Just chilling out and not knowing what to do after graduation? This may be true for many young people. But at least as many are socially involved. Catharina Offermann spent five months in Nepal for this project.

Interviewer: Ms. Offermann, Nepal is not necessarily a country that constantly makes the headlines in Germany. At best, it is known for the Himalayan mountains and its many temples. This landlocked Asian country borders China to the north and India to the east, south and west. What made you decide to spend time volunteering abroad after graduating from high school??

Christina Cherry

Federal Education Minister Annette Schavan has rejected a round table on sexual abuse in church institutions alone. A round table could be the right thing to do, she said on Sunday. In it, however, as a participant "certainly" not only the Catholic Church will sit. Violence and abuse are not only a topic in church institutions.

Also in the program "Berlin direkt," Federal Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger (FDP) reiterated in a pre-recorded statement her demand that the round table deal exclusively with abuse in the Catholic context. It is not about having a general conversation about abuse, she said. The focus must be on the victims and to talk to them.

Christina Cherry

Crime scene personnel with Father Cullen © Crime Scene – Streets of the World e.V. (private)

20 years ago – after a "crime scene" about child prostitution in Manila – the Cologne film team founded an association that supports Father Shay Cullen and his aid organization to this day. Now he has presented his latest idea.

Interviewer: In 1972, you founded the private aid organization PREDA ("Peoples Recovery, Empowerment and Development Assistance Foundation") in the Philippines, a refuge for street children to whom you try to give a new life. What situation are these children and young people in?

Christina Cherry
Genn 'unhinged' over slap in face of victims

Ten days after a clergyman's controversial sermon on abuse and forgiveness, he will be retired. Bishop Felix Genn is catchless. He said the remarks were a slap in the face to victims.

Munster's Bishop Felix Genn's excitement is evident as he appears before the press on this Wednesday afternoon. He is "unhinged" about the events of the past few days, he says.

"That a priest, with all that we now know about sexual abuse, especially by clergy, about perpetrator strategies and the suffering of the victims, goes and makes such statements is inconceivable." This is "a catastrophe," the bishop said in a quivering voice. If it already affects him in such a way, how must it then go to those affected by sexual abuse.

Christina Cherry

The German bishops have praised Pope Francis' message on marriage and the family, published on Friday, as an "encouragement to life and love". Other reactions at a glance.

The text is "first and foremost a heartfelt invitation, as profound as it is practical, to the way of life of marriage and family, which draws its inspiration from the sources of the Christian faith," explained the Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Berlin Archbishop Heiner Koch and Osnabruck Bishop Franz-Josef Bode.

Christina Cherry

The Bavarian Benedictine monastery of Ettal wants to compensate victims of mistreatment and abuse at its boarding school individually. As the former federal interrogation judge Hans-Joachim Jentsch, commissioned by the abbey, told journalists on Thursday, the Benedictines will use their own assets to set up a compensation fund of 500.Put on 000 euros.

A commission independent of the monastery, chaired by Edda Huther, former president of the Bavarian Constitutional Court, will decide on payments, she said. The resolutions of the German Bishops' Conference served as an "orientation figure", but there should be no lump sum as with the Jesuits.

Christina Cherry
New rules, old discord

This Saturday, the new rules for dealing with allegations of abuse will come into force in the Catholic Church. The implementation is likely to be very different. In some regions it is not even recognized that there is a problem at all.

Former Pope Benedict XVI. remembers exactly when he first began to suspect evil. On Good Friday in 1970, he said, he came to the city of Regensburg and saw a poster everywhere "that presented two completely naked people in a large format in a close embrace".

Christina Cherry

First womanizer, soldier and geographer, in the end desert monk. When Charles de Foucauld was shot by looters in the oasis of Tamanrasset in 1916, he had a long and winding road behind him: from France to Algeria, Morocco, the Holy Land, Syria and finally the Algerian Sahara. The inner path runs from a devout childhood through religious deadening to the rediscovery of faith, which leads to a hermit existence. 150 years ago, on 15. September 1858, Blessed Charles de Foucauld was born.

In his youth he was anything but a saint. He arrives in Paris, is hounded by the Jesuit high school and, at 17, plunges into sexual adventures and raucous parties. In the elitist officer school of Saint-Cyr he is regarded as a fat, lazy and wealthy bon vivant. When he is transferred to Algeria in 1880, Charles smuggles his mistress Mimi from France with him and passes her off as his wife. For this he is expelled from the army. Months later, the military takes him back and he returns to Africa before his career as a soldier is finally over. But North Africa has taken a fancy to him. Charles de Foucauld learns Arabic and reads the Koran. He secretly travels through the region, which is largely forbidden to Christians. He hides his French origins, disguises himself as a Russian-Jewish itinerant rabbi and visits the Sultanate of Morocco in 1883 and 1884 on behalf of the Societe de Geographie. 1885 he crosses the southern Algerian desert. In France he becomes famous for his research reports and mapping and receives the gold medal of the French Geographical Society. Islamic piety moves him and reawakens in him the question of God. In Paris, de Foucauld befriends Abbe Huvelin, who converts him. In 1890, at the age of 32, he enters the Syrian Trappist monastery of Akbes after a pilgrimage to the Holy Land. But despite the austere, deprived life, he finds the ideal of poverty too little realized. He considers the life of the inhabitants of the surrounding villages to be more miserable. After seven years, de Foucauld leaves the order, continues to seek his path. At the Poor Clares in Nazareth he does menial work as a servant and discovers his vocation as a priest. In 1901, he was ordained in Viviers, France. And again he is drawn to North Africa, first to the oasis of Beni Abbes on the Algerian border with Morocco, where he cares for French soldiers and fights against slavery. His childhood friend Henri Laperrine, a soldier, suggests him to settle in the Hoggar mountains – in the middle of the Tuareg. Charles de Foucauld agrees. In Tamanrasset, from 1905 until his death, he lives eleven years in a hut of mud and reeds, far from any civilization in total isolation. The rocky desert becomes for him a place of truth, not a place of escapism: "I cannot look at this sea of peaks and jagged rocks without worshipping God," he writes. De Foucauld explores and speaks the language of the Tuareg, earns their trust. The fact that a Christian convinces by his example is more important to him than the attempt to proclaim the faith by words. His ideal is a church that proclaims the Gospel to the poor with poor means. Although he wrote several draft rules for spiritual communities, he only found followers long after his death: in 1933 the community of the Little Brothers of Jesus was founded in the Sahara, and in 1939 the community of the Little Sisters of Jesus. Today, about 20 religious communities refer to his spiritual heritage.

