Moulins-Beaufort made the comments after the publication of a watershed report on abuse in the French Catholic Church.
The final report of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE) said that an estimated 216,000 children were abused by priests, deacons, monks, or nuns from 1950 to 2020.
The independent commission, established by the French bishops in November 2018, spent 30 months investigating abuse within the Catholic Church led by Jean-Marc Sauvé, a senior civil servant.
Among the report’s 45 recommendations was a request for the Church to reconsider the seal of confession concerning abuse.
The Vatican has strongly defended the confessional seal in response to mandatory reporting laws introduced around the world.
In June 2019, the Apostolic Penitentiary issued a note reaffirming the inviolability of the sacramental seal.
Dalle said: “We know that if these rules were to be adopted, no abuser would ever go to confession if they knew that they would be reported if they confessed to abusing a minor under the age of 15. That’s also problematic.”
“The same is true for children, for whom confession is a space to speak. Confession allows the child’s word to be released. And when the confession is over, the priest waits for a moment and then goes to the child and asks him if he can say again what he said, but this time outside the confession.”
“This is what the anticlericals don’t want to understand,” Dalle said, “because they don’t know all this context.”
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