As a "milestone in the commitment against sexual abuse," the abuse commissioner of the German Bishops' Conference, Stephan Ackermann, has praised the congress on sexual abuse currently taking place in Rome. The conference on "Towards Healing and Renewal" at the Pontifical Gregorian University showed "how important it is for the Church to deal with this ie".
"With this, the Pope makes it clear that the Church wants to approach the reappraisal worldwide proactively and even more systematically," the bishop of Trier explained in Rome on Wednesday.
The debate is far from over
220 representatives of 110 bishops' conferences are taking part in the high-level congress, which ends on Thursday. The symposium had opened with a message from the pope in which he urged that concern for the victims be made a primary concern of the church.
"The exchange with the bishops' conferences of other countries shows me that we are not at a zero point both in the processing and in the prevention," Ackermann emphasized. However, the confrontation with the offenses of sexualized violence is far from over. Measures adopted must also be implemented and checked for effectiveness, he said.
Painful and bitter
Ackermann described as particularly moving the report of an Irish victim at the congress, who had been a victim of sexual abuse by a clergyman as a child. "It was very painful and bitter to hear this life story and, above all, the failure of the competent authorities in an unvarnished way."
Maria Flachsbarth (CDU), the religious affairs representative of the CDU/CSU parliamentary group, also praised the congress as an "important sign". The church thus underlined "how much it cares about clarification and prevention," she said in Berlin. Pope Benedict XVI. had expressed on several occasions how serious he was about helping victims. At the same time, the CDU politician recalled that abuse of children and young people takes place in all areas of society. "It would be wrong if we only looked at the church," said Flachsbarth.
From Germany, the Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, is also taking part in the congress. He will address the participants tomorrow. On 20. January 2012, an international child protection center of the Pontifical Gregorian University was opened in Munich. The event is sponsored by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The center will be presented at the congress.