Will Pope Francis meet the members of the Sauvé Commission on clerical sexual abuse in France?
Following the release of the Sauvé Report, which documented more than 300,000 cases of sexual abuse by clergy and lay workers over the last seven decades in France, the pope was supposed to meet members of the commission, including its president Jean-Marc Sauvé, on December 9th at the Vatican.
The postponement of the meeting coincided with eight members of the prestigious "Catholic Academy of France" writing a "rebuttal" that was critical of the Sauvé Report. The document, sent to the papal nuncio in France, questioned, among other things, the statistical methodology used to reach its staggeringly high number of victims. It has caused consternation, disbelief, and a wave of resignations from the Academy, including that of the president of the bishops' conference - the very body that commissioned the Sauvé Report in the first place.
SNAP deeply regrets one more instance of the Catholic Church "muddying the waters," an exercise at which it excels: "others abuse children," "it was a long time ago," "it wasn't that bad." That the Academy report questioned the findings of a highly respected panel is another example which shows that the Catholic Church never stops digging - leading Vincent Cespedes, a prominent philosopher, to call for the Catholic Church (not the religion) to be banned as an accessory to the many crimes committed by its clergy. (Column in Le Monde newspaper, Nov 26, 2021.)
A few days ago, Pope Francis told a delegation of French bishops that he was willing to meet members of the Sauvé Commission, but no date has been announced. Survivors will have to be forgiven for not holding much hope concerning the outcome, particularly in view of the rebuttal report that will give cover to the Pope if he once again drags his feet.
Pope Francis is on notice: Nothing short of a wholesale embrace of the "4Rs" (Recognition, Responsibility, Reparation, Reform) advocated by "From Words to Deeds" will satisfy French survivors.
FWD is a recently formed coalition of survivors' groups created in the aftermath of the Sauvé Report - see page 4 here for more details and @collectifdelaparoleauxactes for their (translatable) FB page.
CONTACT: Marc Artzrouni, SNAP Europe, ([email protected], +33 - 6 95 73 65 92) Mike McDonnell, SNAP Communications Manager, (267-261-0578, [email protected] ), Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (517-974-9009, [email protected] ), Shaun Dougherty, SNAP Board President (814-341-8386, [email protected] )
(SNAP, the Survivors Network, is the world's oldest and largest support group for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings. SNAP was founded in 1988 and has more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)