“Recognition of suffering”

Should church tax funds also be used to compensate victims of sexual abuse? Norbert Ludecke, an ecclesiastical lawyer from Bonn, believes this is necessary when other church sources of funds are insufficient.

Because "we lay people" had financed the "structural power" of the church, against which those affected were still fighting today. Whoever says that compensation should "not be paid with my money" is abandoning those affected, Ludecke told Hessischer Rundfunk (hr-Info) on Tuesday.

Ludecke stressed that he had only low expectations of the plenary assembly of the Bishops' Conference meeting this week in Fulda, which among other things wants to deal with the processing of the abuse scandal. He criticized the fact that church payments were not about "compensation" but about "recognition of suffering.

"Cynical gamble" with victims' lifetimes

Compensation takes measure of the objectively incurred damage and serves a claim, Ludecke says. Those who acknowledge suffering, on the other hand, retain the power of assessment and show generosity.

With regard to the victims, the church lawyer spoke of a "cynical game" with their lifetime, which causes fatigue effects. Ludecke questioned which promises victims should still believe. The church could save money but risk losing the "much more important asset" of trust and credibility.

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