Christina Cherry

More and more findings about past abuse in German schools come to light. Sexual assaults also took place at a private school in Hesse. On her own website, the principal of the Odenwald School in Heppenheim admits to years of abuse of charges by educators.

School principal Margarita Kaufmann told the newspaper, "It is a fact for me that sexual abuse has taken place here at least since 1971."The paper wrote that former students reported they were regularly awakened by teachers fondling their genitals and assigned as "sexual service providers" for entire weekends and forced to perform oral sex. Individual educators had left students to their guests for sexual abuse. Teachers would have beaten protected children, supplied them with drugs and alcohol, or failed to intervene in the communal abuse of a girl. As early as 1998, cases were announced According to the school's website, the first accusations against long-time principal Gerold Becker, who led the school from 1971 to 1985, were made as early as 1998. But at the time, the acts had already been barred by the statute of limitations. Kaufmann told the newspaper, "It was an understatement and a gross mistake that the school did not investigate at the time." She herself had been approached again last year by former students who feared the school would again shirk its responsibilities during the 100th anniversary celebration in April 2010. As a result, he says, she had several conversations with ex-students, which gave her a glimpse of the true extent of the scandal. She said she ames at least three teachers were guilty of sexual assaults. From witnesses it had heard the names of 20 victims. According to a report in the "Frankfurter Rundschau", the old school students concerned ame that there were 50 to 100 victims of abuse. According to the school's own statements, it was founded by reform pedagogues and has had a number of prominent students, including former BDI boss Tyll Necker, writer Klaus Mann, Green Party politician Daniel Cohn-Bendit and a son of former German President Richard von Weizsacker.

Christina Cherry

With a letter to former students of the Berlin Canisius College, its rector, Father Klaus Mertes, has triggered a nationwide debate on sexual abuse. In an interview with the Catholic News Agency (KNA) on Wednesday in Berlin, Mertes spoke about his expectations for the Round Table against Child Abuse, which will meet for the first time on Friday.

CBA: Father Mertes, what do you hope for from the round table?
Mertes: I hope for two things: on the one hand, suggestions and reflections on the keyword prevention; on the other hand, greater clarity on the topic of compensation, the – I prefer to put it this way – recognition of the inflicted suffering on a financial level. Finding a common solution would be very desirable – together with the other orders, churches, with all other – also state – sponsors of schools and other educational institutions where abuse can happen. For us, for example, it would be a great help if there were a nationwide uniform clarification, for example, for possible lump-sum payments.
CBA: One contentious ie in dealing with abuse cases is mandatory reporting. What is your position?
Mertes: It is undisputed that there is such a duty to report certain crimes and that the church, for its part, does not want to set up parallel criminal proceedings with the intention of replacing state criminal proceedings. However, I am skeptical about a general duty to report, as are the victims' associations with which I have contact, by the way. The prosecutor's office is not a victim protection organization. In the interest of victim protection, it would therefore be necessary to look at what reporting obligations mean for victims and their opportunities to speak out.
CBA: Independently of the Round Table, the inner-church debate on how to deal with abuse cases continues. Are the preconditions for the purification of the church demanded by many bishops in place??
Mertes: I believe that the reports of the victims are a very great opportunity for the Church to look at itself from a critical perspective. This allows for self-examination and, where necessary, self-renewal.
CBA: There are also many priests who now fear a sterile pastoral care. Is this fear justified?
Mertes: The most important thing is not to be dependent on fears for oneself in pastoral care. When a child comes to me, confides in me, throws himself into my arms sobbing, then I can let him cry in my arms. Abuse also has to do with a lack of sovereignty. Abuse of power is extremely unsovereign behavior. Conversely, however, I can accept trust if I can always disclose what I am living at the same time.
KNA: What practical consequences has your school drawn for prevention work from the reappraisal so far?
Mertes: One institution alone is overburdened with prevention and processing of abuse. That is why cooperation is important. We are currently in the process of establishing contacts with victim protection organizations such as Tauwetter and Wildwasser. In addition, the complaints procedures need to be thought through once again. Promoting regular reflection on closeness and distance behavior in the teaching profession also seems to me to be a key ie. Interview: Birgit Wilke

Christina Cherry