“In the cruelest way”

In strong words, Trier Bishop Stephan Ackermann condemned the sexual abuse of minors by priests. "Priests have betrayed people's trust in the cruelest way," Ackermann lamented in Trier on Wednesday.

Unlike in the past, he no longer believes that anyone who has been baptized and ordained a priest has automatically arrived at Jesus, said Ackermann, who is the German Bishops' Conference commissioner for cases of sexual abuse. He also criticized "errors in communication from the bishops and also from Rome". Victims of sexual abuse often suffer throughout their lives, the bishop said. Referring to the volcanic eruption in Iceland, he said one could have the impression that a "crust" had now also broken open in the matter of sexual abuse by priests. "A poisonous, stinking cloud is being discharged," Ackermann said. He spoke at a service during a "priests' day" as part of this year's Trier Holy Rock Days. Around 250 priests took part in the service. The sermon was met with loud applause from them and others attending the service.

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