According to his own words, Limburg Bishop Georg Batzing feels negative effects of the debate in the Archdiocese of Cologne when it comes to dealing with abuse in his diocese. In this case he expressed himself "as a neighbor" of the Archbishopric of Cologne.
Batzing said Thursday in an online press conference that the "situation in Cologne" influences the diocese of Limburg "in a considerable way, because I feel that in the public and inner-church perception and also among those affected, the question is stronger again: can I believe them? Can I even be prepared to participate in this? Seems credible to me?"
Batzing added: "This is what we are fighting, and it also has something to do with the Cologne situation."The Bishop of Limburg emphasized that he was not speaking as president of the German Bishops' Conference, but "as a neighbor" of the Archdiocese of Cologne.
There, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki is criticized for not publishing an expert report on the handling of abuse cases by the diocese leadership, which has been ready for months. The Archbishop of Cologne justified this with "methodological deficiencies" and commissioned a new investigation, the results of which were published on 18. The report was to be presented in March.
Abuse study of the Limburg diocese
Batzing emphasized with regard to the abuse study of the diocese of Limburg, which was already presented in June 2020: "We want disclosure of acts, accused and affected and we want the disclosure of those responsible with their names – and we have done that."
It is about a cultural change in the way the church deals with sexual abuse. Only through transparency and the demonstration of results could one "gain new trust". Batzing added: "You can never regain trust that has been lost."
The total of 64 measures proposed by the authors of the Limburg Abuse Study in a 421-page report are to be implemented this year and next year.
Planned advisory council for those affected
Batzing referred, for example, to the planned nine-person joint victims' advisory council for the dioceses of Limburg, Mainz and Fulda. In addition, there will be a complaints management system where those affected can turn to the diocese "at a low threshold".
In addition, "at the level of the German Bishops' Conference, there will be a framework law on personnel file management, which will then be adapted by the individual dioceses.". The preparatory work for this is very advanced. "We will have this framework law this year," Batzing said. He hopes "before the summer".