Hope for help from above

The Benedictines of the Ettal monastery have asked Pope Benedict XVI. Apostolic visitation requested. It should help members of the order to make a new start, according to a "personal statement" by Abbot Barnabas Bogle and Father Maurus Krab published on Wednesday.

Both had resigned from their posts last week, Krab was prior and principal. "It is with deep shame that we know that Ettal monks became perpetrators and accomplices and irresponsibly kept silent about what happened," Bogle and Krab said. Children and young people were "abused and mistreated in our house". The guilt that this places on religious calls for a fundamental spiritual reorientation of the community. Regarding the criticism of her resignation from the circle of Ettal graduates and parents of students, the two Benedictines explained that at present "all our attention must be directed to the victims of abuse". Abbot and prior had resigned because they had not reported allegations from the years 2003 and 2005 to the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising according to the regulations. Apostolic visitations should help to clarify abuses in Catholic institutions. Most recently, the congregation of the "Legionaries of Christ" and the women's orders in the USA were visited, among other things, because of different incidents. Four Benedictine priests, one of whom is already deceased, are suspected of having committed assaults on children. According to a report from last Friday, 20 former students are involved. Most of the incidents, including the violent handling of wards, are said to have occurred in the 1970s and 1980s. One case, from 2005, is said to involve "tangible sexual abuse". Meanwhile, Federal Family Minister Kristina Schroder (CDU) welcomed a round table on child abuse with all social groups. She thus endorsed a proposal by the chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch. At the same time, she indirectly criticized the statements of her cabinet colleague Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP): "I think it's wrong to pillory only the Catholic Church now."Schroder explained that problems with child abuse also exist in non-church boarding schools, sports clubs and families. Therefore, he said, the idea is good "to gather all actors to develop common strategies". The minister received praise from the head of the Catholic Office at the Federal Government, Prelate Karl Justen. The round table could make a proper reappraisal possible. Schroder had recognized that sexual abuse was a problem for society as a whole. Meanwhile, the diocese of Limburg said it was investigating allegations of sexual abuse of minors that had been made against "some" priests. The public prosecutor's office then initiated a preliminary investigation. Diocesan Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst called for a quick and decisive clarification of the matter. According to the diocese's account, it involves one suspected case dating back to the 1940s and one from the 1960s. The accused had been dead for a long time. In addition, there are accusations that refer to acts that were committed only "a few years ago". CDU veteran Heiner Geibler (80) criticized the sexual morals of the Catholic Church as mendacious. "The sexual life is suspected of being something potentially bad with her," he said. At the same time, the church has always applied strict standards in sexual matters. The abuse cases, however, showed that there was a wide gap between claim and reality.

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Christina Cherry
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