“It makes me catchless”

Catholic military bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck has described the incidents at the Staufer barracks in Pfullendorf, Baden-Wurttemberg, as appalling. He stressed the importance of providing pastoral care to soldiers.

They had reminded him "in a shocking way how fragile the principle of the inviolability of human dignity is when people shamelessly disregard it and mistreat others," the Essen bishop told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) on Friday. "That makes me catchless and makes me ask what moves people to act that way."

Recently, reports had caused horror, according to which there had been mistreatment and also sexual assaults in a training center of the German Armed Forces in Pfullendorf. Defense Minister Ursula von der Leyen (CDU) had strongly condemned the incidents.

Good and sensitive pastoral care necessary

"I am grateful that those responsible in the Bundeswehr are now doing everything possible to uncover the circumstances of the misconduct," the military bishop emphasized. "Because what is at stake is human dignity, which must be respected and protected without exception."The military chaplaincy strives to open up opportunities and spaces for sustained ethical reflection" for all soldiers as a "central concern of life lessons". Sensitively, however, all military superiors would also have to react.

"Since special forces are also trained in the Staufer Barracks, who are exposed to strong psychological prere due to their service, it is also important to have good and sensitive pastoral care for both the instructors and the trainees, which is characterized by respect and mutual trust," Overbeck explained.

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