Catholic church confessional black and white
Pope Francis "felt pain" upon hearing of the widespread abuse spanning 70 years.

After three years, an independent inquiry into French Catholic leadership has released their disturbing findings – which is even more damning than many even imagined.

After thousands of interviews with witnesses and victims, the 2,500-page report estimates that since 1950, at least 216,000 children were abused by Catholic leadership. That number rises to an even more astonishing 330,000 when accounting for abuse committed at Catholic schools.

The independent commission was set up by the Bishops Conference of France, which estimates that the abuse was committed by roughly 3,000 clergy members over 70 years. 

Victims and advocates say the report is long overdue, and are demanding accountability for the unspeakable crimes. How is the Church responding?

The Pope’s Response

A Vatican statement said Pope Francis “felt pain” upon hearing the report’s findings. It explained that the pontiff is praying for the victims and their “wounds,” and praises “their courage to speak out.” 

"His thoughts also turn to the Church in France, and that, in recognising these terrible events and united by the suffering of the Lord for his most vulnerable children, it can take the path of redemption," it read.

Victims are now wondering just what kind of redemption the Church hopes to seek. The commission called for financial compensation for victims, but it seems the Church is instead offering... thoughts and prayers.

“By his prayers the Pope entrusts the People of God who are in France, especially the victims, to the Lord so that He may grant them comfort and consolation and the miracle of healing, with justice," said the director of the Holy See Press Office.

Pope Francis has often had to reckon with the Church’s abusive past. In 2018, the Church offered financial compensation to abuse victims in the United States following yet another bombshell report, offering a payout only if the victim waived the right to sue later.

Critics accused the Church of trying to buy off victims cheaply, in case the statute of limitations on childhood abuses is amended later.

As one lawyer representing abuse victims stated, it’s like trying to “put a Band-Aid on a situation that requires major surgery.”

The Ultimate Betrayal

Victims were treated with a "deep, total and even cruel indifference" said Jean-Marc Sauvé, who spearheaded the inquiry. "There was a whole bunch of negligence, of deficiency, of silence, an institutional cover-up."

The Catholic Church is responsible for "a betrayal of trust, betrayal of morale, [and] betrayal of children," stated François Devaux, the founder of a victims’ rights organization in France. 

Tragically, many of these crimes are either beyond the statute of limitations, or the abuser is now dead. Out of hundreds of thousands of cases, only 22 are eligible to be prosecuted. 

Because legal recourse is out of reach for most of the victims, many are seeking compensation from the Catholic Church. One 73-year-old victim named Martine told AP that the money is symbolic and punitive. “It won’t fix things,” she said. “But it means it will also cost them something.”

The commission itself is calling on the Church to offer financial compensation to the victims. But whether that will actually happen remains to be seen, especially given the Church's shaky record of making amends for past abuse. 

What is your reaction?

51 comments

  1. Rev. Elizabeth's Avatar Rev. Elizabeth

    It’s sad that I have to say that I am not surprised. The numbers are even higher. Not everyone reports the crime committed against them by parents who don’t want to upset their priest or children and adults are too ashamed. They blame themselves for being a bad person against God. They feel this is their punishment to be good. I could keep going on but I won’t. This is just the French. Thinks of all people who worship with the catholic priests and other clergy. The numbers are just to high to fathom. I pray the person committing the crime to be healed and the victims to be healed.

    1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

      You pray that the predator priests get healed?

      I pray that pedophiles get crucified on Pay-per-view with the profits going to the victims.

      I pray that Catholics wake up and realize that they're members of a depraved, death cult.

      1. JaZe's Avatar JaZe

        priest celibacy is part of the problem

        1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

          I couldn’t agree more with you; for centuries Catholic priests, all the way up to Popes themselves, have kept mistresses although unofficially they have remained celibate. Celibacy is the perfect refuge for perverts who join the Church without having to explain why they don’t mingle with women and in this atmosphere is very easy to predate upon the helpless and the innocent. In the Bible it says: “The Lord God said, “It is not good for the man to be alone. I will make a helper suitable for him.” Yet the Church’s does not follow this message.

        2. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

          Nearly two-thirds of convicted child molesters and/or offenders were or had been married.

