World News: France and the Catholic Church - Forgiveness Will Not Be Enough

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The publication of the Sauvé report imposes on the Catholic Church in France more than the recognition of sexual abuse committed over decades. A complete reform of the institution, its role and its objectives are now imperative.

It may be said that the publication of the Sauvé report revealing the sexual abuse committed by Catholic religious or religious priests in France between 1950 and 2020 caused a real explosion both within the Catholic Church and within civil society. ( : )

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Explosion first of all because of the magnitude of the number of abuses and the legal and judicial consequences that will result. But deflagration also perhaps, and above all, without naturally minimizing or relegating tothe cond rank the seriousness of the abuses and violence committed, because of the changes to which the Catholic institution will, although it shows for the moment of reluctance in this matter, to initiate.

This change will pass, as some will have understood, through a total overhaul of the governing bodies of the Church of France, without sparing the Vatican, which, silent for decades, has in fact endorsed these actions, but also by an aggiornamento of the objectives, the role of the Church and these servants.

Third order and Drastic Selection

The project that opens before the institution, too long constrained in the idea that its history still gave it the tacit role of the third order (editor's note: allusion made to the three orders that prevailed before the French Revolution, the Clergy, the Nobility and the Third Estate), is gigantic because it is able to shake up only the Catholic hierarchy but even more the relationship that it maintained with the faithful.

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The paedocriminality that has thus prevailed within the Catholic Church of France has thus prevailed on an institution that could be thought to be without task, but which will now have to deal with the shame and guilt that it did not hesitate to impose on its faithful.

Too disconnected from contemporary society, despite a secularization of facade, the Catholic Church now has the duty to comply with a selection of the most drastic of its servants. Opening marriage to priests may seem like a first step, but it responds more to a change in dogma than to a real social necessity.

Certainly, more than any other institution brought to rub shoulders with the public, a fortiori young, fragile and influenceable, hence the silence that has reigned on the issue for years, the Church must engage in a real recruitment policy and become Director of Human Resources in order to choose the right candidates, lay or religious.

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Often quick to take refuge behind the secret of confession, arguing its sacred and divine aspect, imposing in fact the primacy of canon law over civil law, of the justice of God over the justice of men, the Church has voluntarily denied the cultural, social, and political evolutions of society as it was supposed spiritual. and nothing else, serve. ( : )

Conviction and Sins

By flouting the integrity of young children, girls, or boys, it simultaneously smears and traumatizes the individual brought by personal choice to faith by conviction who ultimately finds only shame and guilt. The subliminal message of the Church where listening and forgiveness are heard has thus been diverted, not to say misguided, not for the benefit of the believer but for the benefit of the institution that has for too long relied on the silence of its victims, too frightened to denounce abuses, to let its priests and laity act with impunity.

Finally, it is not inappropriate to question the weight of the societal changes of recent years, conveyed and sometimes amplified by social networks, such as the MeToo movement, which aimed to break the leads creed that protected certain practices now denounced and punished.

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Therefore, a constant is necessary: The Church of France has sinned by overconfidence in its position as the alleged moral authority able to hide the abuses committed and denounced, by lack of responsiveness of its leaders too busy defending the image of the institution while being aware and informed of the abuses perpetrated and by inability, or lack of will, to reform an institution that is outdated and far from being in tune with the society in which it wants to be part.


Bio: Olivier Longhi an opinion columnist for, has extensive experience in European history. A seasoned journalist with fifteen years of experience, he is currently professor of history and geography in the Toulouse region of France. He has held a variety of publishing positions, including Head of Agency and Chief of Publishing. A journalist, recognized blogger, editor, and editorial project manager, he has trained and managed editorial teams, worked as a journalist for various local radio stations, a press and publishing consultant, and a communications consultant.

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