An ongoing investigation into the sexual abuse of children by Catholic priests in France revealed this week that eleven former and serving members of the hierarchy, including the retired Archbishop of Bordeaux, Cardinal Jean-Pierre Ricard, face either prosecution by the civil authorities or disciplinary action by the Church itself.

A commission of inquiry looking into complaints dating as far back as the 1950s found last year that the sexual abuse by priests of underage boys and girls was widespread throughout France, as it has been in many other countries. Now the net has been widened to include those supposedly in charge. The total of claims filed has risen to 216,000, with another 124,000 cases under review involving lay teachers at Catholic schools.