Jean-Marc Sauve, the president of the commission that examined the allegations, found the French Catholic Church had shown “a profound and even cruel indifference towards the victim” up until the 2000s, condemning the church’s hierarchy and dysfunction for failing to stop it.
Over the past 70 years, the inquiry established roughly 216,000 children were the victims of abuse, with that number potentially growing to 330,000 when including lay members. Out of a total of 115,000 priests and clergy during that time, evidence showed 2,900 to 3,200 were accused of abuse.
Sauve blamed a “veil of silence” within the French Catholic Church, ensuring that victims were “not believed, not heard,” and allowing “systemic” abuse to proliferate for decades unchallenged.
“That is devastating, because the ratio between 216,000 and 3,000, it’s one aggressor for 70 victims. That is terrifying for the French society, for the Catholic Church,” Olivier Savignac, head of victims’ association ‘Parler et Revivre’, which means ‘Speak Out and Live Again’, said ahead of the report’s release.