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‘This is a moment of shame’: Pope Francis responds to French abuse commission report

October 07, 2021

A day after the publication of a report estimating that over 300,000 French minors have been abused in Catholic institutions since 1950, Pope Francis spoke about “the moment of shame” during his October 7 general audience.

“Yesterday, the Episcopal Conference and the Conferences of men and women religious in France received the Independent Commission’s report regarding sexual abuse in the Church which was commissioned to evaluate the extent of the phenomenon of sexual aggression and violence committed against minors since 1950 to the present,” Pope Francis said on October 6. “Unfortunately, a considerable number was revealed.”

“To the victims I wish to express my sadness and my pain for the traumas they have endured and my shame, our shame, my shame that for so long the Church has been incapable of putting this at the center of its concerns, assuring them of my prayers,” he continued. “I pray, and let us all pray together: ‘To God the glory, to us the shame’: this is a moment of shame.”

The Pope added:

I encourage the bishops and you, dear brothers who have come here to share this moment, I encourage the bishops and religious superiors to continue to do everything possible so that similar tragedies might not be repeated. I express my closeness and fatherly support to the priests in France in the face of this trial which is difficult but beneficial, and I invite the Catholics in France to assume their responsibility to guarantee that the Church might be a safe home for everyone. Thank you.

The Pope’s remarks followed an earlier statement by the Holy See Press Office, in which spokesman Matteo Bruni spoke of the Pope’s prayers for the victims and gratitude for their courage in coming forward.


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