Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch has called on the church to make a fresh start. "In the Crucified One, we are met by those who suffer from the injustices inflicted on them, including by representatives of the Church. This fills us with shame and horror," he wrote in a Good Friday message.
From this Good Friday a new beginning could go out, which also the Catholic church urgently needs. On the afternoon of Good Friday, the faithful were called to prayer in Catholic services at the hour of Jesus' death for victims of sexual abuse and those "who have become guilty and have sinned grievously". According to the diocese, the 71-year-old Zollitsch himself has fallen ill with a viral infection and will not be able to attend the Holy and Easter liturgies in Freiburg Cathedral. The church's main focus is on the victims, its sympathy and "all possible support," said the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference. The helping eye for the victims had not been sufficiently given in another social situation because of the "disappointment about the painful failure of the perpetrators and out of misunderstood concern for the reputation of the church". This is also "a sorrowful reality that we have to face," the archbishop warns. Zollitsch calls news of sexual abuse of children and young people by church employees painful and speaks repeatedly of grief, horror and shame. "We are shocked by the suffering inflicted on the victims, who often could not put their injuries into words for decades," he stresses. Wounds have been torn that can hardly be healed, they say. The cross, Zollitsch writes further, gives the opportunity to "accept reality as it is". It was not those who faced the cross who were out of touch with reality, but all those who thought they could banish suffering and hardship from this world.