A priest in a parish on the western coast of the country has been removed from his duties by the Catholic church for living with a woman for 11 years.

"/> A priest in a parish on the western coast of the country has been removed from his duties by the Catholic church for living with a woman for 11 years.

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CATHOLIC CHURCH

Loved-up priest dropped by church

A priest in a parish on the western coast of the country has been removed from his duties by the Catholic church for living with a woman for 11 years.

The story, reported in local newspaper Presse-Océan, was confirmed by the diocese of Nantes, which said in a statement that “the choice of this priest to live with a companion challenges the vow of celibacy he took.”

Father Rémi Bouriaud, who worked in the small coastal villages of La Baule and Pornichet, told the newspaper his relationship made him “happy” and confirmed that he and his partner had lived as a couple for more than ten years. He said he had not hidden the relationship from church bosses.

He said he “regretted nothing” and wished the church would “modernize and open up.” Meanwhile, he said he has received over 200 messages of support.

“It is with sadness that [bishop] Monsignor Jean-Paul James has had to make this decision,” said the church statement. “It takes into account both the dedication of this priest for many years as well as the challenge of this difficult situation.”

Opposition to the rule of celibacy for priests in the Catholic church has been growing in recent years. In April, the number two in the Vatican, cardinal Tarcisio Bertone, appeared to offer the possibility of a change at some point when he recognized that the celibacy of priests was not “untouchable” but he also stated that it is a “positive and fruitful tradition” for the church. 

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CATHOLIC CHURCH

At least 3,000 paedophiles active in French church since 1950: report

Thousands of paedophiles have operated inside the French Catholic Church since 1950, the head of an independent commission investigating the scandal told AFP, days ahead of the release of its report.

French archbishop Cardinal Philippe Barbarin leads his last mass,on June 28, 2020. Barbarin was released on appeal on January 30 for his silence on the sexual abuse of a priest, and resigned quickly afterwards.
French archbishop Cardinal Philippe Barbarin leads his last mass,on June 28, 2020. Barbarin was released on appeal on January 30 for his silence on the sexual abuse of a priest, and resigned quickly afterwards. Photo: Jeff Pachoud/AFP

The commission’s research had uncovered between 2,900 and 3,200 paedophile priests or other members of the church, said Jean-Marc Sauve, adding that it was “a minimum estimate”.

The commission’s report is due to be released on Tuesday after two and a half years of research based on church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with witnesses.

The report, which Sauve said runs to 2,500 pages, will attempt to quantify both the number of offenders and the number of victims.

It will also look into “the mechanisms, notably institutional and cultural ones” within the Church which allowed paedophiles to remain, and will offer 45 proposals.

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The independent commission was set up in 2018 by the French Catholic Church in response to a number of scandals that shook the Church in France and worldwide.

Its formation also came after Pope Francis passed a landmark measure obliging those who know about sex abuse in the Catholic Church to report it to their superiors.

Made up of 22 legal professionals, doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians, its brief was to investigate allegations of child sex abuse by clerics dating back to the 1950s.

When it began its work it called for witness statements and set up a telephone hotline, then reported receiving thousands of messages in the months that followed.

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