A group of French Catholics has urged the parliament to establish a special commission tasked with investigating reports of pedophilia within the Roman Catholic Church, which they say continues to ignore and cover the abuse.
"We call for the creation of a parliamentary investigative commission to probe the crimes of pedophilia and their concealment within the Catholic Church," says the petition published by the French Catholic weekly Temoignage Chretien, adding that the church in France is a subject to the law and cannot escape justice.
The instances of child sex abuse within the Catholic Church are not some isolated cases but a "systemic problem"acknowledged by the Pope himself, the petition says, adding that this problem cannot just be left for the Church to sort it out all by itself as "an interested party cannot be the judge."
"Today in our country the Catholic Church thinks it is enough to repeat the words of the Pope without taking any significant initiative to look into these crimes … and especially their institutional and structural causes," the petition says, adding that the Church still prefers to either "ignore" or even "conceal" such instances of abuse.
The petitioners then cited the examples of Australia, Ireland and the US state of Pennsylvania, where "bodies, which are independent from the ecclesial institutions," have been created. At the same time, the petitioners said that their aim is not to "stir up a scandal but to end" the already existing "immense one" linked to the "deafening silence of the Catholic hierarchy in the face of suffering, which has, for the most part, been ignored or even concealed for too long."
The petition, which was published on Sunday, has already been supported by some French public figures and politicians, including the former health minister Roselyne Bachelot and MP Jacques Maire, who represents President Emmanuel Macron's 'The Republic on the move!' party. Two Socialist senators, Laurence Rossignol and Marie-Pierre de la Gontrie, also backed the appeal.