“Responsibility of all to be attentive!”

Cardinal Marx © Dedert

The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, is, in his own words, grateful for the current "moment of truth" in the Church. But now, he said, there is finally an end to the failure of those responsible.

At a service to commemorate the Day of Remembrance for Victims of Sexual Abuse in Munich on Sunday, Marx said, "We may be grateful to those affected, to the victims, that they have spoken out, that they are speaking, often after decades, which is painful for many of them."The Archbishop of Munich and Freising added that he was also grateful to the media "for the fact that attention has grown for this sometimes concealed, hidden injustice, for this violence that has been and is being inflicted on many people worldwide.".

The cardinal went on to explain: "At last it is becoming apparent what is happening, and it is being talked about, and healing is being sought, prevention, overcoming."Also, Marx said, "We have failed, and we have been like in a delusion: not wanting to look, not wanting to admit what is happening, talking it down, not listening to it, all this has happened again and again. And this must be an end!"

More intensive prevention

It is a responsibility of the entire church, especially bishops, priests and those in positions of responsibility, "to be attentive and never again allow things to be overlooked, not listened to, covered up and concealed," Marx said. The church will be judged by its actions.

In the future the prevention work must become still more intensive. He said it is also a matter of "learning to be church differently, more transparent, more open, not in closed circles, not one against the other, but in togetherness, in learning from the world". For this, the church needs society, scientific findings and the critical support of the public. Marx demanded: "We must not slacken our efforts and fall back into the same old rut. We really need to see: A wake-up call has gone out to us here that we should not appease and relativize."

The day of remembrance for victims of sexual abuse goes back to a suggestion by Pope Francis. He will be in the German dioceses around the 18. November, which is also "European Day for the Protection of Children against Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse" is celebrated.

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