    2. Robert Wilson's Avatar Robert Wilson

      I agree with everything that you just wrote.

      Rev robert wilson

      1. William Dusenberry's Avatar William Dusenberry

        As a ULC BIshop, whose been twice “sainted,” I agree with the two “Rev’s” cited above

        “Religiously-brainwashing” little children (aka Sunday School) is a very serious (perhaps, the most serious) type of infant child abuse.

        Little kiddies, brainwashed into one kind of mythology, or other, are extremely attracted to demagogues who run for President — and in the process, they claim that they were chosen to do so, by their ineffable God (or, Gods).

        No child should be indoctrinated into any religion (except one based purely and entirely on Nature) until they reach the supposed “age of reason” which to most never ever comes, as long as they eventually settle on an ineffable God — merely because all the other.members of their tribe do so.

        1. James Pace's Avatar James Pace

          Truth...

  1. Matthew Mastrogiovanni's Avatar Matthew Mastrogiovanni

    It's time to abolish the hypocritical Catholic Church. The Vatican is a gigantic pedophile ring, that hides behind a religion.
    How can they condemn the LBGTQ community, while promoting pedophilia?

    1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

      YOU KNOW WHATs MISSING from ALL CHURCHS, ?, GOD !

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        As there is no evidence for one, do you have a particular man-made god in mind?

        🦁❤️

        1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

          HEY LIONHEAD, MY MEANING is THAT THEY TALK B S LIKE YOU ! YOU DO NOT NEED ANY GOD or ESPECIALLY A LEGEND IN THEIR OWN MIND AS YOU, SCHMUCK ! DO YOU KNOW WHY DONKEYs LIKE YOU DO NOT ATTEND SCHOOLS ???

          1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

            Thank you for your very literate and well meaning comment John. Perhaps we could share sometime as to which schools we attended to get our Doctorates? Mine was in Aerospace Engineering with an emphasis on Rocket Motor Stage Separation Systems. What was yours?

            🦁❤️

    2. Gwendolyn Lord's Avatar Gwendolyn Lord

      Exactly. The hypocrisy and fulness is beyond....

    3. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

      Comment removed by user.

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    There's a reason Mark Twain had as much as he did to say about the French.

  1. Daniel Gray's Avatar Daniel Gray

    If after investigation you find out they did it, then nail them to the wall. this isnt rocket science.

  1. Gwendolyn Lord's Avatar Gwendolyn Lord

    Isn't it about time that the sweeping abuses perpetrated by Catholic clergy in EVERY COUNTRY were addressed by an open mea culpa, and a formal act of contrition by church hierarchy up to, and including the Pope. (Granted he inherited this fulness, but ignoring the elephant in the room won't do any good.) The Catholic Church has been outdated for at least a couple of centuries, in terms of addressing the spiritual needs of it's congregations. Maybe it is passed time for them to roll up their rugs, and pack it in. Seems to me ALL organized religions have failed in their reputed "missions" and morals. Just look around you, watch the news, feel the energy shift. I think the see-saw has tilted into the negative zone, and chances of recovery seems slim. Our planet is the mirror which reflects the centuries of selfishness, greed, callous cruelty, savage behavior, fierce hatreds. Gaia SCREAMS, sends earthquakes and storms, strong winds, trying to get us off Her Body. If the meek shall inherit the earth, than maybe our animal brethren deserve to take over. We deserve NOTHING.

  1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

    In reality it’s the way the Christian religion is, it’s led by an equally monstrous imaginable deity that many, for some really ridiculous reason, love to worship. I think it’s because they firmly believe they will go to hell if they don’t….totally conned by that blackmailing fallacy, and fearing their god.

    🦁❤️

    1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

      HEY LIONHEAD R U the FAMOUS RIKI the LIONHEAD BIGMOUTH KNOW IT ALL ???

      1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

        I wish I did know it all John, but thank you for the complement. I am constantly seeking and learning by using logic and reason, mixed with critical thought. How about you?

        🦁❤️

  1. James Pace's Avatar James Pace

    My question is, why is anyone even surprised anymore?

