After gaining an insight into the expert report on the sexual abuse, those responsible appeared before the press. our site editor-in-chief Ingo Bruggenjurgen was there.
Interviewer: How then has the expert opinion in Aachen been received by the diocese leadership?
Ingo Bruggenjurgen (our site editor-in-chief): First the 459 pages of the report had to be read. From one perspective or another, the eyes of those responsible at the top of the diocese must have been opened. Bishop Helmut Dieser has just said that a change of perspective is urgently needed. The church must engage much more strongly than before with those affected and try to empathize with their feelings. Church decision-makers would have to ask themselves above all the questions: What did we do and what did we not do?? The expert opinion could help to better recognize this responsibility. Only the truth can heal the deep wounds.
Interviewer: Concrete steps have already been named?
Bruggenjurgen: Yes, the diocese of Aachen also wants to be a pioneer in this area. Already to the 1. January one wants to set up an independent investigation commission, which all dioceses in Germany have decreed. At the same time, it was said that one would like to quickly and unbureaucratically transfer the appropriate aid, for the recognition of the suffering suffered. In addition the therapy costs are to be taken over.
According to Bishop Dieser, it is very important to give courage in the near future. Courage to the fact that there is really a new atmosphere and that also possibly still humans can announce themselves, who are concerned and up to now could not bring themselves through. The bishop himself is also available for discussion. At the same time he also said that he wants to keep the prere on the former responsible persons constant, so that the former responsible persons themselves admit their personal responsibility and do the necessary self-reflection.
Ultimately, it is a cultural change that has been ordered here by the diocese leadership. Bishop This said: 'We must not be a Teflon church!"So it's not a church that bounces everything off, but a church that really takes the concerns and needs of those affected to heart.
Interviewer: How does the bishop want to achieve this change of perspective, this cultural change??
Bruggenjurgen: That, which already became clear in the expert opinion on Friday, the bishop makes his own: Overcoming clericalism. He said again very clearly that priests do not have a better status. They have weaknesses just as much and these weaknesses must be named. For too long, the public has always been concerned with itself, with the protection of its own holy church. That's what they want to do differently now. In this respect, it is a very clear message from Bishop Dieser, who has also clearly stated that he does not only want to try this in Aachen, but also wants to carry it into the Bishops' Conference and thus into the entire German Church.
Interviewer: On the podium in Aachen was also the personnel manager of the diocese and the Vicar General of Aachen. What was important to them now that they know the expert opinion??
Bruggenjurgen: The head of the personnel department, Margherita Onorato-Simonis, has said that they also need better file management. The report has made clear that there are gaps and things have been taken out, there are whole files missing. That will not happen with her. It also wants to focus entirely on ensuring that those affected receive the necessary protection. It wants to work for a culture of looking, without regard to the church hierarchs.
Those were already strong words. The vicar general, Dr. Peter, has also agreed to these steps. Andreas Frick connected, who as vicar general has his hands full at the moment organizing it all. But the diocese of Aachen is leading the way. Andreas Frick said again that the truth must be revealed relentlessly and that they will help unbureaucratically, pragmatically and quickly. Because there are many who have not yet come forward and they should also come forward now and find the courage.
Interviewer: How are these efforts of the diocese of Aachen to be evaluated?
Bruggenjurgen: The report itself, which the Aacheners have presented, is a new dimension in the Catholic Church. This already became clear on Friday. A colleague has said that this is now the "gold standard" that is being put on here. Indeed, the diocese is making mileage here. I believe that these were very new sounds. It's simply a whole new role that those in charge at the top of the diocese have found.
The diocese is not starting from scratch, but it has just made it very clear that this is really about a completely new kind of church, about a cultural change. It now remains to be seen whether this attempt to regain lost credibility will succeed for those in charge. In my eyes, you yourself have done everything necessary for this to happen. Now we'll have to wait and see if this actually succeeds. One would not wish it only on the diocese of Aachen.
The interview was conducted by Dagmar Peters.