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Abuse victims demonstrate against Catholic Church in Quebec

Over 140 individuals have sued the archdiocese alleging sexual abuse by more than 100 priests and diocese staff
People attach a cross, symbolizing victims of sexual assaults perpetrated by the Church, in front of the Basilique Notre-Dame de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada on March 26.

People attach a cross, symbolizing victims of sexual assaults perpetrated by the Church, in front of the Basilique Notre-Dame de Quebec in Quebec City, Canada on March 26. (Photo: AFP)

Published: March 27, 2024 04:51 AM GMT
Updated: March 27, 2024 04:56 AM GMT

Victims of sexual assault by Catholic clergy and their supporters marched in Quebec City on March 26 to raise awareness and encourage others to speak out against abusers within the Church.

More than 140 people filed a class action lawsuit against the Archdiocese of Quebec in Canada in 2022, claiming to have been sexually assaulted by more than 100 priests or diocese staff.

Some of the archdiocese's top leaders, including Cardinal Gerald Cyprien Lacroix, a close advisor to the pope, as well as Cardinal Marc Ouellet, once considered a strong candidate to be pope, are among the accused. Both deny the allegations.

The mostly older march participants planted crosses symbolizing the victims in front of the city's Notre-Dame basilica.

One woman in the crowd, who said she had been a victim of abuse but asked to remain anonymous, told AFP she had hesitated to come because "this type of event brings up not only what happened during the attack, but also all the consequences that it may have had in my life."

Pope Francis has made combating sexual assault in the Church one of the main missions of his papacy and insisted on a "zero tolerance" policy in the wake of multiple wide-reaching scandals.

The pontiff has created a commission on the sexual abuse of minors, in an attempt to lift the veil of secrecy that had shrouded criminal behavior by the clergy for decades.

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