Any person, regardless of the time of the occurrence of situations of abuse or domination, can contact the Independent Listening Unit: secretsacre78 @ gmail.com
In recent years, many cases of sexual abuse and power abuse have been revealed to the general public, and in some cases they have made it possible to speak out and denounce facts of extreme gravity that had been ignored for too long. In response to this disaster, we must accept reality and listen to the words of victims of abuse in the Church These abuses concern in particular churches and religious movements, everywhere in the world. In France, at the request of the Bishops of France and leaders of religious congregations, an Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (ICSAE) composed of 22 professionals with various skills conducted an investigation for two and a half years in order to shed light on the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church since 1950, to understand the reasons for the way in which these cases were handled and to make recommendations on the measures to be taken.
Their report, released on October 5, 2021, showed the unimaginable scale of abuse within the Church. This investigation reveals "a disaster" at several levels of deflagration, which for Veronique Margron, the president of Corref (Conference of Religious in France) makes us feel "a carnal shame, an absolute shame". The first level of impact: a number of victims much higher than expected with an estimate of 216,000 people victimized by priests, deacons and religious since 1950 and even 330,000 if we add the victims of lay people in mission in the Church. Second disaster: a higher prevalence in the Church than in other places.
Fondacio strongly condemns these abuses and reiterates the importance it places on listening to victims. Since the resignation of the founder in May 1991, Fondacio has been working to learn the lessons of the awareness and work undertaken (see La Croix newspaper, "Ces fondateurs qui ont trahi", 27 February 2020).
Prevention work and listening to victims
For the past three years, the Fondacio Council, together with the country leaders and external specialists, has committed resources to continue this reflection and to set up two specific mechanisms:
- An internal Fondacio Service for the prevention of abuse, with a first stage in 2018 relating to a survey of the arrangements for the protection of minors already underway within Fondacio at the international level and a second stage in 2019 and 2020 concerning the setting up of arrangements for listening to victims.
- In France, an independent listening unit was launched in December 2020. It is a listening space for victims and for dealing with the trauma they have experienced, thanks to the support of a psychologist, independent of Fondacio and trained in listening to victims.
The Independent Listening Unit has interviewed victims of sexual abuse and domination within Fondacio. The knowledge and the seriousness of these facts, committed before 1991, led to a report to the judicial authorities during the summer of 2021.
Together, in community, rising to the challenge
As Pope Francis has said, "Our expressions of contrition must be converted into concrete measures of reform, to prevent further abuse and to restore confidence that our efforts will lead to real change."
For Fondacio, this is a call to continue the changes already underway in our organization. In order to prevent any influence that could arise during the spiritual accompaniment offered to the members of the community, we are committed to deepening the professional training and supervision of our accompaniers. It is indeed to this conversion that we wish to continue to respond, in order to be Christians for the world and build a more human and just world.
We invite you to read this report in order to measure the extent and gravity of the facts, and to be in communion with the victims. By facing the overwhelming reality, it is possible to let oneself be reached by the abysmal suffering of the victims and to open up to a path of compassion.
All of ICASE's documents - full report, summary of the report, victims' stories - are available on its website ciase.fr. A summary in English is available, the full report will be translated by the end of the year. Microsoft Word - CIASE - Summary of the Final Report, 5 october 2021