Ciase report on sexual abuse in the Church evokes the need “To question in depth the link specific to this Church between abuse of authority, spiritual and conscience abuses and sexual abuse and draw all the consequences. “ Faced with this request, we would like to stress how central the question of dialogue is. Because one may wonder how the Church is used to dealing with oppositions within it.
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Since 1983, the Code of Canon Law (canons 1733 and 1446) invites to avoid the dispute or to settle it by an adequate means. Many interpret this invitation by allowing situations of abuse to persist for fear of denouncing them and creating a conflict. Conversely, Pope Francis writes in his book-interview with Marco Pozza Vices and virtues : “When conflicts are not resolved, but are hidden or buried in the past, there are silences that can mean being complicit in serious mistakes and sins. “Conversely, true reconciliation does not run away from conflict, but rather is achieved in conflict, overcoming it through dialogue and transparent, sincere and patient negotiation. “
It is clear that this dimension is largely lacking in France, despite a timid attempt at the end of the last century. In fact, on November 6, 1996, the Conference of Bishops of France invited its members to create diocesan mediation councils (approved by the Roman Curia on August 24, 1998). Several bishops have set up such councils, but their results have not been convincing for four reasons:
· Due to lack of will: some councils never meet, such as the one in Paris;
· Due to lack of training: their members are generally not trained in mediation;
· Due to lack of independence: members are generally dependent on the bishop;
· For lack of subsidiarity: sometimes the agreements obtained are called into question by the bishop.
Christian life is not immune to conflicts
However, the Christian life is not immune to conflicts. To help the Catholic Church overcome them, and prevent them from escalating, a dozen Catholic lay mediators have considered the creation of the ReMedE network (the network of mediators for the Churches), and beyond for beliefs and religions. For the moment, they have not yet been welcomed into the Church so that they resolve to work in civil society, including on a voluntary basis, for example as conciliators of justice.
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Let us hope that following the Ciase report, there will be at least one bishop who accepts to welcome this network and to reflect with him on the means of strengthening ecclesial communion, under the inspiration of the Holy Spirit, in seeking reconciliation precisely at the heart of conflicts.