Not only address abuse, but also prevent it in the future: The prevention officer of the Archdiocese of Cologne would like to see a special focus on the well-being of children – as well as a response to preventive measures on the ground.

Interviewer: The fact that your office as prevention officer exists is a direct consequence of the cases of abuse that became known in 2010. What exactly are your tasks as a prevention officer??

Manuela Rottgen (Prevention Officer of the Archdiocese of Cologne): Prevention officers coordinate the prevention measures, which are written down in the respective prevention regulations of the dioceses. This means that we support and advise all our sponsors in the Archdiocese of Cologne – i.e. all daycare centers, schools, parishes and youth welfare facilities – in implementing the measures described in these prevention regulations in concrete terms on the ground.

Christina Cherry

Synod of the EKD © Norbert Neetz (epd)

In November, the Protestant Church in Germany presented an eleven-point plan for the clarification and prevention of sexualized violence. The Evangelical Church of the Palatinate now appoints an independent commission.

A two-member independent commission is to investigate possible cases of sexual abuse in the area of the Evangelical Church of the Palatinate.

The regional church is thus implementing a resolution of the regional synod of last November, said the regional church abuse commissioner Bettina Wilhelm to the Evangelical Press Service (epd) in Speyer. So far, he said, four cases of sexual abuse have been reported and dealt with in the regional church in recent decades, and there are no known current cases.

Christina Cherry
Not revenge, but justice

Already met the Pope: Nobel Peace Prize winner Nadia Murad © N.N.

She has experienced terrible things, but still seems strong. Now the Yazidi Nadia Murad receives the Nobel Peace Prize. Who is the woman who has been fighting for justice since she fled to Germany and told Pope Francis about it??

She had to endure unimaginable horrors, but never let her tormentors break her down. Now the 25-year-old Iraqi Yazidi, who fled to Germany to escape the terrorist militia "Islamic State" (IS), is being honored with the Nobel Peace Prize – together with Congolese doctor Denis Mukwege (63). The reason for the award is her tireless work against sexual violence as a weapon of war, the Norwegian Nobel Committee announced in Oslo on Friday.

Christina Cherry

Despite massive criticism from conservative Anglicans, the Episcopal Church in the USA has taken further steps toward full equality for homosexual men and women. New liturgies of blessing for same-sex partnerships, for example, are to be developed, as the communion, which is part of the worldwide Anglican Church, confirmed on Friday at the conclusion of its General Assembly in Anaheim, California.

Earlier this week, the assembly had opened the way in principle to gay and lesbian clergy to the episcopate. This is seen as another severe test for the Anglicans. Theologically conservative bishops, meanwhile, reiterated their warnings of a split in the more than 70 million-member church communion. Since the appointment of Gene Robinson, a priest living in a same-sex partnership, as Episcopal bishop in New Hampshire in 2003, Anglican bishops had repeatedly urged their U.S. branch to refrain from such moves.The U.S. Anglicans had initially accommodated these demands. Three years ago – at its last General Assembly – the Episcopal Church, which has about two million members, had decided on a moratorium on the consecration of homosexual bishops. This was intended to prevent the split in the Anglican Church, which was already threatening at the time. This moratorium has now been ended.In the Anglican Episcopal Church in the USA, there has already been a schism. Spokesmen of the conservative wing recently founded the "Anglican Church in North America," with about 100.000 members. Also the head of the Anglican world church, the archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, had deplored the decisions of the US Episcopal Church now taken.With the resolution now passed in Anaheim, California, the U.S. Anglicans are reacting to the social change in dealing with gays and lesbians. The decision is also supported by the majority of bishops. Reference is made to the official recognition of same-sex partnerships in many countries. According to a report in the Los Angeles Times, however, the opinion of clergy who reject such blessings is to be respected in the church.Conservative Christians view homosexuality as "sin" and "unbiblical". Liberal theologians, on the other hand, advocate reinterpreting biblical statements in light of findings in modern social sciences. In European churches, too, the ie of same-sex marriage continues to cause controversy.

