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France: After facing intense pressure, Catholic Church raises more than $22 million for victims of sexual abuse, World News

The Catholic Church in France has collected more than $22 million in compensation for victims of clergy sexual abuse of children.

Dioceses had come under intense pressure for turning a blind eye to the “scourge” for too long.

A major investigation revealed that the French clergy had sexually abused more than 200,000 children over the past 70 years.

The church has shown “deep, utter and even cruel indifference for years”, protecting itself rather than the victims of what were systemic abuses, said Jean-Marc Sauve, head of the commission which drafted The report.

A first amount of five million euros will be set aside for compensation claims studied by an independent committee set up following the damning report on the abuses.

Read also | How the Vatican Protected Priests Involved in Child Sexual Abuse

Gilles Vermot-Desroches, president of the Selam fund, said “It’s a first step. The Church has followed through on its commitment.’

The head of France’s bishops’ conference, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, said the church was shamed. Calling the report a “bombshell”, he asked for forgiveness and promised to act.

The head of the Episcopal Conference of France (CEF) said the Church would sell real estate and exploit its financial assets, and possibly take out bank loans to raise funds.

Read also | Privacy breach: UK church leaders protest vaccine passport

Critics accuse Francis of reacting too slowly to sex abuse scandals, failing to empathize with victims and blindly taking the word of his colleagues.

The revelations, which showed the problem in France was more widespread than previously thought, were the latest to shake the Roman Catholic Church, following a series of sex abuse scandals around the world, often involving women. children.

The French findings came a year after Britain said the Catholic Church had received more than 900 complaints about more than 3,000 cases of child sexual abuse in England and Wales between 1970 and 2015 , and that there had been more than 100 reported allegations per year since 2016.

(With agency contributions)

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