“Church faces great change”

Reinhard Cardinal Marx © Frank Rumpenhorst

The abuse scandal in Germany's Catholic Church continues to preoccupy the bishops. Cardinal Reinhard Marx now called on the church to deal openly with criticism on the subject of abuse – and looked to the future.

"We should understand criticism as encouragement to tackle this task," the president of the German Bishops' Conference urged this Tuesday in Munich.

The Archbishop of Munich and Freising went on to say, "How much carelessness, how much clerical posturing is in us?" Looking to the future of the church, he emphasized, "I am convinced there is a great change coming."

"Do not avoid the challenge"

Marx added, according to a statement from the press office of his diocese, "It is not easy to exchange views on this, but we must not avoid the challenge." Those responsible in the church would have to "look, listen and draw consequences – that will be a painful process". Marx made remarks at a service for the archdiocese's priests' day.

The cardinal emphasized that priests were instituted in Christ's stead. This is "a huge claim". They are not the "masters of people's faith" but the "servants of their joy, who should encourage them". The church must value the talents of the laity "even more than before," Marx demanded. The people of God with their different talents are a great wealth, he said.

In addition to many positive aspects, he said, one must look at the dark side. "Sin and violence run through the history of the church," the cardinal explained. The new study once again shows this with full force.

Study topic at DBK autumn plenary meeting

The German bishops plan to publish the eagerly awaited nationwide study on abuse at their plenary meeting in Fulda next week. The first results became known last week through media reports. According to the study, between 1946 and 2014, Germany had 3.677 victims of sexual assault of at least 1.670 defendants, the majority of them priests.

The title of the investigation is "Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests, deacons and male religious in the area of the German Bishops' Conference". (CBA)

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