© Reuters Pope Francis greets bishops during a weekly general visit to Paul VI at the Vatican in October 2021. Reuters / Yara Nardi
Written by Angelo Amante
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) – Pope Francis said Wednesday he was saddened and ashamed of the Catholic Church’s inability to deal with child sexual abuse in France and that the church must be “a safe home for all.”
“I want to express my grief to the victims, my grief for their injuries, and my shame, our shame, for the incapacity of the church, to keep them at the center of their concerns for too long,” Francis said. His weekly general audience.
Speaking the day after a major investigation into French clergy torturing more than 200,000 children over 70 years, the missionary called on Catholics in France to take responsibility for what happened to make the church a “safe home for all.”
“This is a shameful moment,” he said, urging bishops to “prevent a similar tragedy from happening again.”
Before the audience began, the pope and several visiting French bishops prayed silently for the victims of the torture, as seen in a photo published by the Vatican.
The head of the commission compiling the report, Jean-Marc Sauv, said the church had shown years of indifference to torture, preferring to protect itself rather than victims, many of whom were between the ages of 10 and 13.
The height of abuse was 1950-1970, the commission said in its report, with a apparent resurgence in the early 1990s.
Pontiff added that he was close to French priests in tackling the “difficult, yet healthy” challenge.
The Pope has already expressed his gratitude to the victims that they had the courage to come forward and condemn what they did.
Hours after the pope spoke, a Vatican court acquitted two priests accused of alleged sexual abuse at a Vatican youth seminar between 200 pri and 2012.
This is the first case of sexual harassment in the Vatican.
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