July 10, 2020

French bishops invite victims of pedophilia to their conference



The French Episcopal Conference invited a dozen victims of pedophilia by clerics to the autumn meeting held today in the Marian shrine of Lourdes (southwest of France), where it was proposed to create an independent commission of inquiry into these cases.

With these gestures, the French episcopate wants to keep abreast of the criticisms of society, in the midst of several media processes opened by concealment of cures accused of pedophilia.

However, some associations of victims consider that with this invitation the bishops intend to do a facelift, without wanting to acknowledge their responsibility in the facts and without an authentic will to confront them.

This is the case of the association "Parole liberée", which groups people who are victims of pedophilia in the church and who have rejected the bishops' invitation not to lend themselves to what they consider to be "a masquerade".

The best proof of this is that the victims present in Lourdes will not be heard in the plenary, but behind closed doors in small work groups.

The association, which has its headquarters in Lyon, whose archbishop, Philippe Barbarin, sits next January in the dock accused of hiding a pedophile priest, believes that the church did not support the victims when these cases were reported.

In addition, they accuse the bishops of not taking the necessary measures to prevent cases of pedophilia and their concealment from recurring.

The secretary general of the French Episcopal Conference, Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas, said that on the table is the creation of an independent commission of inquiry on pedophilia in the church, another response of clerics to media pressure.

In the background of the meeting are two major trials, which accuses the archbishop of Lyon and the one that took place last week against the ex-bishop of Orleans, André Fort, for whom the prosecution requested one year in prison for having covered a priest pedophile at the beginning of the 90s.

Since 2010, according to the data of the Episcopal Conference, 433 complaints of pedophilia have reached the bishops, of which 212 have been transmitted to the courts, 36 have been settled with prosecutions and a dozen with prison sentences.

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