“Many sweeping judgments”

In view of the abuse study, Wurzburg Bishop Franz Jung thinks nothing of abolishing celibacy. The obligatory celibacy of priests, however, does not release them from the examination of their own sexual maturity.

Wurzburg's Bishop Franz Jung spoke at the Priests' and Deacons' Day in Heidenfeld on Monday about the abuse study and the debate about compulsory celibacy. The process of coming to terms with one's own sexuality is demanded of every human being and remains a lifelong task. "It should worry us, however, that 90 percent of sexual child abuse, viewed as a whole, occurs in the parental home."

It is also beyond doubt for him that the promise of celibacy also applies to priests with homosexual orientation, the bishop continued. "Homosexual as well as heterosexual priests are equally called upon to develop a mature and redeemed approach to their own sexuality."In only a few cases, an unsuccessful integration of sexuality leads into sexual abuse.

Exemplary clergy too little mentioned

Jung spoke of other knock-on effects to which clerics are also susceptible. "Striving for power and career, ruthless bossiness, swanky lifestyle, fixation on financial ies, inner resignation, lack of self-esteem, withdrawal to oneself, depressive mood, paralyzing fatigue – the list could be continued."

At the same time, the bishop emphasized that at present there is no mention at all of the fact that many clergymen have done their job well and have tried to the best of their ability to be good pastors. "Disturbing and in my eyes also hurtful are many sweeping judgments, not least from the mouths of church dignitaries, which are made about priests and which we all, I as bishop and you as my direct collaborators, have to endure. That hurts."

Accompanying priests over 40 years old

Jung sees a need for action in the accompaniment of the clergy. The abuse study had shown that most acts of abuse were committed about 13 years after ordination to the priesthood, between 40 and 42 years of age. This would be related to a phase of lack of spiritual orientation, probably triggered by a life crisis.

Here it would need a break for priests to deepen their own vocation. The personnel department of the diocese has been commissioned to draw up an appropriate concept.

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Christina Cherry
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