The report of the independent commission (CIASE) headed by Jean-Marc Sauvé, which revealed the extent of sexual abuse of minors in the Church in France, also recommended a few rules to follow for the compensation of victims.

Its recommendation 33 rules out any financing of the compensation fund by recourse “to donations from the believers and by socializing the financing.” In the CIASE’s view, the fund has to be exclusively financed by the Church itself and by guilty parties.

a compensation fund financed by believers…

The fund created for this purpose is called SELAM (for “fund of solidarity and fight against sexual assault on minors”. Its website’s section on “who can contribute to the fund?” reads:

“The fund is financed by legal entities and individuals […] the dioceses will be essential and non-exclusive contributors. The possibility of supporting the fund with donations is of course open to any legal person who has the capacity to do so. Bishops (active and emeritus), laity and clergy have already made personal donations.

Following them, the lay believers, priests and religious, and all those who wish to support the work of the fund can make a contribution.”

This fund, which has thus taken on the appearance of a “Cathothon”, had raised 20 million euros by the end of January 2022.

Through this appeal to the generosity of donors, the Church has found a way to escape its responsibility, which is to compensate the victims of the actions of some of its members and of its silence, solely out of its own property and that of the guilty parties.

And by taxpayers!

Worse still, through the system of tax exemption for donations, the State will participate in this compensation. However, the State is the taxpayers, and in part the victims themselves, who will indirectly participate in their own compensation.

In February, Senator Pierre Ouzoulias submitted a written question to the Minister of the Economy in which he asked “whether it is morally acceptable for the State, through tax donations, to participate in the financing of reparation measures intended for victims of acts committed solely within the Catholic Church. If the sole purpose of the Selam fund is to compensate them, he wonders whether it would not be more in keeping with the recommendation of Ciase, accepted by the Conference of Bishops of France, that the contributions of individuals be excluded from the possible sources of funding for this fund.”

We are still waiting for the answer…

Martine Cerf