“Understanding of long suffering”

Shortly before the end of the pilgrimage of altar boys in Rome, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch has drawn a positive balance. At the same time, the president of the German Bishops' Conference again took a stand on the ie of abuse. In doing so, he recalled the fate of his brother executed at the end of World War II.

He understands that victims of sexual abuse still suffer from the crime decades later. 'I can't empathize with the perpetrators'. For this I can understand the lasting suffering of the victims," Zollitsch told the newspaper Bild on Friday. Zollitsch referred to his own experiences in the post-war period. He was deported to a communist extermination camp in 1945 when he was six years old in what was then Yugoslavia. His 16-year-old brother was shot along with other ethnic German Danube Swabians and buried in a mass grave. "I can still hear the shots with which my brother was executed," said the Archbishop of Freiburg. "That's how long it lingers."After what he experienced in the camp, the shock about the abuse cases in the Catholic Church was "the worst in my life".

"The church is alive, it is young" With a view to the altar boy pilgrimage in Rome, in which 45.The 71-year-old archbishop said that the abuse debate had apparently not led to a paralysis of the church. "The church is alive, it is young, and it is looking forward again," he stressed. The girls and boys felt that the vast majority of priests were doing an excellent job, and that the bishops were sincere in their efforts to come to terms with the past and prevent it from happening again. Zollitsch also explained the low number of new priests in Germany with a lack of recognition for this task. "In the past, the whole hometown was proud when a priest was ordained. Today I hear that some altar boys no longer want to come out as altar boys at school."

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Christina Cherry
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