Bitter look back and more hopeful look forward

Representatives of 110 bishops' conferences are currently meeting in Rome to discuss experiences and ways out of the abuse crisis. Stephan Ackermann is here on behalf of the German bishops. The Bishop of Trier speaks on our site interview about the chances of the meeting.

Interviewer: With a greeting from Pope Benedict XVI. the three-day congress opened Monday evening. What did he put at the center of this conference?

Ackermann: The Pope has once again emphasized how important it is for the Church to deal with this ie; that it is also really pro-actively pursued. This shows: Even if Congress is organized by the Gregorian University, the Pope participates very awake and makes it clear: We want to actively address this ie as a Church worldwide.
Interviewer: The pope, in opening the congress on abuse in the church, called for an "effective and vigorous culture of protective measures. What do they hope this Congress will do to protect children and young people?

Ackermann: All continents and almost all bishops' conferences are represented – I hope this will lead to greater networking and mutual benefit from the experiences made. For cultural reasons, the topic was perceived differently on the various continents. So the Americans are very professional. And if this existing knowledge is shared here, it is definitely a help – also for the prevention and protection of children and young people worldwide. And it would be even nicer, of course, if this not only applies to the space of the church, but if the church, through the painful and bitter experiences from the crimes that we have to look in the eye, can provide assistance for the prevention of sexual abuse in society as well.
Interviewer: For far too long, the church has looked the other way and left victims alone, often even negating and covering up the acts. What does the Catholic Church want to do so that such terrible acts can never again be made taboo??

Ackermann: This morning we also talked about it, a victim from Ireland has described her way there. It also became clear that the worst thing after abuse is when the victims are not believed, or are not believed at all. has been. When those responsible in the church have not taken their responsibility in the church enough. That is precisely why the crucial thing is to listen to the victims, to raise awareness and to be vigilant. These measures are a global priority. And all those who are here are motivated to learn and to take action so that the subject does not slip back into taboo.
Interviewer: What moved them most about the victims' report?

Ackermann: How the lady from the diocese of Dublin described her path: very open, unvarnished and bitter. Not only the sexual violence she suffered as a child in a home, but the journey she took for decades until she was believed, until it got to the point where the perpetrator was brought to justice. In doing so, she also clearly named the negligence of the bishop in charge, but without bitterness, instead with a staggering clarity.

The interview was conducted by Monika Weib – listen to it in full here.

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Christina Cherry
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