Pope Francis responds to French clergy sex abuse report “with sorrow”

A report released Tuesday estimates that 330,000 children in France were sexually abused over the past 70 years. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Pope Francis learned about the clergy sex abuse report’s findings “with sorrow.”

The figure includes abuses committed by roughly 3,000 priests and an unknown number of other people involved in France’s Catholic Church — wrongdoing that Catholic authorities covered up over decades in a “systemic manner,” according to Jean-Marc Sauvé, the president of the independent commission that issued the report.

The report said the tally of 330,000 victims includes an estimated 216,000 people abused by priests and other clerics and the rest by church figures such as scout leaders or camp counselors. The study’s authors estimate 80% of the church’s victims were boys.

The report comes after a scandal surrounding now-defrocked priest Bernard Preynat rocked the French Catholic Church. Last year, Preynat was convicted of sexually abusing minors and given only a five-year prison sentence. He admitted abusing more than 75 boys for decades.

In 2019, ex-Cardinal George Pell, the most senior Catholic to ever be convicted of child sex abuse was sentenced in an Australian court to 6 years in prison for molesting two choirboys in a Melbourne cathedral. The Victoria state Court of Appeal in August of 2019 rejected Pell’s expected appeal. But he was released in April of 2020 after Australia’s highest court overturned his conviction after serving only 13 months of his six-year sentence (CBN News).




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