by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – An independent commission in France has published a major report showing that over a 70 year period an estimated 330,000 children were sexually abused in the French Catholic Church, Deutche Welle (DW) reports.
The 22-person commission was convened at the request of the church and was headed by former civil servant Jean-Marc Sauve, DW said. The commission included sociologists, magistrates, law professors and theologians, and members of various faith groups.
Tuesday’s report reveals that the children were abused by some 3,000 alleged abusers, around two-thirds of whom were priests, DW said. An estimated 216,000 children were abused by clergy. However, the alleged abusers also included lay teachers at Catholic schools.
Matteo Bruni, a spokesman for Pope Francis, said in a statement that the pontiff was pained by the report and his first concern is for the victims. “[The pope’s] thoughts turn first to the victims, with great sorrow for their wounds and gratitude for their courage in speaking out,” Bruni said.
Legal action can still be pursued in 22 cases, and files have been sent to French prosecutors, DW reports. In 40 other cases, the statute of limitations has expired but the alleged abusers are still alive: the pertinent documents have been sent to church authorities.
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