Pope says he’ll meet with French sex abuse commission

Associated Press [New York NY]

December 13, 2021

By Nicole Winfield

Pope Francis agreed Monday to meet with the commission that published a ground-breaking report into clergy sexual abuse in the French Catholic Church and, separately, expressed “sadness” over the sudden downfall of the archbishop of Paris, according to French bishops who met with him.

Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French Bishops Conference, told reporters that Francis had agreed “in principle” to meet with the independent commission members but that a date had to be found.

The head of the commission, Jean-Marc Sauvé, had said the members would be received by the pope. But the reported Dec. 9 date came and went without an audience.

The French report estimated that some 330,000 children were victims of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy, scout leaders or other Catholic-affiliated lay employees from 1950-2020.

The estimate is based on broader research by France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research into sexual abuse of children in the country,. Yet the methodology of the report has been criticized since the estimates are far higher than other similar national reports into the problem in the Catholic Church.