“Horror and shame”

The Catholic Bishop of Dresden, Heinrich Timmerevers, has called on the Catholic Church to intensify its confrontation with sexual abuse. A meeting with abuse victims had affected him, the bishop expressed.

Abuse by church employees is the "most serious expression" of an anti-human exercise of power, Timmerevers stressed in Dresden on Thursday. At an event titled "Power. Escaping seduction and abuse," he acknowledged that there is "obviously a high susceptibility" to sexual abuse in the church.

Timmerevers declared that he "expressly" supports the reform dialogue of the Catholic Church in Germany, which is working on these ies, among others. With regard to the Synodal Way, he is "not afraid" but trusts that it will also become "more and more a reality" in the Catholic Church. The task of the entire church is to "further investigate which framework conditions and patterns favor the abuse of power.

Understanding for growing impatience

The Bishop of Dresden-Meissen expressed "horror and shame" at the extent to which the church had initially reacted to abuse by "playing it down and covering it up". At the same time he expressed understanding for the fact that not only with the victims of abuse by church representatives with view of the conditions of the church processing "the impatience grows". A meeting with abuse victims had "changed" him, Timmerevers said. The descriptions of their experiences had affected him as no other encounter had before.

The president of the Center for Child Protection at the Pontifical Gregorian University, Hans Zollner, said the cover-up of sexual abuse within its ranks has stripped the Catholic Church in countries such as Australia, Ireland and the U.S. of almost all credibility on other ethical ies as well. If the church fails to effectively address the failure to deal with abuse and embed sustainable prevention measures, he said, this will lead to a continued paralysis of the church as a whole. But a proven prevention strategy can counter abuse in the long term, the Jesuit said, even if it is an illusion to be able to prevent such crimes altogether.

The theme day was organized by the Catholic Academy, the Caritas Association and the Prevention Office of the Diocese of Dresden-Meissen.

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