Status: 01/23/2022 2:06 p.m
According to the Munich abuse report, the top of the Catholic Church is increasingly being criticized. Above all, bishops complain about the behavior of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. – and demand a public admission of guilt.
The criticism of how the Catholic Church deals with cases of abuse does not stop. Aachen’s Bishop Helmut Ders is demanding a public admission of guilt from Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI . “Because that’s why the perpetrators weren’t stopped at the time and children continued to be abused by them.” Already on Friday, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Bishop Georg Bätzing, spoken of a “disastrous behavior”.
Last week, the archdiocese published a report on sexual abuse in the church. Accordingly, cases of sexual abuse in the diocese have not been adequately dealt with for decades. Benedict, the former Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, led the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. His role is particularly explosive. He is charged with four counts of misconduct. He denied the allegations in a statement of defence. The experts assume that in all likelihood he was not telling the truth.
Catholic youth demands apology
The Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising called for a paradigm shift: towards protecting people and coming to terms with them and away from protecting the institution of the church, according to a statement by the BDKJ. The time for expert opinions is over, instead it is time to take responsibility.
The Catholic youth also demanded an admission of guilt from those responsible. Current and former leaders in the Archdiocese would have to admit their personal guilt in addition to their institutional guilt and sincerely apologize for their misconduct.
The chairwoman of the council of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD), Annette Kurschus, sees systemic reasons for the many cases of sexual abuse in the church. “There are church patterns and structures that encourage sexualised violence,” Kurschus told the Rheinische Post newspaper. “These are different in the Protestant Church than in the Catholic Church.” There is also sexualized violence in Protestant communities and institutions: “It has destroyed trust.”
Justice examines reports
The judiciary is currently examining whether the results of the report are relevant under criminal law. According to the Munich public prosecutor’s office, they are currently investigating 42 cases of alleged misconduct by church officials.
As a consequence of the abuse report, CDU leader Friedrich Merz also expects court proceedings. When asked whether cardinals would have to resign, Merz said on ZDF: “That must first be decided in the churches. But I assume that this will continue to be the subject of proceedings in the ordinary courts in the future.”