Christina Cherry
What the bishops are discussing in the vatican

More controversial than many other ies at the World Synod of Bishops is the position of Catholics who have remarried after a divorce. Here is an overview.

Why remarried divorcees are excluded from communion in the Catholic Church?

According to Catholic teaching, sex outside of marriage between a man and a woman is sinful. Since the first marriage is indissoluble from the Church's point of view, someone who marries for the second time after a divorce and has regular sexual intercourse with the new partner is living in permanent adultery. Those who are not willing to renounce it in the new union cannot find sacramental forgiveness – unlike in the case of infidelity – because the sacrament of confession presupposes the will to leave the path of sin. It therefore remains forbidden to those permanently living in adultery. Consequently, they are also not allowed to take communion.

Christina Cherry
Charming, passionate, torn

Universal genius – this term comes up regularly when people talk about Leonard Bernstein. On 25. August would have been the conductor, pianist, composer and music educator 100 years old.

No, Leonard Bernstein was not a man of half measures. From his early youth he burned for music. He shone all over the world as a conductor, and occasionally as a pianist. He raised rows and rows of students and won generations of young people to classical music with his Young Peoples' Concerts. And then he composed: operas and musicals, symphonies and chamber music, piano pieces, songs and choral works.

Christina Cherry
Overall grade 'satisfactory?

Symbolic image of abuse © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

Dealing with abuse is one of the most important and sensitive ies for the Catholic Church. Many also measure the credibility of the church by its treatment of victims. But how far along are the dioceses?

Bishop Georg Batzing looks seriously into the camera and holds up three fingers. In response to the question: “What grade do you give the Catholic Church in coming to terms with the abuse scandal??”. As seen in the column “Say nothing now” in the current magazine of the “Suddeutsche Zeitung”. Grade three – i.e. satisfactory. Not good or very good, but better than sufficient or poor. Whether all share the judgment of the chairman of the bishops' conference?

Christina Cherry

The ie of abuse continues to preoccupy the church. In two dioceses, priests have been suspended from their duties. Bishop Genn of Munster again asked the victims for forgiveness. His Hildesheim colleague Trelle warns against a "culture of suspicion".

At the same time, a "culture of bias" is to be feared in the church, Bishop Norbert Trelle said on Monday (29.03.2010) of the "Hannoversche Allgemeine Zeitung". This would be fatal, however, since Christian socialization begins with youth work. "It is no coincidence that Jesus places a child at the center of his preaching," the bishop said. From the bishop responsible for the 23. April planned round table with the Federal Government, he hoped a reappraisal of the events, said Trelle further. Society does itself no service if it only singles out the Catholic Church as a scapegoat. The problem of child abuse and pedophilia goes deeperThe church is currently experiencing a massive crisis of confidence, according to Trelles. But the fact that the victims now spoke so openly about what they had suffered must be seen positively. "For us, the old, biblical demand for repentance is now the decisive word." He had recently relieved three pastors of their posts for sexual abuse, the bishop explained. Many an abuse report about priests, but also about teachers, makes him catchless, Trelle said.

Christina Cherry
New start on friday in five places at the same time

At the beginning of the year, bishops and lay people launched the Synodal Way to the Future of Church Life in Germany with great elan. Then came Corona and changes in the church's big picture.

He had disappeared from the headlines – nevertheless bishops and lay representatives did not leave the synodal path. The reform project is to be continued on Friday with five regional conferences. The new format is due to the pandemic and takes the place of the second synodal assembly originally planned for the first weekend of September in Frankfurt.

Christina Cherry

ZdK Vice President Kortmann (li.) with outgoing President Sternberg (m.) © Harald Oppitz (KNA)

The plenary assembly of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) continues to meet only digitally. ZdK Vice President Karin Kortmann on the "inner-church" pandemic, regaining trust and too little success on the Synodal Way.

Interviewer: There was a very dense and well-received talk on Friday by Thomas Halik, the noted philosopher of religion and Czech priest. He spoke of two pandemics at once. Besides Corona still talking about an internal church pandemic, the shaking of the Catholic Church's credibility by sexual violence. How have you experienced this?

Christina Cherry