It was the parish of a priest suspected of pedophilia. Some 600 people gathered, Monday, 7 November, in the church of Saint-Luc Sainte-Foy-lès-Lyon (Lyon), in order to pay tribute to the victims of sexual abuse. From 1972 to 1991, father Bernard Preynat is soupçonné to having abused about 70 young scouts.
The faithful of this upscale suburb to the west of the lyon responded well to the call of the catholic bishops ‘ Conference of France (CEF) of October 14, for a “day of prayer and penance”. Celebrated by father Eric Mats, the mass lasted almost an hour and a half.
The priest surprised the audience, by speaking directly to members of the association “free speech”, made up of victims of Bernard Preynat. the “I have come to ask you for forgiveness in my name, in the name of all parishioners, on behalf of my church, who has not heard, and which was still so hard to listen to, which was covered with a silence, guilty of these crimes and that is so difficult to get out of this silence that has left victims in their solitude”, he said.
Two letters from parents of former victims of Bernard Preynat – portrayed in the past as a predator, “be despicable (…) who preached the good and which was evil”- but also that of a woman who suffered a rape in the 70s by a priest were also read to the audience.
“The important thing is to be together this evening. It is already a big step”, has reacted Annick, 40 years old, after the mass. Marie-Thérèse, age 54, has found the celebration of the “terrific.” “But, there was so much shame”, she added, referring to the case Preynat. the “We really thought that it was gossip,”, added Françoise, 80 years old, “satisfied that the story is out”.
Originally planned, the 70 candles, which were to symbolize the 70 victims of the father Preynat, have ultimately not been switched on at the request of free Speech. On Monday, the bishops of France gathered in Lourdes, solemnly asked pardon for the “too long silence, guilty” of the Church in the face of such sexual abuse.
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