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After the bishops, the leaders of religious congregations announced Friday the birth of an independent Commission of recognition and reparation for victims of sexual abuse.
Ten days after the bishops, the leaders of the religious congregations took, Friday, November 19, in Lourdes measures for victims of pedocriminality, with the creation of an independent Commission for recognition and reparation.
“We voted for the creation of the Independent Commission for Recognition and Reparation” (Cirr), by a “unanimous” vote, Véronique Margron, president of the Conference of Religious of France (Corref), told AFP.
This is a separate structure from the Independent National Authority for Recognition and Reparation (Inirr) announced on November 8 by the bishops of France and chaired by the lawyer Marie Derain de Vaucresson.
>> To read: Sexual abuse in the Church: with the Sauvé report, “it is a question of looking the disaster in the face”
The primary mission of the Cirr will be to recognize the word of the victim, to “give him faith”. “It is an act of reparation,” Sister Margron explained after a general assembly of this organization which was held for four days in Lourdes.
“From there, according to the wish of the victim, the commission will mediate – either itself, or via other mediators – with the religious institute concerned”, from which the victim’s aggressor comes, for a possible financial compensation.
According to her, “the art of this commission will be to obtain a consensus” between the two parties.
The 300 or so officials of Corref, which represents around 30,000 monks, nuns, brothers and sisters of the Church, have also voted for the creation of a subsidiary endowment fund “for the moment supplied to the tune of 500,000 euros”.
It will be used when the religious institute no longer exists or when it is notoriously insolvent, Sister Margron said.
“Collegial and spiritual responsibility”
The functioning (offices, secretariat, etc.) of the Commission will be “assumed by the women’s congregations”. “This is our way of accounting for our responsibility,” Sister Margron stressed.
The endowment fund will be “mainly supplied by male institutes, which will pay a contribution per number of religious in France,” she said.
These decisions show that the “fruit is ripe”, welcomed the Dominican, re-elected Thursday for a new four-year term at the head of Corref. Very involved in listening to victims, Véronique Margron pleaded for several months to set up a restorative justice process in several stages, including recognition, before the dimension of financial reparation.
In April, six months before the bishops, the Corref had recognized “the collegial and spiritual responsibility of the whole of religious life” in sexual violence.
Published in early October, the report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church chaired by Jean-Marc Sauvé shook the whole institution by revealing the extent of child crime in the Catholic Church since 1950.
He estimated at 330,000 the number of people over the age of 18 who have been subjected to sexual violence since 1950, when they were minors, by clerics, religious or people in connection with the Church.
Jean-Marc Sauvé participated in the meeting of Corref on Wednesday, insisting, during a round table, on the need for a “process of personal recognition” with regard to the victims.