Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Report Reveals France’s Double Standards


The Catholic Church in France is under fire for sexual abuse committed by its clergy and lay people. / Getty

The Catholic Church in France is under fire for sexual abuse committed by its clergy and lay people. / Getty

Editor’s Note: Andrew Korybko is an American political analyst based in Moscow. The article reflects the views of the author and not necessarily those of CGTN.

A recent report from France on sex crimes committed by priests and lay members of its Catholic Church shocked the world. Spanning 2,500 pages and dating back to 1950, the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse found that at least 330,000 children had been sexually abused over the decades. Not only did the Catholic Church try to cover up these blatant crimes, but the French government did nothing about them during this time either. This contrasts sharply with Paris’ hysteria towards Muslims.

France has instead sought to focus on what it wrongly presents as the so-called civilizational threat, allegedly posed to the country’s traditional values ​​by followers of Islam. To this end, lawmakers recently passed a bill titled “Upholding Respect for the Principles of the Republic” which seeks to ensure that what they see as “radical Islamism” is eliminated from society. Knowing what has since been revealed in the aforementioned commission report, oversight should have been stepped up on the Catholic Church long ago.

These religious double standards resulted in the disgusting sexual abuse of children that continued unabated for decades. The Catholic Church wields enormous influence in France, and no government has felt that it could confront its crimes aggressively without risking losing public support, given that the majority of voters are Catholics. These self-serving political considerations have perhaps also taken on an even darker dimension in recent years when one recalls the interest of some politicians in stoking Muslims’ fear of Muslims.

An unofficial hierarchy of victimization was established in French society, according to which the victims of Muslims were considered more important than the nearly one-third of a million child victims of the Catholic Church. The implicit narrative was that there might be something inherent in Islam that inspires some of its believers to commit crimes against others as well as to challenge supposed principles of France. Shedding much needed light on the crimes of the church risked redirecting this insinuation to Catholicism.

A general view of the entrance to the Great Mosque of Paris after Friday prayers in Paris, France, December 11, 2020. / Getty

A general view of the entrance to the Great Mosque of Paris after Friday prayers in Paris, France, December 11, 2020. / Getty

In reality, there is nothing in either religion that influences their believers to commit crimes or challenge the principles of France. The comparatively lower proportion of Muslims in society makes them and their religion convenient scapegoats for politicians and fanatics. The former set out to exaggerate the extent of the crimes committed by these believers and invent religious explanations for them in order to gain votes, while the latter exploited all this to spread their hatred throughout society.

The end result has been to advance the theory of a “clash of civilizations” in France, which postulates that the migration of Muslims over decades poses a latent threat to national security that risks provoking civil conflict in the future. to come if it is not reduced as soon as possible and its adherents are not subject to state control. This fear campaign was allowed to escalate because the factual evidence of the Catholic Church’s sex crimes against children had so far been suppressed for the reasons explained previously.

France’s double religious standards contradict the very principles that its authorities claim to espouse. The human rights of these Catholic children who have been violently abused for so long have been ignored. In fact, all victims should be treated equally without being placed in an informal hierarchy and any discussion of the religion of the perpetrators should be left out of the conversation.

It is too late for France to make up for lost time by failing to investigate the Catholic Church’s sex crimes against children. Hundreds of thousands of lives have already been ruined. Authorities should now focus on investigating the perpetrators to bring them to justice. They should also reconsider the wisdom of their counterproductive efforts to bring about a “clash of civilizations” for political ends. If French society is to survive these interconnected crises, it urgently needs to reform.

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