Senior members of France’s Catholic hierarchy knelt in a show of penance at the shrine of Lourdes on Saturday, a day after bishops accepted the Church’s responsibility for decades of child abuse. Source: SBS News.
But some of the survivors of the abuse – and lay members supporting them – said they were still waiting for details of compensation and of a comprehensive reform of the Church.
In Lourdes, some 120 archbishops, bishops and laymen gathered at the unveiling of a photo showing a sculpture representing the head of a weeping child.
At the request of the victims, the clerics did not wear their religious clothing for the ceremony.
The wall featuring the photo will serve as a “place of memory” for the victims. The photo itself was taken by one of the victims of abuse, and the suffering he had endured was detailed in a passage read out by another survivor.
Just a day earlier, following a vote at their annual conference, France’s bishops formally accepted that the Church bore an “institutional responsibility” in the many thousands of child abuse cases.
The abuse, stretching back to the 1950s and affecting at least 216,000 minors, was detailed in an independent report released a month ago.
The conference also acknowledged that the Church had allowed the abuses to become “systemic”, said Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the France’s Conference of Bishops of France