Wednesday, November 9, 2022

Reactions of Some Leading French Catholics to New Abuse Revelations in French Church: "Je suis mal"

Graffiti on wall in Lisbon, Portugal, February 2011, showing a priest chasing children, uploaded by Milliped to Wikimedia Commons

I blogged yesterday about the discovery that French Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, formerly archbishop of Bordeaux and a member of the influential Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, admits that he sexually abused a 14-year-old girl when he was a parish priest. This revelation comes on the heels of other recent revelations showing that a total of eleven former or serving French bishops are now implicated in reports of abuse. All of this comes on the heels of a report published last year which found that sexual abuse of minors by priests and other church workers in France has been widespread.

Here are some reactions to all of this news by leading French Catholics:

Catholic theologian, ethicist, and medical doctor Céline Hoyeau reacts:

We did not think that so many bishops could be implicated.

Je suis mal. On ne sait plus très bien comment nommer les choses. On ne trouve plus les mots. … Mais qu’est-ce qu’il se passe ? Qu’est-ce qui nous arrive dans l’Église? Jean-Pierre Ricard a été deux fois président de la Conférence des évêques de France, cardinal, électeur du pape.

I'm feel sick. One doesn't even know well what words to use to name things now. One can't find words. …But what's happening? What's transpiring in the church? Jean-Pierre Ricard was twice president of the Catholic bishops' conference of France. He's a cardinal, and was a papal elector.

Keep in mind that, when the abuse situation in the church began to be known publicly in the final decades of the 20th century and early part of the 21st century, the strategy of leading church officials was to claim that this was an exclusively American problem, caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and how it affected US culture. Another strategy at the top of the Catholic church was to blame gay priests — and, in France, many church leaders and top Catholics only a few years back fought bitterly against the introduction of marriage for same-sex couples. 

And now we see what has been going on within the French Catholic church all during this time.


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