“A terrible sin”

Symbolic image of abuse in the church © Andreas Gebert

With a foreword by Pope Francis, the German edition of Daniel Pittet's account of his life has been published. In it, the author describes how a Catholic priest and Capuchin priest raped him over a period of four years.

The youth pastor at the time abused the boy, who was from Fribourg, Switzerland, in the most brutal way from 1968 to 1972 and photographed the acts of abuse. The book also features the perpetrator in an interview from 2016.

Charges dropped due to statute of limitations

Although the priest abused other children for years, it wasn't until the 1990s that he began to come to terms with it. According to Swiss media reports, charges against the priest were dropped because of the statute of limitations. In total, he had abused more than 20 children.

In 2012, the priest was sentenced to two years' probation in another trial. It was only after the publication of Pittets book that the man was dismissed from the clergy and the Capuchin order this year. He is 77 years old today.

Pope: tough course against abuse and cover-up

In the foreword to the book, which was also previously published in French and Italian, Pope Francis asks for forgiveness from victims of abuse by Catholic priests. At the same time, he announces that he will take tough action against abuse and its cover-up.

This also applies to bishops or cardinals, "if they have placed these priests – as has happened repeatedly in the past – under their protection". Abuse is an "absolute monstrosity and terrible sin," the pope said.

Systematic abuse

Pittet describes how the pedophile and sex-addicted priest systematically abused him: in the school toilet, in the summer camp, in the monastery or in the parents' house of the priest. The environment at the monastery, as well as his own family, looked the other way, Pittet said. Only after more than 15 years of therapy, he had been able to talk about the acts. In the meantime, he has "forgiven" the priest, but this does not mean that the suffering has been overcome.

"After a rape, one always feels deeply defiled. An indelible mark is left behind. Forever," said Pittet. In the meantime, however, he had succeeded in finally "freeing himself" from the abuse and the perpetrator.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.