Addressing structural problems

Addressing structural problems

The Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, accuses the Catholic Church in Germany of poor clarification of sexual abuse. The German Bishops' Conference rejected the accusations.

Reappraisal is probably still too often seen as a danger for one's own institution, Rorig explained in an interview with the Funke Mediengruppe (Friday). The attitude makes it clear how much protection of institutions and perpetrators still takes precedence over protection of victims, he says. "It must no longer be only about the protection and reputation of the church."For a corresponding study of the German Bishops' Conference, unfortunately not all dioceses would have opened their archives.

In 2014, the bishops commissioned the project "Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests, Deacons and Male Religious in the Area of the German Bishops' Conference" to investigate cases of abuse in Germany. The results are to be presented at the end of September at the autumn plenary meeting of the bishops in Fulda. "It's not just individual cases or individual perpetrators – it's always structural problems that enable sexual violence against children and young people," Rorig said. "The Catholic Church must face up to these structural problems in Germany as well."

"Dark sides of our history"

The German Bishops' Conference rejected the accusations. The abuse commissioner, Bishop Stephan Ackermann, said in a statement to Interviewer: "Where Mr. Rorig gets the information for his assertion that not all dioceses have 'opened their archives' is beyond me. I, at least, have no clues about this."

The Pennsylvania report is shocking in its findings, Ackermann further emphasized. "It shows that we as the Catholic Church are far from finished in coming to terms with this dark side of our history as well. That's why it's good that on 25. September 2018 during the plenary assembly of the German Bishops' Conference in Fulda, the result of the large-scale research project for the area of the German Bishops' Conference is also available."

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