The Archdiocese of Cologne is currently under fire since it became known on Friday that a new expert opinion on the processing of sexual abuse has been commissioned. Editor in chief Ingo Bruggenjurgen classifies.
Interviewer: How has the archdiocese of Cologne now reacted again?
Ingo Bruggenjurgen (Chief Editor our site): The archdiocese is trying to somehow get out of this whole mess again. For it is fatal that the Archbishop of Cologne, who had announced before all the other bishops that he wanted to radically clear up the matter, is now considered the great cover-up man and is under fire. And of course the diocese is trying to set the record straight.
Accordingly, the diocese is trying to turn this image in the public again. First of all, there is a letter to all pastoral employees in the General Vicariate, but also a new press release, in which one turns once again to the public, in order to really answer all the questions that have arisen since Friday.
Interviewer: What does the letter from the vicar general to his own employees say??
Bruggenjurgen: The archbishop and the vicar general want to make it clear that the original intention has not changed at all. Accordingly, the Vicar General has written to all priests, deacons, pastoral and parish assistants, all employees of the Vicariate General and the associated services, because one can understand that the employees should not always get the information only from the Bild-Zeitung, from the Express or from the Stadt-Anzeiger. You should be informed at first hand.
Therefore, the vicar general writes, he would like to contribute to the fact that clarity is created and that one then once again directs the view on the common goal. We would like to carry out together genuine clearing-up. Nothing has changed. The head of the vicariate general is trying to take his employees along with him and make it clear to them that nothing has changed in terms of the goal, even if the whole situation is currently rather complicated.
Interviewer: What does the press release to the general public, to journalists look like?
Bruggenjurgen: In essence, this is exactly what is at stake. One came out yes on Friday with a statement. Then there was a very difficult press conference on Monday, where many critical questions were asked. It was not possible to answer all of them in the short time available. For this reason, there is now a long list on the Internet for the entire interested public as well as for the employees, where on 13 pages it is meticulously listed who knew what when and how and why. One cannot represent all this on the radio at all, but one can click on the appropriate links.
For example, let's take out one question: Why is this expert opinion so bad then? This is what the experts said. No one has even seen it yet. The archdiocese of Cologne itself emphasizes that they do not know the report at all.
But experts have signaled that there are legal problems. You cannot publish this expert opinion, otherwise it will fall on your feet legally, because there are difficulties with regard to the right of expression. The diocese is now trying to make this clear by commissioning a new expert opinion, which should be ready in half a year. That is supposed to be watertight. The whole procedure is now meticulously described on the Internet with the corresponding dates and with all the things that are recorded there.
Interviewer: Does this statement now answer the questions?
Bruggenjurgen: A large part of the questions, but certainly far from all of them. Because journalists are of course on the subject. They ask themselves, for example, the question, why then the affected person's advisory board itself this paper can not read. Now the diocese says: Yes, they can read it! But please only then, when the new expert opinion is also ready.
There are already again the first journalists, who say, why that then now? They have spoken to them on Thursday in the advisory board and have said: The old report can not be published. Why are those affected not allowed to see for themselves now?? The diocese says: May they! We just have to wait a little. Then there are some appointment questions.
So there are still a number of questions that need to be clarified. The diocese is trying. And it also says under the communication that these ies are continuously updated. So one is trying to provide real clarity and truth. This is the only step to regain the lost trust, which the vicar general also addressed in his letter to the employees.
Because that's what it must be about, that you really give a credible testimony. However, this is a huge challenge given the very complicated legal mix. And there is still much to do.
The interview was conducted by Hilde Regeniter.