Thousands of pedophiles have been active in the French Catholic Church since 1950, according to the chairman of the commission investigating abuses by church members.
Jean-Marc Sovie told the French media that the commission found evidence of 2,900 to 3,200 rapists – out of 115,000 priests and other clergy.
“This is the minimum score,” he added.
The commission will release a major report on Tuesday. It is based on church, court and police archives, as well as interviews with victims.
An independent investigation was ordered by the French Catholic Church in 2018 after a series of scandals in other countries.
Mr Sovi, a senior civil servant, told the French newspaper Le Monde that the commission had provided prosecutors with evidence in 22 cases in which criminal cases could still be opened.
He added that bishops and other high-ranking church officials had been informed of other allegations against people who were still alive.
The commission included doctors, historians, sociologists and theologians. In two and a half years, we have contacted more than 6,500 victims and witnesses. The final report is 2,500 pages.
Christopher Lamb of the Roman Catholic newspaper The Tablet told the BBC that abuse scandals had plunged the Church into “the biggest crisis in … 500 years”.
Earlier this year, Pope Francis changed the laws of the Catholic Church to directly criminalize sexual violence, the largest revision of the criminal code in decades.
The new rules classify sexual violence, care for minors, possession of child pornography and concealment of violence as an offense under canon law.