A few days before the start of the abuse summit in the Vatican, bishops and theologians are betting on a turnaround in the Catholic Church. Church historian Hubert Wolf says abuse crisis is bigger "than what happened in the Reformation".
The abuse commissioner of the German Bishops' Conference, Bishop Stephan Ackermann, Hopes for a change in awareness. It would be important if Pope Francis succeeded in obliging the bishops to face the ie of abuse in a victim-oriented way and "not to put the reputation of the church first," the Trier bishop said in an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA) on Sunday. "A worldwide commitment to prevention work would be good."
While cultural differences must be taken into account, these should not be "used as an excuse for doing little or nothing in the area of child protection," Ackermann said. From the German point of view, he said, changes are also needed in canon law, "including ecclesiastical penal and procedural law".
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki Clearly rejects attempts to "invent a new church" and to "play the Holy Spirit". In an interview with Catholic television station EWTN, the archbishop of Cologne warns against propagating a departure from doctrine and tradition in light of the church crisis.
"There are voices who now think that it is time to throw overboard all that has gone before. It is the old times that should no longer exist," Woelki outlined the one side from which he distanced himself. Because: The church stands just also for the supratemporal. It is not a "maneuvering mass given into our hands," stresses Cardinal Woelki. The task of the bishops is rather to preserve and proclaim the faith.
The Jesuit Hans Zollner expects the summit to "trigger an avalanche that can no longer be stopped". "The protection against abuse, the processing of abuse is existential for the Church," the head of the Child Protection Center at the Pontifical Gregorian University told the "Suddeutsche Zeitung" (Saturday).
Zollner emphasized that there are very different traditions around the world, for example in dealing with sexuality and daily violence or in the role of priests. "We must not simply impose our standards on everyone," the Jesuit stressed. "However, it must also be clear that there must be no tolerance for abuse."
The Viennese Cardinal Christoph Schonborn hopes the upcoming anti-abuse summit in the Vatican will result in "equal standards worldwide in the Catholic Church" in the fight against sexual violence. "Only when everyone is aware of what abuse is, why it happens and what to do about it, can we introduce common standards worldwide," Schonborn told the Austrian press agency Kathpress.
He pointed out that the Vatican, already under Pope Benedict XVI. (2005-2013) had set precise rules for dealing with abuse, which all bishops' conferences should have implemented long ago. In Austria, this path has been taken with determination, said the cardinal. However, this is not yet the case in many countries of the world, he said. "Pope Francis therefore not only wants to achieve a common level of awareness, but that the implementation of the clear and also very strict guidelines is also really taken seriously by everyone," Schonborn said.
Everywhere in the world, he said, the principle must apply "that the victims come first and not the institution or. the reputation of the institution". It is necessary, he said, "to give a voice to the victims.".
Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller Refuted the thesis that a cause of sexual abuse lies in clericalism. There is no evidence for this, he told the "Spiegel". The cause, he said, lies in the depraved character of the perpetrators.
The longtime head of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith reaffirmed his thesis of a connection between abuse and homosexuality. Well over 80 percent of victims of sexual abuse of young people in the Church are male, he said. "At the abuse summit, however, these data are unreasonably not to play a role," the theologian criticized.
Catholic Church historian Hubert Wolf Sees sexual abuse as part of a systemic crisis in the church. The bishops must begin with fundamental changes, he said Sunday on Deutschlandfunk radio.
He said it is not only about celibacy, but also about access to the priesthood, the selection of bishops and the participation of parishes. "I consider this crisis greater than what happened in the Reformation," the clergyman added. The church lives on faith and its credibility, he said. "A religion that has no credibility is at an end."
The priest, who teaches at the University of Munster, stressed that it is not just about celibacy. It is also about ies such as access to the priesthood, the selection of bishops and the participation of parishes. The Church also needs administrative jurisdiction. "Celibacy is part of a system. And celibacy is a risk factor for abuse," said Wolf. "That's why we can no longer sit the ie out or cover it up in a rhetoric of apology."
With Francis, a pope has also made sexual violence against nuns public for the first time, the church historian said. Expectations of him are now high. All things must be put on the table, especially all sources must be made accessible. Because: "It is not only about the perpetrators, but also about those who covered up for the perpetrators. It is about those who knew about these events in monasteries and with children. It is about those who have transferred such pastors and let them loose on children and young people again."
Viennese sociologist of religion Paul Zulehner Meanwhile, calls the abuse scandal in the church an "ankle bracelet" for Pope Francis. The co-initiator of the campaign "Pro Pope Francis" does not believe in a failure of the international abuse conference in Rome and with it a failure of Pope Francis. For "reasons of reason alone," he said, the conference, which will begin on 21. February in Rome begins, will be a success, he told the "Sudwestpresse" (Monday).
"Pope Francis' reform process will not be stopped," Zulehner said. Positive handling of abuse ie could bring new momentum to reforms, he said.