“Painful learning process”

Sexual abuse in the church © Julian Stratenschulte

The chairman of the German Catholic Bishops' Conference, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has admitted that the Catholic Church has failed to deal with cases of abuse.

"For the church and also for myself, it was a painful learning process to think and act above all and in everything from the perspective of the victims," Marx told the Hamburg weekly newspaper "Die Zeit". The church, he included, has been too unaware of what priests can do to young people.

"Behavior of the Catholic Church not always appropriate"

The behavior of the Catholic Church has not always been appropriate to the suffering situations of the victims, Marx said. "For me personally, I want to state explicitly that I realize today, and unfortunately only in retrospect, that I should have inquired more intensely," he added.

At the request of the newspaper

Marx made the comments when asked by the newspaper about the case of a man, now 32, who was reportedly abused several times as an adolescent by the priest of his Catholic parish in Saarland. Cardinal Marx was then, in 2006, bishop of Trier and thus also responsible for Saarland. The priest was not condemned.

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