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.
- French bishops plead pardon from paedophilia victims
- Growing sex abuse scandal rocks French Catholic Church
- Was French church child abuse covered up?
(article continues below)
See also on The Local:
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.