The French Catholic Church revealed that 11 bishops have been accused of Clerical sexual abuse or covering up such cases. This information came from a press conference of Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims.
According to the Vatican News, one of these cases involves Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard who confessed to the crime he committed to a teenage girl over three decades ago. The now 78 year old Cardinal said that 'There is no doubt that my behavior caused serious and long-lasting consequences for that person.' In his confession, the cardinal also asked for forgiveness from the woman and her family and that he is going on retreat to pray.
The Case of 11 Bishops with Clerical Sexual Abuse
The church said that already six of the bishops, with one of them already dead, have either been accused by the State of the Church. The other bishops are also either under investigation or suspended. The report added that in 2018, Bishop Andre Fort was sentenced with a suspended prison sentence of eight months.
On the article, it said that the CEF is cracking down on historical sex crime allegations against the clergy by trying to improve in communication and transparency. The President of the CEF, Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort of Reims admitted that the church had serious shortcomings and dysfunctions on the matter.
The report by Vatican news also recalled the CIASE report that previously uncovered abuse of Catholic church members going back as far as the 1950s. The 2021 report uncovered that there were a total of 330,000 people abused in France with the majority of them being children.
With this revelation, Pope Francis released a statement saying that he felt pain over the findings but that he is hopeful that it could be a path for redemption.
Pope Francis and the Fight Against Clerical Child Abuse
Recently in a press conference that Pope Francis held from a plane, he said that the Catholic Church is doing the best that it can when it comes to the matter at hand. However, he admitted that there were shortcomings of the church. He added that the church is facing the ongoing issue with courage.
The Pope's message called for zero-tolerance and that with everything clearer, the church is moving forward.
According to BBC, even though there have already been accusations against the church since the 1950s, it would start to garner attention back in the 1980s. Over the years, there have been multiple exposes about the issue which includes a 1995 case that saw the Archbishop of Vienna step down from his post.
However, it was 2002 when the Boston Globe newspaper piece about the widespread abuse in the United States and abroad that the people came forward to confront the church about the issue.
In recent cases, Cardinal Theodore McCarrick was charged with sexual abuse. The Cardinal pleaded not guilty, saying that he has no recollection of the alleged abuse.
There's also the lawsuit against the Buffalo Catholic Diocese in 2020 that alleged that church leaders protected erring priests. Also, there are recent reports from churches in Scotland, France, and Germany.