French Catholics agree to sell property to compensate victims of abuse

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A Christian Catholic cross stands in Saint-Fiacre-sur-Maine near Nantes, France on October 5, 2021. REUTERS / Stephane Mahe / File Photo

PARIS, Nov. 8 (Reuters) – The Catholic Church of France announced on Monday it would sell properties and borrow if necessary to set up a fund to compensate thousands of people sexually abused by clergymen.

An extensive investigation in October found that French clergymen had sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years. Continue reading

The meeting of high-ranking clergy in the holy place of Lourdes recognized the “institutional responsibility” of their church and decided to go “a path of recognition and reparation,” said France’s top Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort.

The bishops would set up a fund “which is financed to the necessary extent through the sale of real estate and other assets,” de Moulins-Beaufort, Archbishop of Reims and head of the French Bishops’ Conference, told journalists.

“If necessary, we are also ready to take out loans to meet our obligations,” he added at the end of the session. He did not provide any information about the size of the fund or what property could be sold.

The October report found that the French Church had shown “years of deep, total and even cruel indifference” to protect itself and not the victims of systemic abuse.

At the time, Pope Francis called the results – the latest revelations to rock the Roman Catholic Church after a series of sexual abuse scandals around the world – “a moment of shame”. Continue reading

At the weekend meetings in Lourdes, several clergymen fell on their knees in repentance.

De Moulins-Beaufort said the bishops had also decided to ask the Pope to send them special envoys to oversee the handling of individual cases of abuse by individual bishops and dioceses.

Reporting by Tassilo Hummel; Adaptation by Andrew Heavens

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