French Bishop’s Conference to Provide Scannable IDs to Identify Clergy That Has Sexual Abuse Case

Pixabay/Gerd Altmann

The French Bishop’s Conference (CEF) decided to give scannable identification to identify clergy members accused of sexual misconduct due to the growing number of sexual abuse cases involving Catholic Leaders. However, a representative of an organization that works to secure justice for victims of priests has criticized this move and referred to it as a “stupid idea.”

Scannable IDs on Catholic Leaders

In the past few decades, the Catholic Church in France and other nations has been shaken by allegations of sexual abuse of children and adolescents by clergy members. A report from RT News stated that the independent probe panel that was created by the CEF in 2021 found that there had been between 2,900 and 3,200 criminals working their way up through the hierarchy of the church in France since 1950. On Wednesday, May 10, the CEF presented the public with its brand-new system, intended to supplement paper documents on sexual abuse cases of Clergies.

As mentioned, the color-coded information about the priest will be displayed to the person when scanning the QR code. If the cleric’s status is green, he is free to celebrate mass, listen to confessions, and carry out the other sacraments without limitations. If the priest’s powers are orange, they are restricted in some way, either due to sanctions or inadequate experience. In addition, Catholic leaders who have had their clerical status removed for any reason will be given the “red” status. 

Moreover, Deputy General Secretary Ambroise Laurent of the CEF noted that the ID cards would also help maintain records of the actions of the priests when they offer masses outside of their dioceses, accompany worshipers on pilgrimages, and work as advisors for communities of young adults.

According to Yahoo News, in their most basic form, the cards reveal whether or not the Church member is facing allegations of sexual abuse. But, the initiative provoked a little revolution within the Catholic Church in France. The bishop of Troyes, a town in eastern France, characterized it as a “cultural shift.” On the other hand, the groups who advocate for people who members of the Catholic Church have sexually abused do not necessarily believe this.

Also Read:Archdiocese of Detroit Priest Sentenced With 3 to 15 Years of Imprisonment Following Sexual Abuse to A Second-Grader

Representative Of An Organization Called the Scannable Ids A “Stupid Idea”

France 24 reported that Christine Pedotti, the editor-in-chief of the Christian weekly publication “Témoignage Chrétien,” and also administers the magazine also known as Christian Witness, said that the purpose of the new identification cards is not to enable parishioners to locate members of the clergy but rather to provide a tool for church leaders or lay leaders of a parish to verify the legitimacy of each individual in a church. Before this, the overwhelming majority of Catholics were completely unaware of the existence of paper ID cards in the first place. She also asserted that there is not much justification for them to ask for identification.

Furthermore, Francois Devaux, a former president of the organization known as La Parole Libérée or The Liberated Word, an organization founded in 2015 by victims of a former Catholic priest and pedophile Bernard Preynat, stated that “It’s quite an exceptional measure which, in my opinion, is one of the Catholic Church’s top three most stupid ideas.” 

It is reportedly a sign that the Catholic Church has sunk to new depths when it is necessary to check the QR codes on clergy members to reassure members of its congregation. The new system is nothing more than an elaborate marketing campaign, and it demonstrates how trust has been shattered between the faithful and their authorities. “This new ineptitude is a sign of the church’s idleness. It has not understood the criticism it has faced, nor does it want to,” he added.

Related Article: Sexual Abuse of Clerics: Do Church Leaders Get Punish By Law?

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