Consistent, transparent, urgent

Consistent, transparent, urgent

Further steps: The German Catholic bishops have decided on several projects as a consequence of the study on the sexual abuse of minors by priests. Suggests reform of church and litigation laws as well.

Responsible for the implementation is the abuse commissioner of the Bishops' Conference, the Trier Bishop Stefan Ackermann, as the Permanent Council of the Bishops' Conference announced after its meeting on Tuesday in Wurzburg. Ackermann would coordinate closely with the federal government's abuse commissioner, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig.

Common standard on personal records management

Bishops resolved to adopt common standards for priests' personal records management. In addition to diocesan contacts, there should be external independent contact points on the subject of sexual abuse in the future.

An independent review is to clarify who, beyond the perpetrators, was institutionally responsible for abuse incidents in the church. The procedure for acknowledging suffering will be further developed and inter-diocesan monitoring for the areas of intervention and prevention will become mandatory, it says.

By the next meeting of the Permanent Council, the bishops also plan to develop a work plan to reflect with experts in various disciplines on the celibate lifestyle of priests and aspects of Catholic sexual morality.

Reform of ecclesiastical and procedural law encouraged

Permanent Council also endorses proposal to establish interdiocesan criminal tribunals for abuse proceedings in Germany. For this purpose, the Bishops' Conference will contact Rome. Furthermore, ecclesiastical law and procedural law would have to be reformed.

"The focus of all efforts is to protect against sexual abuse of minors and those under protection," it concludes. "The Permanent Council has reaffirmed the demand for consistency, transparency and urgency, and urges decisive implementation."The current status will be discussed at each meeting, he said.

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