  1. Nicholas J Page's Avatar Nicholas J Page

    Always the same story Church people get found out about child abuse.What happens an apology from the church involved and that's it quite afterwards.Until the next time.Why are these people getting away with it Seems like the churches haven't got a clue what goes on inside four walls and the clergy gets away with again

    1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

      Oh they have a clue...nation by nation by nation. Centuries of pattern and practice speak for themselves.

    2. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

      YEAH and, AND THEN THEY BACK tRUMP and CLAIM HIM JESUS, RELIGION DOES NOT EXIST ONLY BLATANT STUPIDITY !

  1. Douglas Robert Spindler's Avatar Douglas Robert Spindler

    When people are told to believe God's law and religion is above the law the brutal rape of kids, women and men can occur. Just another reason why young people today want to have nothing to do with the Christian religion.

  1. Rev Mark D's Avatar Rev Mark D

    This is the history of the satanist Catholic Church since it's inception. Not the Catholics...the Church.

    1. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      A member of the Catholic church, upon hearing these stories of covered-up child abuse by a member of their clergy, who does not immediately leave the church is helping to protect the abusers. Their continued fealty to the international criminal organization that is the Catholic church is reprehensible.

  1. Brien's Avatar Brien

    I think we can all agree that this is horrible. We can apply any label to it we wish, but do not forget that this is part of our world history. It is not only the good parts of history that the world claims, but we must also claim the bad. Placing blame does nothing. Making sure something like that never happens again will. We must use the world history to learn from our mistakes, not repeat those mistakes, and evolve into better human beings. Peace.

  1. Robert Nicholas Stevens's Avatar Robert Nicholas Stevens

    Catholic church gets more leniency from their crimes than BLM and Antifa.

    1. Amy Varela's Avatar Amy Varela

      You forgot the GOP.

      1. John P Maher's Avatar John P Maher

        CORRECTION THE G O Pigs !

  1. Rebecca L Tice's Avatar Rebecca L Tice

    I've been reading the Quran lately..... and comparing it to the Bible. https://forums.somd.com/forums/religion.30/ I'm finding that we worship the same God... the Muslims just want no part of making Mary a goddess. That, in their mind, makes Jesus too iffy. Mary is not a goddess... and the same church that seems to make her one.... is the same one preying on our children. That speaks volumes to me. My church has a problem too.... there are a lot of Good Christian, Southern Baptist, women who are preyed upon by the preachers. Corruption in the church or synagogue is what caused the Muslims to form together and write the Quran..... and we are not surprised by the "good" pope saying he is sorry......

    1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

      Pray tell us, where have you read that Christians want to make a goddess out of Virgin Mary? I don’t believe lies are welcome in this forum. And as for Muslims getting together to write down the Quran due to corruption in the Church you should review your info because it is not as you affirm. I’ve been living in the Middle East for 25 years and assure you that your facts are wrong. Please read more.

  1. Charles Jude Platt's Avatar Charles Jude Platt

    If we want to 'blame' anyone, it should be God. He made is all the way we are. Why don't we pray for healing and (if possible) reconciliation for the victims and the sinners? Blaming won't help anyone heal. We all must continually look at our 'flaws ' before casting angry judgements on anyone. I believe Jesus of Nazareth once said, "Why are you looking at the splinter in your neighbors eye while their is a LOG in your own?" These Clergy were and are sick. Sick, sick people. "If we are without sin, we can cast the first stone" God bless these victims and their degenerate clergy.

    1. JPrime's Avatar JPrime

      The church needs to take accountability and face consequences before any true healing and reconciliation can happen. So far, nothing has happened except the Pope offering “thoughts and prayers”. That’s all well and good….but ACTIONS are required here. The very least that needs to be done is the defrocking, excommunication and prosecution of those that who CAN be found. Immediately. INCLUDING those involved in covering up the abuse. And support for ALL who were affected by the misconduct, not just the targets. Seems to me the absolute minimum isn’t even being met.

    2. Karen M Butler's Avatar Karen M Butler

      God gave us a brain. We're supposed to use it, not abuse it.

