Thousands of pedophiles active in French Catholic Church since 1950, commission finds
Some 3,000 pedophiles have operated inside the French Catholic Church since 1950, the head of an independent commission investigating the scandal told AFP, days ahead of the release of its report.
The commission’s research uncovered between 2,900 and 3,200 paedophile priests or other members of the church, said Jean-Marc Sauve, adding that it was “a minimum estimate”.
The commission’s report is due to be released on Tuesday after two and a half years of research based on church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with witnesses.
Sauve, senior French civil servant, said the report, which runs to 2,500 pages, had attempted to quantify both the number of offenders and the number of victims.
It also looked into “the mechanisms, notably institutional and cultural ones” within the Church which allowed paedophiles to remain, and will offer 45 proposals.
The independent commission was set up in 2018 by the Bishops’ Conference of France (CEF) and the national congregations conference (CORREF) in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide.
Its formation also came after Pope Francis passed a landmark measure obliging those who know about sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors.
Made up of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians, its brief was to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics dating back to the 1950s.
When it began its work it called for witness statements and set up a telephone hotline, then reported receiving thousands of messages in the months that followed.
The report will be delivered to the CEF and the CORREF and released at a press conference Tuesday to which representatives of victims’ associations are invited.
“It’s not going to go easy on anyone,” said Philippe Portier, a sociologist who was part of the commission.
“It will have the effect of a bomb”, added Olivier Savignac, of the victims’ association Parler et Revivre.
Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the president of the CEF, said he feared the report would reveal “significant and frightening figures”, during a meeting with parishioners from his diocese.
A message from Church authorities to priests and parishes ahead of weekend masses warned that the report’s publication would be “a harsh and serious moment”, which calls for “an attitude of truth and compassion”.
Sauve had said in November that the handling of suspected paedophile cases “in the past has often been faulty”.
He said it was “extremely serious that there could have been some institutions and some communities, in small number, where systemic abuses could have been committed”.
In most cases, however, prosecution is unlikely because the abuse occurred beyond French statutes of limitations, and it remains unclear what actions the church itself will take against offenders.
The report is expected to be closely studied at the Vatican, where the issue was raised by the pope in September during a meeting with French bishops.
China and Russia are increasing their military collaboration
STOCKHOLM — Japanese Foreign Minister Yoshimasa Hayashi expressed concern Saturday about Russian and Chinese military cooperation in Asia and said the security situation in Europe could not be separated from that in the Indo-Pacific region since Moscow’s full-scale invasion of Ukraine.
Speaking at a meeting of European and Indo-Pacific foreign ministers in Sweden, Hayashi said Russia’s war in Ukraine had “shaken the very foundation of the international order” and must face a united response by the international community.
“Otherwise, similar challenges will arise in other regions and the existing order which has underpinned our peace and prosperity could be fundamentally overturned,” Hayashi said.
French President Emmanuel Macron Says Someone Who Refuses COVID Vaccine Is ‘Not a Citizen’
French president Macron’s desire to ‘piss off’ unvaccinated individuals triggers outrage
French President Emmanuel Macron faced significant criticism for his comments claiming that he would like to “piss off” unvaccinated individuals.
Macron spoke candidly during an interview with French newspaper Le Parisien, during which he said that he wanted to make life difficult for individuals who have not received a COVID-19 vaccine. The French “sanitary pass” has prompted a number of protests and stiff opposition while the country nears 75% full vaccination.
“I really want to piss them off, and we’ll carry on doing this – to the end,” Macron said three months ahead of a presidential election. “I won’t send [unvaccinated people] to prison, so we need to tell them, from 15 January, you will no longer be able to go to the restaurant. You will no longer be able to go for a coffee, you will no longer be able to go to the theatre. You will no longer be able to go to the cinema.”
The French Parliament heard Macron’s comments during a debate over his proposed bill to tighten restrictions for unvaccinated individuals, leading to a swift and strong uproar in response.
His opponents have labeled the comments “unworthy” of a president.
“Even if one doesn’t share their choice, they have broken none of our country’s laws,” Marine Le Pen, Macron’s chief opponent in the upcoming election, told reporters late Tuesday. “He is continuing his policy of division, of pitting the French against one another.”
She later tweeted “A president shouldn’t say that…Emmanuel Macron is unworthy of his office.”
Leftist politician Jean-Luc Melanchon described the remarks as an “astonishing confession,” according to the BBC.
But Macron’s allies have defended the comments, with Stéphane Séjourné, a member of the European Parliament, arguing on Twitter that unvaccinated individuals have “bothered” the French by “forcing the rest of the population to endure restrictions.”
Debate over Macron’s bill continue into Wednesday as opponents still seek to delay its passage. Some of his supporters claimed to have received death threats because they are backing the legislation, The New York Times reported.
Assange ‘suffers stroke in jail’ after court rules he can be extradited to America
WIKILEAKS founder Julian Assange has reportedly suffered a stroke in jail.
The 50-year-old is being held at the high security Belmarsh Prison as he battles to avoid being extradited to America following a court ruling.
Assange has reportedly been left with a drooping right eyelid, memory problems and signs of neurological damage following a mini-stroke.
It’s reported the stroke happened at the time of a High Court appearance via video link in October.
His fiancee Stella Moris said he is “struggling” with the stress of fighting extradition to a US prison.
Since the mini-stroke, Assange reportedly has had an MRI scan and is taking anti-stroke medication.
Ms Moris told the Mail: “Julian is struggling and I fear this mini-stroke could be the precursor to a more major attack. It compounds our fears about his ability to survive the longer this long legal battle goes on.
“It urgently needs to be resolved. Look at animals trapped in cages in a zoo. It cuts their life short. That’s what’s happening to Julian. The never-ending court cases are extremely stressful mentally.”