Pope Francis said on Wednesday that a damning report concerning sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in France represented a moment of shame.
The pope said this at a general audience at the Vatican on Wednesday.
A commission of enquiry had reported on Tuesday that an estimated 216,000 children and young people had been victims of sexual violence in the Catholic Church in France since the 1950s.
Together with the institutions run by the Church, there may have been 330,000 victims.
“This is a considerable number,” the pope said.
He expressed “sorrow and my pain to the victims for the trauma they have suffered…also my shame, the shame of all of us.’’
The pope urged bishops and church leaders in France to do everything possible to ensure that such incidents did not happen again and “so that the Church once again becomes a safe home for all.’’
The French Bishops’ Conference on Wednesday reaffirmed that there should be financial compensation for the victims.
“You can’t repair the irreparable,” Archbishop Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, president of the French Bishops’ Conference, told broadcaster France Info.
He implored the Church to recognise the victims and acknowledge its own wrongdoing.
The bishop did not say anything specific about a possible amount of compensation. (dpa/NAN)