Four weeks after the publication of the startling report and the recommendations of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Catholic Church (Ciase), on October 5, the some 120 French bishops meet in Lourdes (Hautes-Pyrénées) for their assembly autumn plenary from Tuesday 2 to Monday 8 November. Five half-days will be devoted to “Fight against violence and sexual assault on minors” and the report of the commission chaired by Jean-Marc Sauvé, before the votes on resolutions, Monday morning.
After years of procrastination in the face of revelations about sexual violence committed by priests or religious, the episcopate is, on all sides, called on to act to repair and reform, and this in order to prevent further violence. . The Lourdes meeting looks like a last chance since Ciase estimated at 216,000 the number of people today major who would have been attacked by a priest or a religious in their minority. This figure rises to 330,000 if we include people assaulted by a lay person on an ecclesial mission.
“Anger” of Catholics
There is pressure from all sides. Published by the daily The cross on October 28, an IFOP survey, carried out online from October 20 to 22 with 997 adult Catholics, shows that 85% of them say they are ” angry “ after the publication of the Ciase report and that 76% consider that the reaction of the hierarchy has not been up to the revelations (among regular practitioners, only 49% believe that it has been). Nine out of ten Catholics are in favor of the Church “Apologize to the victims”, “Entrusts responsibilities to women” and “Change his discourse on sexuality”. This ” anger “, bishops have also seen it among the faithful during meetings they have organized in their dioceses since October 5, especially among those who are very involved in ecclesial life.
Some Catholics have taken collective initiatives to ensure that inertia or cosmetic measures do not end up prevailing. At the origin of a hashtag #AussiMonEglise, a collective called, in The cross, To “Give concrete follow-up to this report, commensurate with the situation”. These believers claim that he “Must move from measures to a real reform”, “Even in certain theological and disciplinary elaborations”. They believe that these reforms “Will not be able to decide, let alone be done, between the bishops alone”. They ask “An ambitious French synodal initiative” which takes on board all the lay volunteers. They demand the establishment of a “Independent commission for monitoring” of the implementation of the recommendations of the Ciase. This is also the wish of the Catholic Conference of Baptized Francophones (CCBF), which is moved by “The worrying inertia which the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) has so far shown”. “You can no longer be judges and parties”, adds the CCBF, which wishes “Urgent structural reforms”.
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