Unbroken trust

The abuse cases in the church area have apparently not yet had any effect on the registration figures at Catholic schools in Germany. This also applies to the institutions of the Jesuit Order, according to a recent survey.

The Canisius College in Berlin, whose rector Klaus Mertes first made the scandal public in mid-January, has 300 applications for 90 places for the coming school year. According to principal Bernd Wibmann, the number of students registered at the Aloisiuskolleg in Bonn was the same as in previous years. There are 240 applications for the 90 places to be allocated. A similar picture can also be seen in other institutions and regions. "Confidence in church schools is unbroken," says Dietfried Scherer, head of the diocesan school foundation in the archdiocese of Freiburg. Parents know very well how to distinguish between the abuses of the past and the current situation at the schools, emphasized Scherer, whose foundation runs 26 schools with around 13.500 pupils represented. According to him, in the selection procedures that have just been completed, around 1.700 places allocated for new fifth graders. About every third applicant had to be turned down.

More applications in Ettal than in the previous year The revelations of the past few weeks do not seem to have had a negative impact on school operations in the Bavarian monastery of Ettal either. The number of registrations for the next school year is already higher than in 2009, at more than 50, said Prior Maurus Krab. The Benedictine-run high school had hit the headlines because more than a hundred former students had been abused and in some cases sexually assaulted there until around 1990. The grammar school in Schaftlarn near Munich, which is also under the direction of the order, is considering starting the new school year with four fifth grades instead of three, according to principal Wolfgang Sagmeister. Even in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany's most populous state, the rush to Catholic schools continues unabated. A spokesman for the archdiocese of Paderborn said that the trend of more applications than available places affected all types of schools. The diocese of Aachen recorded more than 1.700 applications. A total of 525 applicants had to be turned away this year, about 30 more than in 2009.

"Effects will only be seen in the coming years" Catholic schools remain popular even in areas with Catholic minorities. For the seven schools of the Diocese of Erfurt and the eight of the Diocese of Magdeburg, the number of applicants did not decline. The abuse debate is not an ie in this context, stressed the Magdeburg diocese spokesman Thomas Lazar. On the other hand, the numbers of the six schools in the diocese of Dresden-Meissen are slightly declining. But this has been the case since last school year and is related to a tuition increase, according to diocese spokesman Michael Baudisch. Because in some federal states the registration procedures for the 2010/2011 school year were already completed several months ago, the dioceses of Mainz and Trier, for example, were cautious about forecasting the consequences of the abuse scandal on student numbers. "Whether there will be repercussions, we will only be able to see in the coming years," said Stephan Kronenburg, spokesman for the diocese of Trier.

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Christina Cherry
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