The Roman Catholic Church agrees to sell part of its real estate to compensate thousands of people sexually abused by priests

The Roman Catholic Church in France agreed to sell some of the Church’s considerable real estate to compensate hundreds of thousands of people who had been sexually abused by clergy.

The Catholic Church has come under pressure to compensate victims after a landmark investigation by an independent commission confirmed widespread sexual abuse of minors by priests dating from the 1950s to 2020s.

Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the Episcopal Conference of France (CEF), said a new independent commission will be set up to assess compensation claims.

“We are going to provide the means to accomplish this mission… of individual compensation for the victims,” ​​he added.

While the Church had already promised to create a fund to start compensating the victim, this was the first time that it officially announced its intention to sell real estate belonging to the Episcopal Conference of France and to dioceses.

A report on sexual abuse within the French Catholic Church concluded that around 216,000 children have been abused by members of the clergy since 1950

Not only has the Church failed to take the necessary steps to prevent abuse, but it has also turned a blind eye, failing to report abuse and sometimes knowingly bringing children into contact with predators, Jean-March Sauvé said, head of the commission that drafted the report.

The commission found that there were between 2,900 and 3,200 pedophile priests or other members of the church, Jean-Marc Sauve said, adding that this was “a minimum estimate”.

The 2,500-page document prepared by an independent commission comes as the Catholic Church in France, as in other countries, seeks to confront shameful secrets long hidden.

The independent commission was set up in 2018 by the Episcopal Conference of France (CEF) and the National Conference of Congregations (CORREF) in response to several scandals that rocked the Church in France and around the world. The commission worked for 2½ years, hearing from victims and witnesses and studying church, court, police and press records from the 1950s.

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