“Celibacy is not the real problem”

Could celibacy be a reason for clergy abuse in the Catholic Church? Passau Bishop Stefan Oster has his doubts about this and sees no need to discuss celibacy in principle.

The results of the German Bishops' Conference's abuse study made it clear that celibacy was "not the real problem," Youth Bishop Stefan Oster of Passau told the ZDF morning show on Wednesday.

Systemic problem?

The problem lies rather in the fact that the way of life and the system of the Catholic Church has always attracted people who "are possibly sexually immature and have a problem and hope to be able to suppress it in the church in such a structure, not to have to face it," Oster said.

This "immature disposition" in combination with the celibacy has possibly favored assaults.

At the same time, Oster again stressed the importance of a systemic change within the church. In the past, it was too often a matter of protecting the institution of the church. The system of the Catholic Church, which operates in part as a "closed society of men," has encouraged acts of abuse.

Too little looked at those affected

"We have not looked, or have looked far too little, at the people concerned."A cultural change is needed that puts those affected by abuse in the center and listens to them. This applies especially to the reappraisal, in which one will continue to rely on independent support.

Bishops continue deliberations – abuse and youth synod

The Catholic bishops continue their deliberations this Wednesday at the plenary session in Fulda. After the presentation of the abuse study, the debates on the topic of sexual abuse by clergy continue. At the end of the meeting, the bishops plan to present initial consequences and further steps on Thursday.

At the presentation of the study on Tuesday, the bishops had asked for apologies and confessed that one had denied, looked away and covered up for far too long. Scientists, politicians and victims' associations called, among other things, for a debate on church structures that can foster abuse.

Other topics to be discussed at the meeting include refugee work, the current organ donation debate and the upcoming World Synod of Bishops on Youth and the Church. The debate over the reception of communion for non-Catholic spouses is also to be raised once again.

The bishops meet twice a year for the plenary assembly, in spring at changing locations, in fall traditionally in Fulda at the grave of the "Apostle of the Germans," St. Boniface. (CBA)

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Christina Cherry
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