Victims welcomed the 2,500-page document as long overdue, and the head of the French Catholic bishops’ conference asked for their forgiveness.
The report said the tally of 330,000 victims includes an estimated 216,000 people abused by priests and other clerics, and the rest by church figures such as Scout leaders and camp counselors. The estimates were based on a broader research by France’s National Institute of Health and Medical Research into sexual abuse of children in the country.
The commission urged the church to take strong action, denouncing its “faults” and “silence.” It also called on the Catholic Church to help compensate the victims, particularly in cases that are too old to prosecute in French courts.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni said Tuesday that Pope Francis learned about the report’s findings “with sorrow.”
“His thoughts go in first place to the victims, with a profound sadness for their wounds and gratitude for their courage to speak out,” Bruni said.
Francis issued a groundbreaking church law in May 2019 that requires all Catholic priests and nuns to report clergy sex abuse and cover-ups involving their superiors to church authorities. He said in June that every bishop must take responsibility for the “catastrophe” of the sex abuse crisis.
This article originally appeared here.