The voice of François Devaux sounds tired over the phone. And discouraged despite the organization that presides, Parole Liberée (Liberated Word), he seems to be closer than ever to his goals. Constituted in 2015 by pedophilia victims of priest Bernard Preynat, chaplain of a group scout Religious of Lyon accused of having abused about 70 minors between 1970 and 1991, this association has achieved, in just three years, that the Church has not been able to continue hiding cases of pedophilia, as it did for decades. But he is not even encouraged by the start in Orleans of another trial for abuses in which a bishop is accused of having silenced abuses of one of his subordinates. This process could give clues about what will happen when in January, at the request of Parole Liberée, one of the most influential religious in France feels on the bench, the Cardinal of Lyon, Philippe Barbarin.
At the center of his discouragement is what he considers a lack of real interest of the Catholic Church, from its French branch to the Vatican itself, for attacking the root of the problem of pedophilia. This is what led him to reject the invitation to participate this Saturday in the pedophile meeting to be held by the Conference of Bishops of France in the framework of its annual assembly in Lourdes.
"I think it's more of a communication operation than anything else." They have not prepared this meeting at all, I sent them many questions about how it was going to be organized and I did not receive any response and I realized that deep down they deal with this question with an amateurism which borders on the lack of respect for the seriousness and extent of the facts denounced, "he explains. "I do not think they are in the mood to eradicate this scourge and implement measures that lead to reforms, so I'm not going to waste my time on that."
Parole Liberée sent more than a year ago a report with numerous proposals to improve the response of the Church in cases of pedophilia. From creating a compensation fund for victims to demand that the Vatican systematically lift the prescription of cases of abuse against minors or, also, that the records of pedophile cures are not taken by religious close to the accused. Until now, Delvaux regrets, there has not been a single reaction. "There is a lot to be done, but no response, and while they are not willing to implement these reforms, we can not wait much longer," he warns.
Although he is pleased that, finally, Cardinal Barbarin is going to sit, starting in January, in the dock accused of hiding the abuses of Preynat for years, he feels hurt by the reaction of the Vatican. The Holy See prevented a few weeks ago that the Spanish cardinal Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, had to appear before the French justice for the Barbarin case. According to the instruction in the case, Barbarin asked Ladaria in 2015 what to do in response to the reports of pedophilia against Preynat, and asked him to "avoid any public scandal" when dealing with cases. For Devaux, it is an "abusive use of diplomatic immunity" by Ladaria. And a sample, apostille, of what he considers the direct responsibility of Pope Francis.
"For me there is no doubt about the responsibility, not to say the guilt, of the Pope, who is perfectly aware of the extent of this scourge but who pretends he has no information," he says. According to Devaux, Francisco "only acts by reaction and coercion, after pressure from public opinion, even though he is fully aware of the problem." In fact, remember, "he's the one who installed the child protection commission, who presented a report that the Pope has not even mentioned. "" I do not doubt his responsibility and guilt, I think he is at the core of the problem, "he laments.