Is the strategy a hair's breadth off?

Is the strategy a hair's breadth off?

Clear words towards the Vatican: The Jesuit Klaus Mertes sees the pontificate of Pope Francis with regard to the fight against sexual abuse increasingly critical. In his view, its strategy is "all off by a hair's breadth".

He sees "with sadness" that excellent impulses, such as through "Amoris laetitia," are now overshadowed by the impression that "for all his good intentions, he ultimately does not understand what the abuse consists of in its systemic dimension," Mertes said in an interview with the magazine "Voice of the Family".

In this context, he referred to Pope Francis' speech at the conclusion of the anti-abuse summit at the Vatican last February. The core message was that the perpetrator was the absolute evil and should be punished severely. In addition, there must be prevention and "the meshes must be made so tight that no perpetrator can slip through any more.". Amoris laetitia" is a teaching letter of the Pope on marriage and family published in 2016.

"Harshly beside the point"

In Mertes' estimation, "everything about this strategy is off by a hair's breadth". The perpetrator did not come in from the outside, but came from the inside. Moreover, it is not only about the perpetrators, but also about the cover-up. In this respect, the systemic ie is being distracted from. He went on to criticize when church officials approach the ie with "purification rhetoric," they "reinforce the misleading notion" that the church is actually pure. The dirty comes from the outside.

Mertes pleaded for an increased division of power within the church. He could imagine, Mertes said, that the bishops would go along with an internal church jurisdiction. "Many bishops are moving at the moment," he stressed. For example, he said, the ie of homosexuality is now controversial.

Far from the reality of life

"Many realize that by clinging to the concept of nature, the church has catapulted itself out of dialogue with society". On the topics of sexuality and relationships, the church is "far away from the reality of life". And: "The people do not listen any more, also the very largest part of the Catholics". The church is "no longer intellectually satisfactory in this area".

Mertes made public cases of abuse in 2010 as then head of Berlin Jesuit school Canisius College. In doing so, he triggered a broad debate that is still ongoing today. In the meantime Mertes is director of the Jesuit school Sankt Blasien in the Black Forest.

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Christina Cherry
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