Cardinal Christoph Schonborn has spoken out against self-pity in the church in light of the cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church. Even if it is painful, the members of the Church must endure hostility in these days. "Our first concern must be the suffering of the victims and not our own sensitivities," Schonborn said at a press conference in Vienna.
It is clear to him that all people who actively profess the Catholic Church and bear no responsibility for the cases of abuse will be confronted with painful criticism and hostility. But: "These are 'peanuts' compared to what the victims of abuse often have to endure for the rest of their lives," said the cardinal. The church is facing up to the reality of abuse cases, Schonborn said. One wants to deal with it openly and honestly and not cover up anything. The Cardinal again referred to the measures adopted within the framework of the Bishops' Conference. In the future, the diocesan ombudsman offices should be even better networked and cooperate better with civil organizations that care for abuse victims and perpetrators. And the church is also planning further measures with regard to the prevention of cases of abuse. The cardinal announced that this would be implemented in the coming weeks: "We can never give a guarantee, but we can try everything humanly possible so that something like this does not happen again."The topic of abuse is "also a social problem, not only a church problem," Schonborn said. However, this in no way excuses cases of abuse in the church: "The fact that the Catholic Church is viewed particularly critically is due to the high moral standards it sets."Celibacy not questioned "If celibacy were the reason for sexual abuse, there should be no abuse wherever there is no celibacy," the cardinal replied to a journalist's query about the celibacy debate. He again rejected media reports that he himself had questioned celibacy. In his commentary for the Viennese diocesan staff magazine "thema kirche," he had primarily targeted priestly formation, Schonborn emphasized. Abuse problem is closely related to personal maturity of people, Schonborn says. "Part of the personal maturity of every human being is integration and dealing with sexuality – no matter what form of life," the cardinal stressed. However, the church must ask itself whether the integration of sexuality for personal maturity has been sufficiently addressed in seminaries. In recent years, the government has been very conscious of this, but: "Perhaps the cases of abuse show us that we need to do even better."According to the cardinal, the goal of priestly formation is a free decision on celibacy and the promotion of the human maturity necessary for this.