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‘Our Church is a place of serious crimes,’ France’s leading prelate says, as bishops adopt reforms

November 10, 2021

In his closing address at the French bishops’ meeting in Lourdes, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the president of the episcopal conference, said that “our Church is a place of serious crimes, of frightening attacks on the lives and integrity of children and adults.”

“We must recognize and confess it: we have allowed an ecclesial system to develop which—far from bearing life and opening up to spiritual liberty—damages, crushes, tramples on human beings and their most basic rights,” he added.

The bishops met a month after the publication of a report that found that more than 200,000 children were abused by Catholic clerics over the past 70 years, and another 100,000 by lay church workers.

The bishops adopted a number of resolutions to address the abuse crisis, including

  • the establishment of an independent authority for financial reparations to abuse victims, led by Marie Derain, former president of the National Council for Child Protection
  • a request to Pope Francis to send a team of visitors to evaluate their efforts
  • a pledge to sell diocesan properties to compensate victims
  • an external audit of current efforts to address abuse
  • criminal background checks on all who work with minors
  • the participation of at least one woman in the administration of every seminary
  • the signing of a protocol between each diocese and the local prosecutor’s office (presumably on the reporting of abuse allegations)
  • a day of prayer for victims of abuse
  • the establishment of a national canonical criminal court
  • consultation with the Holy See on certain recommendations of CIASE, the commission that last month issued the report on abuse in the Church in France


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Show 5 Comments? (Hidden)Hide Comments
  • Posted by: fsj - Nov. 12, 2021 4:47 PM ET USA

    @ Randal Mandock Your distinction is of course accurate. My point was the absence of precisely such a distinction in the AB's remarks as reported. I hope this absence was unintentional.

  • Posted by: Randal Mandock - Nov. 11, 2021 5:34 PM ET USA

    Regarding fsj's comment, our pastor a few years ago pointed out that Christ's promise was to prevent the gates of hell from ever prevailing over the Catholic Church. Christ said nothing about the gates of hell prevailing over any of the particular Churches, be it the Church in the U.S., the Church in Germany, or the Church in France. This report refers to the French Church. Other reports refer to other particular Churches. We see vice everywhere within the Church, but a faithful remnant remains.

  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Nov. 10, 2021 6:59 PM ET USA

    They forget to mention the wholesale resignation of these wicked Shepards.

  • Posted by: mhains8491 - Nov. 10, 2021 6:55 PM ET USA

    For too long, too many Prelates have been engaged in sexual abuse, against mostly males, or covered up theses abuses by the clergy and others have remained silent. The cesspool is one created and overseen by wicked Shepherds who betray Christ, his Church, the victims and the faithful.

  • Posted by: fsj - Nov. 10, 2021 6:20 PM ET USA

    Characterizing the Church in this way universally and without qualification is a de facto denial of her essential identity as the Kingdom of God on earth, as well as a practical contradiction of Christ's promise that the powers of hell would not prevail against her.