The appointed panel would “seek to understand the reasons which led to the way these cases were handled” by the Church, the Conference of French Bishops said in a statement on Wednesday.
The conference pledged to publish a report outlining the commission’s findings within two years. Details, including the name of the person spearheading the investigation, will be announced in the coming days, it added.
The statement came as French bishops held their plenary assembly in the holy French city of Lourdes, where they received a support from Pope Francis, according to Vatican News.
In the message, signed by the Cardinal Secretary of State, Pietro Parolin, the Pope encouraged the bishops to “continue to implement a ‘zero tolerance’ stance against sexual abuse committed by members of the Church.”
Reckoning for abusive priests
After decades of silence and denial, the Catholic Church is increasingly coming to terms with historical sex abuse within its ranks worldwide.
“Some bishops, by their actions or their failures to act, have caused great harm to both individuals and the Church as a whole,” said the administrative committee of the US Conference of Catholic Bishops in a statement.
“They have used their authority and power to manipulate and sexually abuse others. They have allowed the fear of scandal to replace genuine concern and care for those who have been victimized by abusers.”
“I express my deepest apologies for the actions of those who were in positions of authority and who violated that sacred trust by abusing children,” Bishop Patrick McGrath said. “The sexual abuse of children and young people is an appalling crime and a sin. When these perpetrators are members of the clergy, there are not only psychological wounds but spiritual wounds.”
CNN’s Nada Bashir in London contributed to this report.