Heinrich Bedford-Strohm © Wolfgang Kumm
The abuse scandal hits the Catholic Church in Germany hard. The German Bishops' Conference has commissioned a study to come to terms with this. But how does it look in the Protestant Church? What does she plan to do?
The Protestant Church in Germany (EKD) is not currently planning a study on sexual abuse comparable to that of the Catholic Church. "In line with the structure of the Protestant Church, the reappraisal processes were local and regional," EKD Council President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) in Rome on Thursday.
Among other things, he referred to the final report of the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Northern Germany from 2014 on the abuse scandal in Ahrensburg. In 2010, it became known that a pastor had abused several young people over a period of years.
Catalog of measures adopted
He also said that "every institution, including sports clubs and other non-religious associations, must make the greatest possible efforts within its own organization to protect children, young people and others in need of protection from sexual violence". In this regard, "the Protestant church is also called upon to continue its efforts," said the Bavarian bishop.
Above all, the bishop of Hamburg, Kirsten Fehrs, is dealing with the topic. Although not every regional church has a representative for abuse, there are contact persons in every church. In addition, the church conference of the EKD had just "decided on a catalog of measures, which will now be transported to all regional churches.".
Among other things, he said, the wish of the Council of Affected People in Berlin to have contact persons outside the church would be taken into account. In addition, a council of commissioners is being set up at EKD level. In addition to Fehrs, Bishops Jochen Cornelius-Bundschuh (Baden) and Christoph Meyns (Braunschweig) were also members of the conference. Existing prevention measures need to be examined and further improved, Bedford-Strohm added. In the parishes, too, "more needs to be done, we're not at the end of that yet".
One shares the horror with the Catholic Church
At present, he does not perceive any negative effects of the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church on the Protestant Church. However, one shares with the Catholic "the horror that something like this happens in an institution that refers to Jesus Christ, who is the personified love of God. This, they say, is the biggest contradiction imaginable.
According to the resolution of the church conference, which is available to the CBA, the number of cases of suffering suffered by the Independent Commissions of the regional churches, the amount of financial benefits and the number of disciplinary proceedings in connection with violations of sexual self-determination are also to be collected "and publicly communicated as appropriate".
Recommendations are also planned for the regional churches on "systematic organizational investigations in the church subdivisions to minimize the risk of sexualized violence.".