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通讯员 郝昱 华商报记者 宁军
French Catholic Church to sell assets to settle sex abuse claims******
Catholic bishops in France agreed on Monday to sell part of the Church's extensive real estate holdings to compensate thousands of victims of child sex abuse at the hands of clergy.。
Church officials have been under intense pressure to recognize and indemnify victims after a landmark French inquiry confirmed extensive sexual abuse of minors by priests dating from the 1950s.。
An independent commission will evaluate the claims, "and we are going to provide the means to accomplish this mission ... of individual indemnities for the victims," said Eric de Moulins-Beaufort, head of the Bishops' Conference of France, or CEF.。
He did not detail the amounts that could be paid out in response to the damaging inquiry into the "massive phenomenon" of child sexual assault that was often covered in a "veil of secrecy."
The inquiry report, released last month, had urged the Church to pay victims with its own assets, instead of asking parishioners to contribute for crimes committed by the clergy.。
The Church had already promised to set up a fund to start making payouts next year, and it will now be bolstered "by selling real estate assets owned by the Bishops' Conference of France and by dioceses," Moulins-Beaufort said after days of meetings at the Catholic shrine of Lourdes.。
He added that a loan would be sought from banks if needed, and that the Vatican would be asked to send an observer to help examine the Church's response.。
"Our Church cannot be an institution entrenched in its own self-glory," he said.。
The 2,500-page report detailed abuse of 216,000 minors by clergy over the period, a number that climbs to 330,000 when claims against lay members of the Church are included, such as teachers at Catholic schools.。
The commission's president denounced the "systemic character" of efforts to shield clergy from prosecution and issued 45 recommendations of corrective measures.。
After the meetings of the 120 CEF members in Lourdes, bishops backed most of the recommendations, including systematic police background checks for any church associate working with minors.。
Nine working groups involving clergy, lay people and even some victims will be set up to implement the measures.。
But victims' associations have said words are far from enough, and are demanding compensation that would cost the Church tens of millions of euros.。
Hugues de Woillemont, a CEF spokesman, said all compensation claims would be examined by the new commission, including those dating back decades that are usually beyond statutes of limitation for prosecution.。
It will be presided over by Marie Derain de Vaucresson, a senior civil servant and legal expert specializing in child welfare.。
Widespread cases of sexual abuse in the Church have become one of the biggest challenges for Pope Francis, who expressed his "shame" after the French inquiry.。
Questions of changing doctrine still appeared to be a problem last month, however. Moulins-Beaufort drew fire after saying priests were not obliged to report sexual abuse if they heard about it during an act of confession. He was later forced to walk back his comments.。
Protecting children from sexual abuse is an "absolute priority" for the Church, the archbishop said after being called to a meeting with Interior Minister Gerald Darmanin – at the request of President Emmanuel Macron.。
Maccabi Haifa edge Slavia Prague in UEFA Conference League******
JERUSALEM, Oct. 21 (Xinhua) -- Israeli champion Maccabi Haifa achieved a 1-0 win at home against Czech champions Slavia Prague in Group E of the UEFA Conference League on Thursday.
Haifa's Ghanian striker Godsway Donyoh hit the post in the 23rd minute, and scored the game's only goal one minute later, after a pass by midfielder Ali Mohamed.
By half-time, the visiting team had missed several excellent opportunities to level the scores.
In the 57th minute, Haifa goalkeeper Josh Cohen made an impressive save after a shot by 17-year-old substitute Daniel Samek.
The win lifted the Israeli team to second place in the four-team group, with four points.
Feyenoord, who beat Union Berlin 3-1, top the group with seven points from three games, while Slavia and Union are in third and fourth place respectively, with three points each.
In matchday four, Maccabi and Slavia will meet again, this time in the Czech Republic, while Union will host Feyenoord, with both games to be played on November 4. Enditem