Figures, recommendations, repairs… The Sauvé report in 5 key points

► Alarming figures for the Church

Through a large study conducted by Inserm, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (Ciase) deduced that approximately 330,000 miners had been victims in ecclesial contexts since 1950. For 216,000 of these minors, the abuse was committed by a consecrated person (priest, religious, deacon or religious).

→ LIVE. Sexual Abuse in the Church: Reactions After Delivering the Sauvé Report

In total, priests and religious aggressors are estimated between 2,900 and 3,200, a comparatively low figure, but this is a range. “Floor”, underlines the Ciase. While nuns may have committed sexual abuse, the perpetrators are largely men.

→ READ. Sexual Abuse in the Church: What to Remember from the Sauvé Report

► More frequent violence in ecclesial settings

If family and friendly environments are the first contexts of pedophilia, the prevalence of pedophilia is “Significantly more” strong within the Church than in other areas of socialization. Thus 1.16% of metropolitan adults would have been victims – in their childhood – of sexual violence in an ecclesial context, while they are “only” 0.36% to have been in summer camps and summer camps and 0.34 % within the framework of public school. These data thus come to breach an often heard line of defense.

► The slow evolution of the Church

“The Catholic Church has very long heard first of all to protect itself as an institution and she has shown complete and even cruel indifference to those who have been assaulted. “ The words of Jean-Marc Sauvé are particularly scathing.

In the report, three periods are distinguished. From 1950 to 1970, the Church wanted “Protect yourself from scandal”, conceals the victims and tries to ” to save “ the aggressor. Then, the attitude evolves with a “Taking into account the existence of victims” which is not however ” acknowledgement “. At last, since 2010, the Church accepts to denounce to justice and renounces treatment “Purely internal”. Despite this development, tackle the Sauvé commission, “The responses of the Church were generally insufficient, often late, and taken in reaction to events or poorly applied”.

Furthermore, it is noted that although sexual violence has decreased since 1970, it has stagnated since 1990. For the Sauvé commission, therefore, it is not a question of facts belonging only to the past.

► A demand for real recognition of the institution’s responsibility

“The attitude of non-recognition or denial of reality, characteristic of the Church during the period studied, [a été un] escape from genuine information processing ”, accuse the authors of the report. Faced with this, we need a “Process of truth and reparation on the part of the Church” with a “Recognition of responsibility”. The committee therefore requests a “Unfair lowering” by one “Humble recognition at human height (…) of faults to be repaired”.

For the Sauvé commission, this notably involves financial compensation, “Which cannot be purely fixed”– contrary to the current plans of the French episcopate. Likewise, it is requested that this be financed “Without appeal to the gifts of the faithful, because this would not be consistent with the process of recognizing a responsibility of the Church as an institution”.

► A list of recommendations

In its report, the Sauvé commission makes no less than 45 recommendations. These range from checking people’s criminal records, to mapping risks, to identifying “Misguided forms” charisma, including advice on catechesis and the strengthening of existing protection mechanisms.

Without questioning it, the Sauvé commission questions priestly celibacy, calling to work so that he does not give the priest a “Heroic position or domination”. It is also asked to reflect on the “concentration” in the hands of the bishop of the different powers as well as a “Vast upgrading of canon law” criminal.

The secret of confession will certainly be a point of friction with the Church, the commission calling for the enactment “Specific directives” so that the confessor cannot “Allow derogations” the criminal obligation to denounce acts of pedophilia. An obligation for the commission to comply “To the natural divine right obligation to protect the life and dignity of the person”.


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