Waiting for opinion

The abuse scandal in the Catholic Church draws ever wider circles. Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger calls for swift action and a roundtable discussion. The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, will make his first public statement at the spring plenary assembly on Monday. In the meantime, other Catholic institutions besides the Jesuit order have been confronted with allegations.

In an interview with the news magazine "Der Spiegel," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger proposed ombudspersons and a round table consisting of representatives of the state, the church and the victims: "I expect the Catholic Church to make concrete statements about what measures will be taken to ensure a complete investigation."At the same time, she criticized Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa, who had blamed the "so-called sexual revolution" for the abuse. It is "unhelpful when some of those responsible, such as Bishop Mixa, hide behind polemical excuses instead of contributing to the clarification of the facts," said the Federal Minister of Justice.

Reforms in the training of clergy Hamburg Archbishop Werner Thissen called for reforms in clergy training. The handling of sexuality must be discussed even more intensively than before, said the 71-year-old Thissen to the "Frankfurter Rundschau" (Saturday edition). Asked whether the offenses were merely individual failures of individuals, Thissen spoke of a "structural problem".At least 115 victims allegedly abused at Jesuit schools in Germany since 1950s. The sexual assaults had been committed not only sporadically, but systematically, the abuse commissioner of the Jesuit order, Ursula Raue, had explained. The head of the German Jesuits, Stefan Dartmann, acknowledged failures of the former leadership of the order and promised to support further investigation.

New accusations Meanwhile, accusations are being made against other Catholic institutions. "Der Spiegel" reported on two former homes of the men's order "Salesianer Don Bosco" in Augsburg and Berlin. Also affected, she said, was a former children's home run by the Vincentian nuns in Oggelsbeuren in Upper Swabia, as well as the Marist boarding school in Mindelheim, Bavaria, and the former Franciscan boarding school in Grobkrotzenburg near Hanau. Massive abuse allegations also exist against former employees of the Franz Sales House in Essen, he said. According to the "Frankfurter Rundschau"(Saturday edition), there were also incidents at the Saint Louis College of the Franciscan Minorities.The lay movement "We are Church" again appealed to the German Bishops' Conference to fundamentally review the "Guidelines for Dealing with Sexual Abuse of Children and Young People by Clergy and Church Employees" adopted in 2002. Movement warns against demonization of perpetrators. Rather, the "deeper, structural causes" would have to be looked at.

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