Call for change in awareness

Call for change in awareness

The topic of sexual abuse of children has not yet arrived in many countries of the world, according to Catholic experts. Jesuit Father Hans Zollner called for a change in awareness.

Much still needs to be done in Africa, Latin America or Asia, Zollner, president of the International Child Protection Center of the Pontifical Gregorian University, told journalists in Aachen on Friday. In Africa, for example, 10- and 12-year-old girls are still being married off despite the prohibition.

Zollner pleaded for long-term attitude change through education in society and church. "This is a generational mission," says Jesuit. In this context, he particularly praised the work of the Aachen-based aid organizations missio and the children's missionary organization "Die Sternsinger".

"Special responsibility"

Its president, Klaus Kramer, said that 110 of 2.300 carol singing projects explicitly ran under the topic child protection. In addition, the Missiology Institute (MWI) is currently familiarizing 200 church leaders from Africa and Asia with the problem of abuse through a scholarship program.

The Kindermissionswerk has a special responsibility for this ie, said Kramer. For its project work, it has developed guidelines based on the guidelines of the German Bishops' Conference, which are made a requirement for the social and pastoral support projects on site. Zollner, a member of the papal commission on abuse, emphasized the possibilities of Catholic institutions such as schools or children's homes in Latin America, Asia or Africa in the fight against abuse.

"Church has drawn consequences"

The psychologist pointed out that sensitivity to sexual violence had grown in Germany after the church abuse scandal came to light six years ago. Elsewhere, he said, the church still has this "hard school" ahead of it. But where the dioceses had taken preventive measures, as in the Federal Republic or the USA, there had been no more new cases. From the outside, the German church is now said to be dealing consistently with the ie.

Zollner said 95 percent of bishops' conferences worldwide have so far ied abuse guidelines in accordance with the Vatican's will. Such guidelines are still lacking in the French-speaking countries of West Africa such as Mali or Senegal, where crises such as civil wars or epidemics are experienced as more pressing.

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