“Seek more than before the encounter with those affected”

The MHG abuse study © Dedert

The German bishops have adopted measures to combat abuse in the Catholic Church. Here you can find the full text of the statement ied in Fulda on the results of the abuse study.

"The focus of our deliberations during the Fall General Assembly was on the contents of the study 'Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests, Deacons and Male Religious in the Area of the German Bishops' Conference' (MHG Study).". The shocking results show us bishops the responsibility to take stronger action and the duty to bring justice to those affected by the crime. They also show institutional failure. We bishops face the seriousness of the hour.

We make the recommendations of the research consortium of the study the basis of our further actions. Some of the recommendations require longer clarification processes, but already we are committed to the following steps, which we will implement in a timely manner:

– We will seek to meet with those affected more than we have in the past. For the reappraisal processes we want to tackle in the dioceses, we need the help of those affected as well as external experts.

– We are working on standardizing the management of clerical personnel files.

– We will offer external, independent contact points in addition to the diocesan contact persons for questions of sexual abuse.

– In addition, binding inter-diocesan monitoring is being established for the areas of intervention and prevention.

– The procedure for services in recognition of inflicted suffering will be further developed on the basis of the study as well as the experience of recent years.

– Without an independent reappraisal, there can be no effective change and justice. We want to clarify who, beyond the perpetrators, bore responsibility institutionally for the abuse in our church.

– The challenges specific to the Catholic Church, such as questions about the celibate lifestyle of priests and about various aspects of Catholic sexual morality, will be discussed with the participation of experts from various disciplines in a transparent discussion process.

We will report continuously on how we are progressing with our plans. Explicitly, the further path should be taken together with victims of sexual abuse, external experts and representatives of our lay bodies, especially the Central Committee of German Catholics.

We are grateful for the deliberations of the past few days and the help of the scholars, the project advisory board and many others who have helped us by their critical questions. Pope Francis we will report on these talks. To him we agree that all self-importance of church officials must be overcome. A new togetherness in the church is necessary."

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Christina Cherry
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