“Justice should be done to the victims”

At its spring plenary meeting in the Franconian pilgrimage site of Vierzehnheiligen on Thursday, the Freising Bishops' Conference adopted a declaration on how the church should deal with allegations of abuse. The Catholic News Agency (KNA) documents the text of the resolution of the Bavarian bishops in unabridged catch:

Vierzehnheiligen, 18. March 2010 1. With deep consternation and shame, the Bavarian bishops informed each other about the cases of abuse in their dioceses and exchanged information. The top priority is to seek the truth and create an open atmosphere that encourages victims to speak out about what has been done to them. Justice should be done for the victims. This requires that they are listened to and that the perpetrators are held accountable. Every Bavarian diocese already has contact persons for victims of sexual abuse. Victims need help to heal psychological wounds. The bishops want to provide help to the individual victims beyond the legal obligation of the perpetrators. The Freising Bishops' Conference knows that in this world there will always be failure and guilt of the individual. The bishops want to investigate every suspicion and clarify every misconduct. For this reason, the Bavarian bishops unanimously recommend that the obligation to report suspected sexual abuse and physical abuse to the public prosecutor's office be established in the revision of the guidelines, and that it be practiced immediately, regardless of this obligation. It is urgent for the bishops to do everything in their power to prevent abuse and violence as much as possible. For effective prevention, all relevant groups must be approached: The Bavarian bishops will continue to exercise great care and prudence in the selection and training of their employees. An effective prevention must strengthen children and young people as well as sensitize educators, teachers and responsible persons. The prevention program of the Federation of German Catholic Youth in Bavaria, for example, offers an important orientation. For years, the BDKJ has trained its full-time and voluntary staff in an exemplary manner in the fight against sexual abuse. The existing initiatives must be intensified in all areas of society. Bishops ready to do their part and step up efforts. In all their efforts in the fight against abuse, the Bavarian bishops know themselves strengthened by the Holy Father and thank him for it. Benedict XVI. has been tirelessly pointing out for years that there must be no tolerance towards sexual abuse. The Freising Bishops' Conference knows that the situation is a spiritual call in the sense of "cleansing the memory," as John Paul II. formulated in his confession of guilt and expressed yesterday and today in the Holy Mass in the Basilica of Vierzehnheiligen. The bishops thank their priests, religious and collaborators who give a testimony of fidelity and dedication through their service.

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