Thousands of paedophiles have operated inside the French Catholic Church since 1950, the head of an independent commission investigating the scandal said just days ahead of the release of its report.
The commission’s research had uncovered between 2,900 and 3,200 paedophile priests or other members of the church, Jean-Marc Sauve told the AFP news agency on Sunday, adding that it was “a minimum estimate”.
The commission’s report is due to be released on Tuesday after two and a half years of research based on church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with witnesses.
The report, which Sauve said is 2,500 pages long, will attempt to quantify the number of offenders and the number of victims.
It will also look into “the mechanisms, notably institutional and cultural ones” within the Church which allowed paedophiles to remain and will offer 45 proposals.
The independent commission was set up in 2018 by the French Catholic Church in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and across the world.
Prior to its formation, Pope Francis passed a landmark measure obliging those who know about sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors.
Made up of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians, the commission’s brief was to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics dating back to the 1950s.