Honest willingness to clarify

In the abuse scandal at Jesuit high schools, about 115 mostly male victims have come forward nationwide. They had named 12 perpetrators, the Jesuits' abuse commissioner, Ursula Raue, said Thursday in Berlin.

She called on the order to clarify the matter quickly, while at the same time attesting to its sincere willingness to do so. Order Provincial Stefan Dartmann said in a first reaction that the Jesuits wanted to provide additional personnel for Raues' work. In addition, working groups should be set up in the three Jesuit high schools in Berlin, Bonn and Sankt Blasien to deal with the allegations. Dartmann emphasized that, like Raue, he advocates that religious high schools designate contact persons for students and offer supervision and training for religious employees to prevent abuse in the future. The provincial called the extent of the attacks "frightening and shameful". It was also a disgrace for the order that in the files from the time of the acts there was no reflection on what damage the assaults had caused to children and young people. In her interim report, Raue said that up to 50 cases concerned the Canisius College in Berlin, the remaining cases the Saint Ansgar School in Hamburg, formerly run by Jesuits, the Jesuit College of Saint Blasien in the Black Forest, and the Aloisius College in Bonn. 9 cases refer to ecclesiastical educational institutions that were not under Jesuit sponsorship, including a Protestant one. Two women were also named among the perpetrators. The lawyer stressed, with the assaults in the 70's and 80's it had been predominantly cases, with which the physical injuries had been less serious. Among them so far no rape by a Jesuit is known to her. Even minor acts had hurt the victims, however, sometimes severely and for a long time mentally.

Pallottines also affected After the Jesuits, the Pallottines also reported on Thursday about cases of sexual abuse in a former religious institution. A pupil of the former Convict Saint Albert in Rheinbach near Bonn had stated two years ago that he and two other boys had been abused by a priest in the early 1960s, said the spokesman of the German Pallottine Province, Nicolas Schnall, in Limburg. The accused priest had left the order in the 1960s. The school was closed in 1967. The offences are likely to be time-barred under criminal law. Meanwhile, Rottenburg Bishop Gebhard Furst objected to the impression that the situation in his diocese was "particularly bad". In an e-mail to his staff, Furst refers to a graphic in the magazine "Spiegel," in which 23 suspected cases were listed for Rottenburg, more than in any other German diocese. "But what at first appears to be particularly problematic turns out, on closer inspection, to be an indication of a particularly careful handling of the problem," the bishop said. He had enacted strict regulations in 2002. Openness and transparency could make it easier for victims to come forward.

Appointment of a central contact person The Catholic theologian and psychotherapist Wunibald Muller called for a revision of the guidelines of the Bishops' Conference. In "Herder Korrespondenz," he advocated the appointment of a central contact person at the bishops' conference who would maintain contact with the Vatican and coordinate the work of diocesan commissioners. It must also be ensured that the regional commissioners, to whom victims of abuse can turn, are not part of the diocese's management team. In addition, all dioceses should be obliged to set up a working group with external experts, for example from psychotherapy or the judiciary. The psychotherapist also advocates a "careful selection process among candidates for the priesthood".

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