The Catholic Church in Germany misjudged the dimension of child sexual abuse for decades, according to Cardinal Reinhard Marx: the turning point was not reached until January 2010.
The cases at the Canisius College in Berlin were the trigger, the president of the German Bishops' Conference explained on Thursday at the Katholikentag in Munster. Only then did the church really take the perspective of the victims seriously and put it in the center of attention. Previously, he said, the focus had been on defending and questioning the credibility of the accusers.
Marx stressed that the church must maintain the different thinking it has "bitterly learned" in the crisis, also in the future. "We must remain leaders in society in coming to terms with and preventing abuse," cardinal said.
Child protection expert: abuse has reached another level
The church's child protection expert, Father Hans Zollner SJ, who works around the world on behalf of the pope, said the church has "arrived at another level" in dealing with abuse.
Church leaders in all countries would have to face this ie now. The victims expected justice from them. This also includes the willingness to listen to them, as Pope Francis has repeatedly done in an exemplary manner in long and intensive encounters.