Thomas Sternberg © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
Praise: The president of the Central Committee of German Catholics has welcomed the latest agreement between the Catholic Church and the German government's abuse commissioner to come to terms with sexual abuse.
"As already announced in January of this year, the German bishops were thus able to agree on a uniform church procedure," explained Thomas Sternberg on in Bonn.
"The Independent Working Group is to be thanked for its collaboration on the declaration. As already stated in our resolution of the end of March, we consider the independence of the local commissions and the inter-diocesan exchange to be particularly important in the implementation as well. Only with openness, transparency and clear standards can the widespread mistrust be countered in the face of cover-ups that were common in the past," Sternberg emphasized.
It also said it would ensure "appropriate participation" of those concerned. "The Convention, in addition to the establishment of uniform prevention standards, is another important step towards a reappraisal of sexual abuse that can become a model," said the ZdK President.
Commitment and implementation
Sternberg explained that he expects a "similar binding force and implementation" also with regard to the recognition of suffering suffered in dioceses and religious orders in the sense of a declaration adopted by the ZdK Main Committee.
The bishops had previously discussed the ie under the chairmanship of Limburg Bishop Georg Batzing. The Federal Government Commissioner for Abuse, Johannes-Wilhelm Rorig, and the Bishops' Conference Commissioner for Abuse, Bishop Stephan Ackermann, agreed on key points last November. Accordingly, the reappraisal in the dioceses should be carried out by independent commissions transparently and according to uniform criteria.
Thus, in the future, there should be such an independent commission in all 27 dioceses; some dioceses have already begun a reappraisal according to established standards. The commissions are to include representatives of the respective diocese, experts from science, professional practice, the judiciary and public administration, as well as those affected.