Abuse of people
Anyone, regardless of when situations of abuse or control arise, can contact the Independent Listening Unit: secretsacre78 @ gmail.com
Faced with disaster, welcoming reality and listening to the words of victims of abuse in the Church
In society in recent years, many cases of sexual abuse and power have been revealed to the general public and in some cases have made it possible to free speech and to denounce extremely serious facts that have been ignored for too long. These abuses concern in particular churches and religious movements, all over the world. In France, at the request of the bishops of France and leaders of religious congregations, an Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) made up of twenty-two professionals with varied skills carried out an investigation for two and a half years in order to to shed light on the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church since 22, to understand the reasons which favored the way in which these cases were handled and to make recommendations on the measures to be taken.
Their report, made public on October 5, 2021, showed the unimaginable scale of abuse within the Church. This investigation reveals “a disaster” on several levels of explosion, which for Véronique Margron, the president of Corref (Conference of religious men and women in France) makes us feel “carnal shame, absolute shame”. The first level of impact: a much larger number of victims than expected with an estimate of 216,000 people victims of priests, deacons and religious since 330,000 and even 1950 if we add the victims of lay people on mission in the Church. Second disaster: a stronger prevalence in the Church than in other places.
Fondacio strongly condemns these abuses and reiterates the importance it attaches to listening to victims. Since the founder’s resignation in May 1991, Fondacio has worked to draw lessons from awareness and hard work (see Journal La Croix, “These founders who betrayed”, February 27, 2020).
Prevention work and listening to victims
For three years, the Board of Fondacio, with country managers as well as with specialized outsiders, has committed resources to continue such reflection and put in place two specific mechanisms:
- An internal service at Fondacio for the prevention of abuse, with a first stage in 2018 relating to an investigation into the systems for the protection of minors already underway within Fondacio at the international level and a second stage in 2019 and 2020 concerning the establishment of systems for listening to victims.
- In France, an Independent Listening Unit was launched in December 2020. It is a listening space for victims and support for the trauma experienced, thanks to the support of a psychologist, independent of Fondacio and trained in listening to victims.
The Independent Listening Unit interviewed victims of sexual abuse and control within Fondacio. The knowledge and seriousness of these facts, committed before 1991, led to a report to the judicial authorities during the summer of 2021.
Together, as a community, rising to the challenge
As Pope Francis has said, “Our expressions of contrition must be converted into concrete steps of reform, to prevent further abuses and build confidence that our efforts will lead to real change. »
For Fondacio, this is a call to continue the changes already made in our organization. To prevent any influence that could arise during the spiritual accompaniments offered to members of the community, we are committed to deepening the professional training of the accompaniers as well as their supervision. It is to this conversion that we wish to continue to respond, in order to be Christians for the world and to build a more
humane and fairer.
We invite you to read this report to measure the extent and gravity of the facts, in order to be in communion with the victims. By facing the overwhelming reality, it is possible to let the abyssal suffering of the victims reach out and open up a path of compassion.
All CIASE documents – full report, summary of the report, victims’ testimonies – are available on its website ciase.fr. A summary in English is available, the full report will be translated by the end of the year. Microsoft Word – CIASE – Final Report Summary, October 5, 2021