Pope Francis said Wednesday he was ashamed of the fact that over 216,000 children have been sexually abused in the French churches since 1950.
Following a meeting at the Vatican, Pope Francis said: “I would like to express my sadness and pain for the trauma they experienced. It's my shame, our shame, that the Church couldn't put them at the center of its concern for too long.”
Referring to an investigation report on sexual abuse against children in France’s Catholic churches, the pope stated these events should not be repeated and asked all the bishops to take necessary measures in this regard.
Describing the situation as a "difficult test", he urged the French Catholics to ensure that the church remains a safe home for all.
In a stunning revelation, an independent commission Tuesday said that there were 216,000 cases of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church in France between 1950 and 2020.
During a news conference, the French Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in Church (CIASE) said anywhere from 2,900 to 3,200 priests and other members of the church were given a free hand to abuse parishioners, which was subsequently covered up by the church leaders.
The commission was set up in 2018 by the Bishop’s Conference of France and the national congregations conference to look into the matter.
Jean-Marc Sauve, the former head of CIASE, stated that the Catholic church did not take the necessary measures against sexual abuse incidents.