In the debate over a Munster priest's abuse sermon, Father Klaus Mertes stresses that abuse victims do not have to forgive their abusers. "There is no 11. Commandment: you (victim) shall forgive (your tormentor)".
Mertes writes this in an article for the Internet portal katholisch.de. A victim may not want to see his abuser for the rest of his life. "Perhaps this very thing is even an aspect of 'forgiving,' insofar as 'forgiving' is a 'giving away,' along the lines of 'I leave him/her to God's judgment,'" Mertes added.
The Jesuit, who in 2010 as principal set in motion the uncovering of the abuse affair in the Catholic Church in Germany, opposed a "moralization of forgiveness".
When Catholics celebrated at Mass the reconciliation that God gives, "we are just celebrating the miracle that God works".
Sermon had led to the eclat
A sermon by pastor emeritus Ulrich Zurkuhlen in Munster on abuse and forgiveness had led to a scandal. Zurkuhlen, in his sermon the weekend before last, had advocated for being able to forgive one another, and had explicitly referred the statement also to priests who have sexually abused minors.
Worshipers reported that the pastor had told them about a priest friend of his who is accused of being an abuser. He said it must be time to forgive him. As a result, about 70 participants had left the service in protest.