The prelates have requested that Francis send someone to examine with them their response to victims and their abusers.
The bishops of France have decided to ask Pope Francis for help in their response to the problem of sexual abuse by clergy.
Meeting in Lourdes, the prelates decided to ask Pope Francis to send a trusted person to “examine with us how we have treated and are treating people who are victims and their abusers,” announced Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French Bishops’ Conference on November 8.
The request comes a little more than a month after a report by an independent commission on the problem of abuse among clerics in France.
“We have decided together to ask the Pope, since we are appointed by him, to come to our aid, by sending someone he trusts to examine with us the way we have treated and are treating the victims and their aggressors,” explained Archbishop Moulins-Beaufort.
He also assured that the bishops would send to the Pope, “after having reworked them a little, the recommendations of [the commission] that concern the universal Church.” Among the 45 recommendations at the end of the report, some concern canon law.
During the presentation of the report on October 5, Jean-Marc Sauvé insisted on a necessary reform of Church law, arguing that canon law had not contributed, “as it could have, as it should have,” to the appropriate treatment of sexual violence in the Church.
On December 9, he and all the members of the commission are to meet with Pope Francis at the Vatican. Bishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort is expected to take part.
Prior to the Plenary Assembly of Bishops in Lourdes, the Pope had assured them of his “closeness” and his “prayer” in a message later made public. “As you weather the storm of shame and tragedy over the abuse of minors in the Church, I encourage you to carry your burden with faith and hope, and I carry it with you,” he wrote.