Facing the dark chapter

Facing the dark chapter

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The process of coming to terms with violence and abuse at the Catholic seminary of St. Michael in Traunstein is getting underway. In the meantime, there has been a first round of confidential talks with those affected at the facility.

At the request of the victims, this was moderated by Robert Kohler from the Ettal Victims of Abuse and Maltreatment Association. A number of participants was not mentioned on request, as the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said on Monday.

With the group now further steps for the processing are developed, it was said. Under the e-mail address [email protected], other affected persons could contact the group directly.

Accusations against deceased auxiliary bishop Siebler

Allegations of abuse and mistreatment from circles of former Traunstein seminarians have been known to the archdiocese for at least four years. They are also directed against Munich Auxiliary Bishop Engelbert Siebler, who died in 2018 and led the seminary in Chiemgau from 1976 to 1985.

The Munich social psychologist Heiner Keupp had told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in June that he had had contact with several Traunstein victims. In their reports a pattern of "black pedagogy" had been recognizable. At the time, the scholar accused the archdiocese of doing too little to come to terms with the past.

Put dark chapter

Keupp is a member of the working group "Coming to Terms with the Churches" of the Independent Abuse Commissioner of the Federal Government. With his Institute for Practical Research and Project Consulting (IPP), he was involved in coming to terms with sexualized violence in several church and non-church institutions, including Ettal Monastery.

According to a statement from the archdiocese, participants in the first discussion forum were welcomed by the director of the seminary, Wolfgang Dinglreiter. An appreciative and developmentally empowering pedagogy is Saint Michael's top priority, he said according to the report.

"All the more we must also face the dark chapters in the history of our house and give the necessary attention to all those who experienced and suffered their phase of life in the seminary as an oppressive and stressful time."

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