France's prime minister Jean Castex has been received in Rome this Monday by Pope Francis amid shocking revelations of sexual abuse and a "secrecy of confession" controversy that have shaken the French Catholic Church to its core., reports RFI.
Castex's visit to the Vatican this Monday morning had been overshadowed by reactions following the publication of the conclusions of the Independent Commission on Sexual Abuse in the Church (CIASE), released at the beginning of October.
The CIASE report's figures are damning: 216,000 minors have been assaulted by a priests or religious in France since the 1950s.
That figure rises to 330,000 when abuses by lay personel with links to church institutions are included.
After his meeting with Pope Francis, Castex told reporters that the pontiff had said the French church had been "courageous" in dealing with the issue.
"He trusts the church in France to draw conclusions. He is pleased there has been no denial," the Prime Minister said, adding "he is fully aware of this. It's a long-term job."