Catholic church sexual abuse report exposes France's religious double standards
Andrew Korybko
The Catholic church in France is under fire for the sexual abuse by its clergy and laity. /Getty

The Catholic church in France is under fire for the sexual abuse by its clergy and laity. /Getty

Editor's note: Andrew Korybko is a Moscow-based American political analyst. The article reflects the author's opinions and not necessarily those of CGTN.

A recent report from France about sexual crimes carried out by priests and lay members of its Catholic Church has shocked the world. Stretching 2,500 pages and going back to 1950, the independent Commission on Sexual Abuse found that at least 330,000 children were sexually abused across the decades. Not only did the Catholic Church attempt to cover up these egregious crimes, but the French government also didn't do anything about them either this entire time. This stands in stark contrast to Paris' hysteria towards Muslims.

France has instead sought to focus on what it misportrays as the so-called civilizational threat, allegedly posed to the country's traditional values by the followers of Islam. To this end, lawmakers recently passed a bill titled "Supporting Respect for the Principles of the Republic" that's intended to ensure that what they consider to be "radical Islamism" is snuffed out from society. Knowing what's since been revealed from the earlier mentioned commission's report, oversight should have actually been strengthened over the Catholic Church long ago.

These religious double standards resulted in the disgusting sexual abuse of children continuing unabated for decades. The Catholic Church wields enormous influence in France, and no government felt that it could aggressively confront its crimes without risking the loss of public support, considering that the majority of voters are Catholic. These self-interested political considerations might have also had an even darker dimension in recent years when remembering how some politicians have a stake in stoking people's fear of Muslims.

An unofficial hierarchy of victimhood was established in the French society, whereby those victimized by Muslims were regarded as more important than the nearly one-third of a million children who were victimized by the Catholic Church. The implied narrative was that there might be something inherent in Islam that inspires some of its believers to commit crimes against others as well as defy France's supposed principles. Shining much-needed light on the church's crimes risked redirecting that innuendo towards Catholicism.

A general view of the entrance to the Grand Mosque of Paris after Friday prayers in Paris, France, December 11, 2020. /Getty

A general view of the entrance to the Grand Mosque of Paris after Friday prayers in Paris, France, December 11, 2020. /Getty

In reality, there is nothing in either religion that influences their believers to commit crimes or defy France's principles. The comparatively lower proportion of Muslims in society makes them and their religion convenient scapegoats for politicians and bigots. The former focused on exaggerating the extent of crimes committed by those believers as well as inventing religious explanations for them in order to win votes, while the latter exploited all of this to spread their hatred throughout society.

The end result was to advance the theory of a "clash of civilizations" within France, which posits that the migration of Muslims over the decades poses a latent national security threat that risks provoking civil conflict in the coming future if it isn't curtailed as soon as possible and its adherents aren't brought under state control. This fearmongering was allowed to fester because factual evidence of the Catholic Church's sexual crimes against children had hitherto been suppressed for the earlier explained reasons.

France's religious double standards contradict the very principles that its authorities claim to espouse. The human rights of those Catholic children who were viciously abused for so long were ignored. As a matter of fact, all victims should be treated equally without being placed into an unofficial hierarchy and any discussion of the perpetrators' religion omitted from the conversation.

It's too late for France to make up for the lost time in failing to investigate the Catholic Church's sexual crimes against children. Hundreds of thousands of people's lives have already been ruined. The authorities should now focus on investigating the perpetrators to bring them to justice. They should also reconsider the wisdom of their counterproductive efforts to provoke a "clash of civilizations" for political purposes. If French society is to survive these interconnected crises, it must urgently reform.

(If you want to contribute and have specific expertise, please contact us at

Search Trends