Not a week goes by without the toxicity of the Roman Catholic Church getting media attention in virtually every country into which its has injected its poison.
Germany is the latest to disclose decades of sexual abuse by clerics, and, as in previous reports, such as the grand jury investigation in Pennsylvania, the scale of abuse is staggering – and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Archbishop of Munich and Chairman of the German Bishop’s Conference, was today forced to say:
Many people no longer believe in us.
He hoping that the church can rebuild trust with the public, something he says it desperately needs to do.
But it would be an exercise in futility, given the statistics that have emerged from a large-scale investigation conducted by the German Bishops’ Conference.
• Some 1,670 clerics, mostly priests, were found to have committed sexual abuse between 1946 and 2014 — around 4.4 percent of all serving clerics within that period.
• There were at least 3,677 individual victims; most of whom were boys and all were minors.
• One-in-six incidents related to accusations of rape.
• Sixty percent of the time, abusive priests escaped punishment.
• The total number of abuse cases is likely to be far greater. The report’s author has criticized the Church for denying him access to other Catholic institutions, such as schools and children’s homes.
• Many predator priests were simply moved to other parishes once their crimes were uncovered by the Church. Communities were never informed of the priest’s previous crimes.
Germany’s Federal Justice Minister Katarina Barley described the study as “shocking and probably just the tip of the iceberg.” She urged the Church to:
Take responsibility for decades of concealment, cover-ups and denials.
Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, the German government-appointed special representative for sexual abuse of minors, insisted that the Church pay compensation to victims who are “still suffering from this open wound.” The Church should also grant authorities access to its archives so that each allegation can be investigated on a criminal basis, he added.
Jörg Schuh, head of the Berlin-based Tauwetter center for sexual abuse victims, said what happened in Germany was part of a global problem facing the Catholic Church.
I would like the Pope to make it his number one topic, and for his Church to really work on it.
One of the largest abuse cases to rock Germany was that of an elite Jesuit school in Berlin where two priests systematically abused pupils in the 1970s and 1980s. Last year it emerged that more than 500 boys at the world-famous Regensburger Domspatzen Catholic choir school suffered sexual and physical abuse. Georg Ratzinger, the brother of former Pope Benedict XVI, led the choir from 1964 to 1994 but insisted he was never aware of any abuse going on.
Hat tip: AgentCormac