The ordeal of the victims of priests

For many years, more than 2,500 victims of assaults committed by priests of the Catholic Church have been waiting in vain for justice in the courts.

The ordeal of the victims of priests

For many years, more than 2,500 victims of assaults committed by priests of the Catholic Church have been waiting in vain for justice in the courts.

During a meeting with the press on Thursday, lawyers Marc Bellemare and Alain Arsenault asked that Pope Francis apologize for these gestures, during his visit to Quebec in two weeks.

In a letter containing the grievances of the victims, the two lawyers also want the sovereign pontiff to urge the dioceses and religious congregations of Quebec to settle the cases quickly.

Strategies denounced

Instead, religious authorities, many of whom have significant financial means, use defense strategies that lead to delays of more than 10 years, explained Me Arseneault.

Class actions often end in out-of-court settlements, to avoid litigation.

Many victims die without ever having obtained reparation before the courts. It's sad.

The systematic and costly opposition led by various dioceses, including that of Quebec led by Bishop Cyprien Lacroix, was denounced in particular. Me Bellemare spoke of obstruction.

Unacceptable

In the spring, on the sidelines of an announcement on the lands of the Sisters of Charity of Quebec, one of these victims of acts committed by religious, Jean Simard, had also launched a cry from the heart.

For this former resident of the Mont d'Youville orphanage, where some 500 children would have lived through hell between 1925 and 1996, we forget the victims and that is unacceptable.

The action in which Mr. Simard is participating has been dragging on for four years. His attacker was found guilty, but the nuns' lawyers want to question the victims one by one, he denounced.

The good news is that Bishop Lacroix pledged yesterday to deliver the letter to Pope Francis.

It now remains to be hoped that the head of the Catholic Church will act for the good of these victims, who have suffered far enough.

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