The hope and fear of the association of victims who worked on the petition

PEDOPHILIA – There is no longer a "law of silence" in the church against pedophilia involving priests, said Wednesday, Aug. 22, the spokesman for the Confederation of Bishops of France. Olivier Ribadeau-Dumas spoke about France Inter, the day after a petition against Cardinal Barbarin by a priest of his diocese. But for the association, La Parole Libérée, which supported the initiative, there are still remnants of a "methodology, a strategic mechanics of non-denunciation and suffocation" of acts of pedophilia in the church. the church, which must now be stopped by "action".

This Wednesday brings the "courage" of a priest, as the association qualifies, embarrassing the church of France. Father Vignon, of the diocese of Valencia, launched a petition on and asked Cardinal Barbarin to resign. "We were waiting for this long-standing speech," he said Huffington Post one of the founders of the association, François Devaux.

Father Preynat, suspected of pedophilia, the association La Parole Libérée knows him well. Many of his members would have been the victims, starting with his two founders. The facts go back to the end of the 1980s and lasted until the 1990s, against scouts from the diocese of Lyon. Cardinal Barbarin is being prosecuted for not having sued these facts in court.

"It comes from people who are in front of the church, for his protection"

The association supports the approach of Father Vignon. Above the presentation text of the priest on, she acknowledges, in association with the Association of Aid to Victims of the excesses of religious movements in Europe and their families (the AVREF), the "courage" of the pastor, which she recognizes invested heavily in the protection of minors and adheres to her request.

"This petition is very important, it is the first time that a public indictment comes from the inside", enthuses Alexandre Dussot-Hezez, the other founder of La Parole Libérée. "It comes from people who are in front of the church, for his protection, and this time it can not be accused of malice," François Devaux adds. "[Le père Vignon] looking for the cohesion of his church, he rejects, as a priest, facts in broad daylight. Today is the best place to be indignant ".

From Chile to France, via Australia and the United States. The greatest omerta according to him, resting on the Church of Africa. On France Inter, for the spokesperson for the French Bishops' Conference, the mechanics are stuck: "Today we can no longer say that it is the law of silence, the fact that Father Vignon can write this letter to denounce the evidence.

"The Pope & # 39; s Letter" People of God " [constitue] an important event, "said Bishop Ribadeau-Dumas, referring to the admonition of Pope Francis, launched on Monday, August 20, to" 1.4 billion Catholics around the world "to take action against pedophilia in the Church. that the whole community of believers, not just the clergy, mobilizes, "the Holy Father insisted in a letter from the Vatican after an investigation showing the sexual abuse of 300" predatory priests "on at least 1,000 children in Pennsylvania the day after the invitation of the Holy See, Father Vignon published his petition.

"It's fucking mouth"

A risky and innovative position that took time. Three years to find a priest who agrees to question a cardinal, "emphasizes François Devaux, before accusing the Pope himself." His invitation, these are big words, big sentences. There is no action behind it. They let us all believe that they are unaware. We sent dozens of letters to the Pope, sometimes even in person. Never had an answer. It's fucking mouth. The priest who will accept to cast doubt on the Pope's passivity, I can tell you that he has not yet been born ", outraged this founder of the liberated Word.

"The pope must eventually become the head of the church and these pedophile problems are the greatest challenge for the church for our century", confirms Alexandre Dussot-Hezez, another member of the association. "We need to stop protecting the guilty, to act from friendship The Church, as an institution, denotes a weapon of mass destruction perverts And it is the Pope who has the full power to stop it."

"Should France send back cardinals?

