In an extraordinary ceremony, Hildesheim Bishop Norbert Trelle asked for forgiveness for lapses of the church throughout history.
During the service on Ash Wednesday evening in the Hildesheim cathedral Trelle confessed kneeling before the altar the sins in the history of the diocese Hildesheim. "We have not recognized that our place is with the victims of violence and abuse," Trelle said.
The jubilee celebrations for the 1.The 200th anniversary of the diocese is also a reason to pause and be aware of past transgressions, "the sins of ourselves and the sins of those who belonged to the Church of Hildesheim before us.".
Asking forgiveness for violence and sexual abuse
Trelle also asked for forgiveness for violence and sexual abuse that priests and church employees have inflicted on children. Eyes have remained closed for too long, and the church has left the victims alone for too long. "Today we see that we have not walked the path of love and have omitted good things. Now we stand before you, merciful God, in this time. We stand before you and the people, weighed down with old guilt. We ask for forgiveness," said the bishop.
Previously, Trelle had already confessed guilt for the violent spread of faith in the Middle Ages, for example, in the Crusades, the sale of indulgences, the burning of witches and the acceptance of the division of faith through the Reformation and the Thirty Years War.
Commemoration of those persecuted in religious wars
During the ceremony, which lasted about half an hour, the bishop was assisted by auxiliary bishops Nikolaus Schwerdtfeger and Heinz-Gunter Bongartz, as well as diocesan council president Elisabet Eicke and Jubilee project director Thomas Hartling. During the Crusades, "the use of violence at that time was justified in the name of God," said Elisabeth Eicke. Thomas Harling commemorated those persecuted as a result of religious wars and witch trials.
Auxiliary Bishop Dr. Nikolaus Schwerdtfeger lamented "the failure of the church during the time of National Socialism" and auxiliary bishop Heinz-Gunter Bongartz confessed: "For too long, eyes have been closed to the sexual abuse of wards and to violence in education." Afterwards, the traditional distribution of the ash cross as a sign of repentance took place. Intercessions followed for all people who had been wronged by the church.