COMPENSATION FOR CHILD VICTIMS

French Catholic Church to propose 'financial contribution' to child sex victims

The Roman Catholic Church has admitted to abuses by predator priests from Australia, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland and the United States.
The Roman Catholic Church has admitted to abuses by predator priests from Australia, Chile, France, Germany, Ireland and the United States. AFP/File

The French Catholic Church will offer a "financial contribution" to the thousands of victims of child sex abuse by priests since the 1950s, bishops have agreed. 

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The Church wants to "recognise its responsibility to society by asking forgiveness for these crimes and shortcomings," the bishops announced after a gathering in the southern city of Lourdes.

The Bishops' Conference of France agreed in November 2018 to set up an investigative commission after huge and repeated child abuse scandals shook the Catholic Church at home and abroad.

Jean-Marc Sauve, a senior French civil servant who heads the commission, said earlier this month that there might have been at least 10,000 paedophilia victims since 1950, based on calls to a hotline set up for those who suffered and other witnesses.

Responsibility, 'past, present and future'

Bishops have determined the need to take responsibility "with regards to the past, the present and the future," Monseignor Olivier Leborgne, a vice-president of the Bishops' Conference, said at a video press conference on Friday.

He suggested the compensation would be in the form of a lump sum financed by a dedicated endowment, with an independent advisory panel set up to study requests and decide on the amounts based on the extent of the funds.

But the Church said the payments "are neither a compensation nor a reparation," Monsignor Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, the conference's president, told the video conference.

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