Life Style

Philippe Delorme: “In Catholic education, no desire to stifle business”

The cross : How do you view the conclusions of the Sauvé report?

Philippe Delorme: With great sadness and compassion for the victims. Catholic teaching joins the words of Bishop de Moulins-Beaufort and all the bishops, with a feeling of shame and a request for forgiveness from all the victims and their families, whose trust the institution has betrayed.

→ READ. Sexual abuse in the Church, the terrible past of Catholic education

The document presented by the commission indicates that the prevalence of child crime in Catholic education was particularly high in the period from 1940 to 1960. Do such acts belong to the past?

PD: Unfortunately no, the fight against pedocriminality remains a daily struggle. Even if few cases, the most serious – four or five per year – go up to the general secretariat. Because Catholic education does not constitute a centralized system as national education can be. Perhaps we should be inspired by the recommendations of the Ciase to systematically collect statistics on the mistreatment to which some of our students may be victims.

In any case, from 2016, we have put in place measures, published booklets, developed the training of actors to better collect the voices of vulnerable students, especially those victims of child crime. And we are in the process of training referents to raise even more awareness among all our staff, teachers and non-teachers. The conclusions of the Sauvé commission must give us more strength, more determination to live our project in the truth of the Gospel.

What do you say to those who speak of a “law of silence” around child crime?

PD: There is, on the part of Catholic teaching, no desire to stifle business, to hide, to hide, to minimize things. Very often, however, it is the families concerned who ask for great discretion because, for example, their child wants to continue his education within the establishment. In addition, when legal proceedings are in progress, public expression is limited.

Today, if a staff member behaves inappropriately, our school leaders apply an extremely clear procedure to report, as required by law, to the rector’s authorities and the courts. Since the Debré law of 1959, which governs relations between the State and private establishments under contract, it is they who have the power to suspend or sanction our teachers.

How to encourage a free speech of the victims?

PD: The Sauvé report shows it clearly, many victims do not speak until decades later. What is needed is for the child who experiences sexual violence to have enough confidence in the school and in their family to say things. This happens in our establishments by strengthening affective, relational and sexual education. This can help the young person to understand that in the event of inappropriate actions, it is not him but the adult who is guilty. It takes a real education in the body.

→ VIDEO Sexual abuse in the Church: Catholics facing shock


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