A week after the delivery of the shock report on sexual abuse in the Church, the Minister of the Interior Gérald Darmanin reminded the president of the conference of bishops of France that no law was superior to those of the Republic. He said the secrecy of confession in the Catholic Church cannot be used as a justification for not exposing sex crimes committed against children.
Gérald Darmanin affirmed, Tuesday, October 12, that the priests having knowledge of “crimes” against “children of less than 15 years”, had to “bring” these facts of pedocriminality “to justice” and not to oppose the secrecy of the confession.
The Minister of the Interior was speaking to the National Assembly just after having received, as Minister of Cults, the president of the conference of bishops of France, Mr.gr Éric de Moulins-Beaufort, who had judged that the secrecy of the confession was “stronger than the laws of the Republic” and could not therefore be broken, causing a lively controversy.
Gérald Darmanin therefore reminded the President of the Conference of Bishops of France that no law was superior to those of the Republic and that the secrecy of confession in the Catholic Church could not serve as a justification for not denouncing crimes. sexual acts committed against children.
The secrecy of confession is admittedly recognized in French law as a professional secrecy, but it “suffers from exceptions when it concerns in particular crimes committed for children under 15 years”, affirmed the minister.
A week after the submission of the report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (Ciase), the minister however hailed “the courage of the Church of France to commission this report (…) and to give to Mr. (Jean-Marc) Sauvé mandate to make all the truth about this story, this dark story “.
François Devaux, president of the association “La Parole Libérée”, was the guest of France 24.
“A clumsy formulation”, according to Mgr Eric de Moulins-Beaufort
In a press release published at the end of their interview, Eric de Moulins-Beaufort for his part recognized a “clumsy formulation” in his response to journalists’ questions last Wednesday on FranceInfo, when he said that the secret of the confession was “stronger than the laws of the Republic”.
The clergyman assured in this press release that Christians must “tirelessly seek the good, which cannot be done without respecting the laws of his country”.
“The extent of violence and sexual assault on minors revealed by the report (…) requires the Church to re-read its practices in the light of this reality. Work is therefore necessary to reconcile the nature of confession and need to protect children “, added the Archbishop of Reims, reaffirming” the determination of all bishops and, with them, of all Catholics, to make the protection of children an absolute priority, in close collaboration with the authorities French “.
Mgr Eric de Moulins-Beaufort also asked “forgiveness from the victims” for the “debate aroused by (his) words”.
With AFP and Reuters