“Thirty-five years ago, when I was a priest, I behaved in a reprehensible way with a young girl aged 14,” confesses Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard in a statement about his child abuse act with a female minor. Ricard is a high-ranking prelate of the French Catholic Church.
The revelation came after a report recently issued exposed a huge number of child sex abuse cases within the French Catholic Church.
“My behavior has inevitably caused serious and lasting consequences for this person,” the Catholic prelate said. The statement was made Monday at a news conference hosted by the president of the French bishops’ conference, Archbishop Éric de Moulins-Beaufort.
Ricard, 78, was the former archbishop of Bordeaux, in southwestern France. In 2019, he retired from that position and began serving in his home diocese of Dignes-les-Bains, in the south of the country. In the 1980s, he was a priest in the archdiocese of Marseille.
Ricard also revealed that he contacted his victim and sought her forgiveness, including all those whom he said he has “hurt.” No elaboration followed his declaration.
Child abuse cases by priests in other countries
According to a study published by CNN, at least 610 children have been sexually abused by Catholic priests between 1945 and 2020 in the diocese of the west German city of Münster. In the same report, it was declared that nearly 200 members of the clergy committed almost 6,000 instances of abuse. However, the authors of the report believe that the exact number of victims could be much higher – up to between 5,000 and 6,000.
In Spain, Spanish lawyers are examining 68 cases of alleged sexual abuse of minors committed by Catholic church staff. In Paris, the French Catholic Church has paid monetary compensation to 23 victims of child sexual abuse by pastors and presbyters, and other church high-ranking officials under a newly instigated reparation process.
Regrettably, clerics get away with child abuse in the Philippines. In this country, the culture of silence, whitewashes, smokescreens, and apathy by local clergy, officials, and townspeople are known to exist.
1,000 children victimized sexually by 301 predator priests of the Roman Catholic Church, horrific findings by U.S. Grand Jury