A bitter truth

It was stroke twelve, and somehow also High Noon for the Jesuits. High above Munich's Marienplatz on Thursday, Ursula Raue, a Berlin lawyer hired by the order, presented her final report after four months on cases of sexual abuse at schools and other institutions run by the Jesuit order.

A "bitter truth", as Provincial Stefan Dartmann called it, had listed them on 26 pages. For four months, reports have been received from 205 alleged victims. In addition, there were another 50, which referred to other – mostly Catholic, but not Jesuit – institutions. But those who think that this is the end of the matter are mistaken. "We cannot ame that we have heard everything," Raue emphasized. Still people reported to it, and for such presumed victims offers would have to be received. Nothing is more important than to believe the victims and to give them individual care. This included individual conversations as well as the reimbursement of therapy costs. Feedback there is. Thus the lawyer could report of 18 persons who wished a therapy. Three had also provided the requested cost estimate, the procedures were ongoing. The Jesuits are still hesitant about lump-sum financial compensation, even though Dartmann personally can well understand that some wanted to "see the order bleed". For this the order does not want to anticipate the result of the round table of the Federal Government.

"Mea culpa" the Jesuit The Jesuit admits frankly that in the past months a "scandal" has become clear, the extent of which could hardly have been guessed at in January. At that time, the rector of the Berlin Canisius College, Klaus Mertes, had gone public with reports of sexual and violent assaults by confreres at the school. In the meantime it is clear that such happened also in Saint Blasien, in the Aloisius College in Bonn, in the Saint Ansgar School in Hamburg as well as in youth institutions of the order in Hanover and Gottingen and in the Immaculata College in Buren, which is no longer led by Jesuits. According to the report, the investigations cover 12 fathers, 6 of whom have died, and 2 others. They are accused by several people of abuse or gross violence, or both, or even connivance. In addition, 32 fathers or secular teachers and educators of the order, who have so far been named by only one victim each. Raue accused the Jesuits of systematically covering up and concealing the incidents for years. The "mea culpa" from Dartmann followed promptly. His otherwise firm voice faltered somewhat when he confessed: "In the name of the Order, I acknowledge with shame the guilt and the failure of the Order."At the same time, he again thanked the victims who had broken their silence and asked them to apologize. The Jesuits had not adopted the victim's perspective over the years, Dartmann admitted. As Provincial, however, he also expects that the confreres who were responsible at the time will take a stand on the facts at hand. Raue put the finger further into the wound. For example, the clarification at the Aloisius College in Bonn does not proceed in the desired form. A further investigation is therefore necessary, which is to be carried out by a new external team. At the same time, the lawyer admitted to having made mistakes herself in the beginning and to having destroyed evidence. Meanwhile, the perpetrators, who are still alive, must also reckon with disciplinary measures within the church, which are decided by the Vatican.

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