The German Bishops' Conference has presented an interim report of its hotline for victims of sexual violence. Accordingly, from March to mid-October of this year, 3.431 calls were made over the phone and 213 Internet counseling sessions were used.

22.845 people obtained information about the service at www.HELP ABUSE.de. The basis of the interim report is 1.325 basic survey questionnaires and 245 additional survey questionnaires with statistical data on telephone and Internet consultations. The nationwide hotline for victims of sexual violence is a service offered by the life counseling center in the diocese of Trier (integrated parenting, marriage, family and life counseling) on behalf of the German Bishops' Conference.

Christina Cherry
Personnel change in difficult times

Thomas Sternberg © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

Thomas Sternberg is an exceptionally versatile person. Theologian, art expert, politician and since 2015 president of the Central Committee of German Catholics. However, he does not intend to run for this office again.

He says he already announced this when he was first elected. Friends and fellow campaigners are nevertheless surprised and shocked: The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK), Thomas Sternberg (69), announced on Friday that he will not run for office again in November.

Christina Cherry

For 16 years, Monika Bormann has been the head of the "Neue Wege" counseling center of Caritas in Bochum, which deals with the care of sexually abused children. It still happens that she is shaken by the encounters with the young victims. For example, if an abused girl doesn't want to tell what happened.

Despite her many years of experience, the 55-year-old is still moved by the fate of the children today. "Being a victim means feeling guilty and dirty, believing you did something wrong," she explains. "This can last for months and years – and sometimes for a lifetime." —- "Counseling Center Against Abuse, Neglect and Sexual Abuse of Children" is the full name of "New Paths". For 19 years, she has been a contact point for children and young people, some of whom have had extremely traumatic experiences. "Our mission is to help boys and girls get through life as best we can with what they've been through," Bormann explains.

Christina Cherry

Belgium's church has once again promised comprehensive help for victims and transparency in the investigation of abuse allegations. A new center is to provide advice and assistance to victims of clergy sexual abuse.

That was announced by the bishops' conference president, Archbishop Andre-Joseph Leonard, and two other bishops on Monday (13.09.2010) indicated: "We need to build new bridges between victims and the church, between victims and the judiciary, between the church and the judiciary and other parties involved," said Bishop Guy Harpigny, who is responsible for investigating allegations of abuse in Tournai.

Christina Cherry

Invented in Berlin: the first train station mission opened its doors in 1894. Two million people a year now seek advice at the 104 stations nationwide – including an increasing number of mentally ill and lonely people.

When he can't fall asleep, Gerhard T. on the way, alone through the big city, in the middle of the night. "I wake up every half hour and then I go to the station mission because the people here are nice and I can have a bit of a chat," says the 80-year-old.

The retiree is one of about two million people who visit one of the 104 station missions nationwide each year. The facility has been in existence for 125 years. It was invented in Berlin: The anniversary will be celebrated on Friday in the capital with a ceremony that will be attended by Federal Family Minister Franziska Giffey, Berlin's governing mayor Michael Muller (both SPD) and Archbishop Heiner Koch.

Christina Cherry

The first fertility fair will be held in Berlin this weekend. In addition to the criticism from politics and the medical profession, Bishop Gebhard Furst also warns against this type of "consumer fair" in an interview.

CBA: Bishop Furst, what bothers you about the first "childbearing days"??

Bishop Gebhard Furst (Bishop of Rottenburg-Stuttgart and Chairman of the Sub-Commission on Bioethics of the German Bishops' Conference): I have nothing against it if couples who want to have children can inform themselves about possibilities of support and advice. But a commercial format like the "Kinderwunsch-Tage" is not the appropriate serious framework. This is also indicated by the fact that the Federal Association of Reproductive Medicine Centers and the Professional Association of Gynecologists do not take part in it. A large number of foreign providers present themselves here, advertising reproductive medicine techniques that are ethically unacceptable and prohibited in Germany. They obviously want to earn from anonymous sperm donation, egg donation or surrogacy.

Christina Cherry

Around 100.000 women and men sought advice and help in the Catholic pregnancy counseling centers in Germany in 2011. Most women and families would come with financial problems. "There is a lack of sparing room, a financial buffer to cushion the additional needs triggered by the birth of a child," says Caritas consultant Sabine Fahndrich.

As in the previous year, about 1.2 percent of them were in an "existential pregnancy conflict," according to the annual report of the counseling centers of Caritas and Sozialdienst katholischer Frauen (SkF) published by the magazine "neue caritas" (new caritas). This corresponds to 1.182 counseling seekers who consciously sought out a Catholic pregnancy counseling center and are aware that they will not be ied a counseling certificate.

Christina Cherry
Conditions not consistently observed

The diocese of Munster has admitted that it did not consistently enforce conditions against a priest accused of abuse. At the weekend, a letter from those affected was read out in the services of a Kevelaer parish.

The diocese of Munster has made public another case of abuse and admitted mistakes in dealing with the current retired clergyman. This is in the 1980s as a chaplain in the Lower Rhine pilgrimage town of Kevelaer in the context of the confession over a longer period of time to a girl sexually have committed, as the diocese announced on Sunday.

Christina Cherry
What did wuerl know?

Vatican wants to tackle problems in Washington archdiocese ahead of abuse summit at Vatican. But now a letter of apology from Cardinal Wuerl stirs up tempers again.

Twice in the past few days, the priests of the influential capital diocese of Washington received mail from their former bishop and current apostolic administrator, Cardinal Donald Wuerl. Both cases involved the "Causa McCarrick," Cardinal Theodore McCarrick (88), who fell over abuse allegations. He faces removal from priesthood in canon law case.

Christina Cherry
Help on the line

Anyone who is sad and needs someone to talk to can dial the number of the telephone counselling service – and has been doing so for the past 60 years. More and more people are also seeking counseling via chat or mail.

Telephone counselling in Germany celebrates its 60th anniversary. Birthday. In 2015, people seeking advice contacted counselors around 1.8 million times via landline or cell phone; around 6.300 people seeking advice used mail contact. The number of chat sessions grew sharply to 9.800 an. Around 8.000 volunteers and 188 full-time staff in 105 offices nationwide are there around the clock for desperate people. Fears, mental and physical limitations and relationship ies are the most common themes, according to officials in Cologne on Tuesday.

Christina Cherry