases have been exposed. In June 2016, the Pope simplified the procedure for the resignation of bishops for ignoring cases of pedophilia. In August 2018, he published a special Letter to the People of God in which he urged clergy to repent; and in March 2019, he signed three fundamental legal documents to counter pedophilia.

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