'Bishops in France have announced that an “independent” commission will be established to investigate the decades-long sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church in the European country.
Following a four-day meeting in the southwestern French city of Lourdes, the Bishops' Conference of France (CEF) said in a statement on Wednesday that the aim of the commission would be to “shed light on the sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic church since 1950.”
The statement, by 118 bishops, added that the panel would seek “to understand the reasons which led to the way these affairs were handled” and would make recommendations.
The commission would also be “collecting the stories of victims in order to better understand the reasons that led to these acts,” and would offer financial compensation to the victims, according to the statement.
The CEF said that the members and leadership of the commission would be named in the coming days, with a report to be published “within 18 months to 2 years.”
Bishop Ribadeau Dumas, the spokesperson of the CEF, speculated that the commission could be composed of historians, magistrates, child specialists, sociologists of the institution, and a “canonist.”
The most senior French Catholic cleric involved in an abuse scandal is Cardinal Philippe Barbarin, who is to be tried in January for allegedly covering up a sex abuse scandal involving a priest in the 1980s.
The Vatican has been rocked by a series of pedophile scandals committed by the clergy in Europe, Australia, and North and South America.'
Read more: Bishops to investigate clerical child sex abuse in France
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