French bishops kneel in penance over Catholic church’s role in child abuse

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Senior members of France’s Roman Catholic hierarchy knelt successful a amusement of penance astatine the shrine of Lourdes connected Saturday, a time aft bishops accepted the church’s work for decades of kid abuse.

But immoderate of the survivors of the maltreatment – and laic members supporting them – said they were inactive waiting for details of compensation and of a broad betterment of the church.

In Lourdes, a spot of pilgrimage for Christians, astir 120 archbishops, bishops and laymen gathered astatine the unveiling of a photograph showing a sculpture representing the caput of a weeping child.

At the petition of the victims, the clerics did not deterioration their spiritual covering for the ceremony.

The partition featuring the photograph volition service arsenic a “place of memory” for the victims. The photograph itself was taken by 1 of the victims of abuse, and the suffering helium had endured was elaborate successful a transition work retired by different survivor.

At Saturday’s ceremony, Hugues de Woillemont, spokesperson for the Bishops’ Conference of France, said: “We privation to people this spot of Lourdes for a archetypal ocular grounds that commemorates truthful overmuch violence, play and attacks.”

Just a time earlier, aft a ballot astatine their yearly conference, France’s bishops yet formally accepted that the Catholic religion bore an “institutional responsibility” successful the galore thousands of kid maltreatment cases.

The abuse, stretching backmost to the 1950s and affecting astatine slightest 216,000 minors, was elaborate successful an independent study released a period ago, which spoke of the “veil of silence” formed implicit the scandal.

The league besides acknowledged that the religion had allowed the abuses to go “systemic”, said Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the France’s Conference of Bishops of France (CEF).

One unfortunate of abuse, Veronique Garnier, said she had been moved by the ceremony.

Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, Archbishop of Reims, successful  beforehand   an artwork showing a sculpture representing the caput  of a weeping child.
Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, Archbishop of Reims, successful beforehand an artwork showing a sculpture representing the caput of a weeping child. Photograph: Valentine Chapuis/AFP/Getty Images

Garnier, who has worked intimately with the CEF, said it was important that justness beryllium done for the victims.

But Father Jean-Marie Delbos, who arsenic a kid was a unfortunate of abuse, angrily dismissed the ceremony. “The repentance, it’s a sham,” the 75-year-old clergyman said of the ceremony. He called for the clergyman who had abused him to beryllium punished and defrocked.

About 20 laic members of the faith, purple ribbons tied astir their arms oregon necks, gathered underneath a banner calling for “The Four Rs” – recognition, responsibility, reparation and betterment – from the Church.

“We person our relation to play,” said 1 of them, Anne Reboux, 64, from the south-west metropolis of Toulouse. The much laic members took an progressive relation successful the church, the little the hierarchy would beryllium tempted to maltreatment their power, she argued.

In Paris, a fewer twelve people, immoderate of whom identified themselves arsenic victims of abuse, gathered extracurricular the CEF headquarters.

“We hope, by our beingness … to beryllium taken into relationship successful the elaboration of a program of enactment and a calendar that is going to person to beryllium enactment successful spot to travel up with compensation,” 1 of the organisers, Yolande Fayet de la Tour, told AFP-TV.

A determination connected compensation for the victims of the maltreatment is expected astatine the last time of the CEF conference, connected Monday.