The Confederation of Bishops of France is more optimistic. For them things are moving forward within the church. "It has been two and a half years since the bishops of France took enough measures to cooperate with the judiciary, to prosecute the facts, the reports, the reception and the guidance of the victims," ​​explains Monsignor Ribadeau-Dumas, responding to the petition by Father Vignon against Barbarin at the microphone of France Inter. "Should France send cardinals, the question arises," he continues. "So far I understand that there can be anger, but there is a lawsuit that exists." This justice must be adopted before a decision can be made. "

Except for the moment, the hearing of the Archbishop of Lyon, which was initially to be tried from April 4 to 6 with six other people involved by the prosecutors, including the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Vatican, the Spaniard Luis Francisco Ladaria Ferrer, has been postponed. Not sending the call to Bishop Ladaria Ferrer to appear within the prescribed time …

"We are tired"

Although La Parole Libérée nonetheless welcomes the intervention of the spokesperson, she thinks that only the public opinion and the actions of the faithful and the clergy themselves, such as the petition of Father Vignon, can "blame the officers" in an effective way.

"You know, we are tired," says François Devaux. "We have been fighting against pedophilia in the church for years, putting all our environments at risk: our spiritual, family and professional environment." So when we see the press, the victims and the priests themselves, we say that it is a beginning of victory […] Change will come from below and from within, with the support of public opinion. "

Because for many victims the classic path of condemnation leads to failure: "You will see your minister, who will see the bishop, who will see the nuncio and we will return to you by saying" we will be "" Beware and nothing happens. "Blatant example: Father Preynat is still in office despite the complaints against him and the opening of an investigation.

And the government in all this?

For the association: "the separation of church and state does not justify that the state does nothing, the action must also go from the elect."

With this in mind, François Devaux explains that he regularly talks to a senator LR from the Rhône, François-Noël Buffet, invested heavily in the fight against sexual assault of minors. According to the founder of La Parole Libérée, the elected official would have instructed the President of the Senate to conduct a parliamentary inquiry into the acts of pedophilia of the diocese and to be the rapporteur. Proposal provisionally classified without follow-up, says the associative. For the time being The HuffPost received no response from the Rhone Senator.

For the association, the intransigence of the state and justice are inextricably linked to the work of bishops, clergy in general and the faithful. "If you see the scale of the scandal, it's time for the governments of all countries involved to take their responsibility."

And rightly so: for some time this horizontal coherence between the various actors seems to be bearing fruit. As management shows after recent accusations in France. In March 2018, a family issued a report to the Permanent Cell against Pedophilia of the Conference of Bishops of France, for various cases of contact with minors in a Foyer de Charité in Baye, in the Marne. A few days later, in April 2018, Bishop François Touvet, bishop of the Chalons-en-Champagne diocese, issued a statement announcing that he had "immediately warned the prosecutor". At the time of the investigation, the accused priest would have left the diocese, explains the bishop, to become incardinable, that is, legally attached to that of Versailles. In addition to the ban on exercising his magisterium with young people, he was placed in a remote spot known to the prosecutor.

And The Liberated Word wants to go even further in cooperation and asks for the opening of all archives of the church. "No more time for prayers and grace" long called by clerics, "now place for action". And on the reaction.

But at the microphone of BFM TV, the day after the public demanded the withdrawal of the primacy of Gaul, the auxiliary bishop of the diocese of Lyon Monsignor Emmanuel Gobilliard seems to say that everything has been done for now: "The cardinal opened his Now we can not accuse someone before justice is done, "he says.

But two years ago Philippe Barbarin acknowledged "management mistakes". And it is for those who now ask Pierre Vignon to drop his main bar. "Why stay indefinitely after you commit them?", He asks in his text on before inviting his fellow brothers "to sign this petition, as well as all members of the church who are aware of the importance of damage inflicted on victims of all kinds of abuse. "Believers included.

The password? No wave

After his open letter, Father Vignon claims to have received many hate messages from "ultra who call themselves Catholics". And on the side of his hierarchy it is "radio silence". "The unwritten rule is & # 39; no waves & # 39 ;, but ultimately, if you do nothing, if nothing is arranged, it becomes a tsunami," warns the father.

No offense to the Bishops' Conference, it seems that the law of silence in France at least persists more than we think. To the point that some victims of La Parole Libérée now go so far as to demand the resignation of the pope.

See also on The HuffPost:

Read also:

• The former bishop of Orléans will be tried for not reporting pedophilia

• Vatican: "shame" and "anger" after the investigation of pedophile priests in Pennsylvania

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