  1. Richard Lee Cornell's Avatar Richard Lee Cornell

    That is the same excuse that it gave for knowing what was happening to those of the Jewish faith in WW2 in Europe. Since it was only killing of Jews it was alright since it was not the Catholic Church doing the killing but that of the Lutheran Church. The Catholic Church has use those in power to do their dirty work of getting rid of non Catholic or anyone who was different. The abuse of children was as common as it has always been in every country that there is a Catholic Church you will find children being attack. It is not only the males priest, but that of the nuns who being cruel is just as worst. Beating of a child is standard practice as children of that faith can attest to. Jokes about males being beaten by a nun after school were common and females being subjected to those beating by both nuns and priests. The other joke is where do Catholic boys learn about sex, from the young nuns who take them under their robes.

  1. Deborah Jean Howard's Avatar Deborah Jean Howard

    It is very sad, that the church covers this up. And that’s what it is a cover-up. It’s been going on for decades centuries Eons. But the church the higher-ups do not do anything about it. It needs to be brought to court, these priests these ministers these Rabbis. They all feel that they’re better than now. And all that the higher-ups do in the church or in the Vatican, they move these people someplace else so they can abuse more children and adults. It needs to stop. It needs to be brought to justice in front of the courts

  1. Andrew John Crowbridge's Avatar Andrew John Crowbridge

    Abusing little boys, the 8th sacrament.

  1. Geoffrey A Middleton's Avatar Geoffrey A Middleton

    This has apparently been a problem in the Catholic Church for years, not just what we saw in the 2000s and 2010s. These new findings tell us that the rabbit hole goes deeper than we knew.

  1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

    Pray tell us, where have you read that Christians want to make a goddess out of Virgin Mary? I don’t believe lies are welcome in this forum. And as for Muslims getting together to write down the Quran due to corruption in the Church you should review your info because it is not as you affirm. I’ve been living in the Middle East for 25 years and assure you that your facts are wrong. Please read more.

    1. Pastor Gary's Avatar Pastor Gary

      25 years, wow that is a long time. The manifesto publication that has been around how long? Since circa 650 BC and you can be assured there have been no changes, modifications, misprints, errors in copying this document since then, is that correct?

      1. Gerardo Salazar's Avatar Gerardo Salazar

        Unfortunately it is not; the Quran was dictated by Archangel Gabriel to Prophet Mohammed, (as per Muslim beliefs), around the year 630AC, about 100 years after the beginning of the Middle Ages.

        As you can see, the story is similar to the origin of the Book of the Mormon, in which Angel Moroni brings the book forward so nothing new. Jews took Mesopotamian beliefs and adapted them and at the end it has been a continuous remake of old teachings into new cults.

  1. Rory Heath's Avatar Rory Heath

    As I have always felt and I still do; priests and nuns should be able to marry. God gave us sex and made us sexual beings. Denying these urges or trying to in the face of public only creates the monster of abuse. The rule of them not marring comes from the Catholic church not anything mandated from God.

  1. Donald Zanghi's Avatar Donald Zanghi

    Does anyone else believe that the Catholic Church is the largest, oldest, and most corrupt Secret Society this world has ever known?

  1. Susan Claire Schloeder's Avatar Susan Claire Schloeder

    The Vatican needs to pay for the sins of its clergy.

    The evil that was overlooked is appalling.

    (There are very good priests also. )

  1. Karen M Butler's Avatar Karen M Butler

    Many, many children have been abused in many ways and were slaughtered by the 'church' over a thousand years. It's an entity that doesn't hold the supposedly 'pure' for the crimes they commit. And yet, people still go to churches every week and turn a blind eye, donating to them to molest our children. When does it end?

    1. Lionheart's Avatar Lionheart

      I fear you are indeed correct Karen. Religion has a lot to answer for in its abuse of children, not just physically, but mentally/emotionally as well. Telling children there is a Hell waiting for them if they don’t accept Jesus as their savior is mental abuse, and that’s just the Christian religion. Other religions have their own blackmailing psychological abuse to keep human beings in line. Those who are less intellectually gifted sadly continue to toe-the-line in fear of upsetting their mythical god.

      Thank you for your post.

      🦁❤️

      1. Carl Bernard Elfstrom's Avatar Carl Bernard Elfstrom

        I for one, expect you to receive three times good for that comment, Lionheart. Believe it or not, it makes no difference to me, sir.

  1. Karen M Butler's Avatar Karen M Butler

    Comment removed by user.

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