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France: The Sauvé Report or the Abuse of the Abuse (2)

The first article examined the numbers put forward by CIASE, to question them. They appeared implausible, in particular because the report assigned a number of victims per abuser which is absolutely not credible.

Advanced Explanations

When it comes to the explanations advanced, a somewhat discerning reader will have the grim feeling of being faced with some sort of remake or copy-and-paste job. When we follow what was happening in Germany with the birth of the Synodal Path, it is not difficult to spot some striking similarities.

The German episcopate commissioned academics from the universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg, and Gießen to conduct an independent study, hence the name the “MHG report,” consisting of 350 pages. It is specified that the aim of this study was to “determine the frequency of the sexual abuse,…as well as to describe the forms of sexual abuse and to identify structures and dynamics within the Church which might favor abuse.”

Unsurprisingly, we discover that these experts believe that the problem is primarily structural (or systemic), and that we must therefore change the operations of the Church held to be responsible:

The results of the study clearly show that “the sexual abuse of minors by Catholic clerics must not only be perceived as an individual problem that is related to isolated perpetrators…but it must also be understood as a specific institutional problem affecting the Catholic Church.”

The report goes on to attack the morality of the Church, then the power of Orders: “A change in clerical power structures requires a fundamental examination of the ordained ministry of the priest and of his understanding of his role.”

“The sanctioning of individual accused persons, public remorse, financial benefits paid to persons affected and the establishment of prevention concepts…are necessary but by no means adequate measures.”

“Such fundamental positive approaches are even apt to preserve clerical power structures, since they are only aimed at the symptoms of an undesirable development, and thus prevent a debate taking place on the fundamental problem posed by clerical power.”

A Largely Compliant Copy

Those who have read the CIASE report will recognize the same concerns. The Commission first seeks to reassure: “Rest assured: the Commission was not won over by a kind of excess which would have led it to overstep its mandate, or even to rise above its precepts. To the contrary, it seemed to them that this was the only way to really accomplish it, even though it had not been envisaged in this form at the beginning of its work.”

Nevertheless, in the preceding paragraph the Commission wrote: “More fundamentally, we have studied the deviations, distortions, and perversions to which the doctrine and teachings of the Catholic Church have given rise, which may have contributed to the occurrence of sexual violence: the ‘clericalism’ criticized by Pope Francis in his Letter to the People of God of August 2018, which includes the excessive sacralization of the priest’s person; the overvaluation of the priest’s celibacy and charism.”

Further on, there is also one of the major projects of the Synodal Path, the separation of powers: “Without touching any dogma whatsoever, there is food for thought, according to categories which apply to any organization, including the Catholic Church, to the articulation between verticality and horizontality and to the separation of powers.”

“Similarly, there would be only advantages to developing the evaluation and internal control process, with tools as simple as risk mapping or annual consultations, to advance the governance of the Church without undermining any of its foundations.”

“In this regard, greatly strengthening the presence of lay people in general, and of women in particular, in the decision-making spheres of the Catholic Church, appears not only useful but necessary, with regard to the principle of equal dignity, what its leaders heard in plenary through CIASE have all admitted, certainly with different degrees of enthusiasm.”

In other words: the divine constitution of the Church must be changed to ensure normal functioning in the world today.

The position of CIASE members contains the following errors:

1. These judgments are formally outside their competence.

2. They are acting from a purely natural point of view …

3. Which ignores the divine nature of the Church and her purpose.

On October 5, 2021, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE), chaired by Jean-Marc Sauvé, published the report that the Conference of Bishops of France (CEF) and the Conference of Men and Women Religious of France (COREFF) had commissioned it to produce.


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