“Finally taking responsibility”

German bishops © Arne Dedert

In the process of coming to terms with abuse in the Catholic Church, the German government's independent commission has now come forward as well. She said the measures announced by the German bishops had disappointed her.

About a week after the presentation of the study on child abuse, the independent processing commission has appealed to the Catholic Church to "finally take responsibility and begin a comprehensive and independent processing". Above all, the people affected by sexual violence will again be required a lot of patience.

The commission began its work at the beginning of 2016. It aims to investigate the extent and consequences of child abuse in Germany and is hosted by the Federal Government Commissioner on Abuse.

Seven-point plan of the Bishops' Conference

The bishops presented the study at their plenary meeting in Fulda. In the church files from 1946 to 2014, the team of researchers commissioned by the bishops had found evidence of 3.677 victims of sexual assault and on about 1.670 accused priests, deacons and religious. The experts also ame that there are further cases that are not recorded in the files.

With a 7-point plan, the bishops want to advance the process of coming to terms with the past. This provides, among other things, for the inclusion of those affected and external experts in the reappraisal. In addition, church personnel files are to be standardized. The recognition payments made so far to abuse victims would have to be reviewed.

Accusation of half-heartedness

The commission also stressed that the bishops' vague statement did not do justice to the extent of sexual abuse of minors uncovered in the study and the dimensions of the cover-up within the Catholic Church. It seems half-hearted and does not show a clear acceptance of responsibility.

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Christina Cherry
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