Wednesday, September 12, 2018

Report finds massive, previously unreported abuse and cover-up- in German Catholic Church- recommends ordaining homosexuals.

The Catholic Church in Germany has a massive problem in dealing with the sexual abuse of minors by priests and religious. This is the result of the MHG study, the report of a research consortium of the Universities of Mannheim, Heidelberg and Giessen.

The strictly confidential study ordered by the German Bishops' Conference is to be presented on 25 September by Cardinal Reinhard Marx in Fulda. Der Spiegel has obtained the summary of the results.

Accordingly, more than 38,000 personnel and reference files from 27 German dioceses were examined and evaluated. For the period from 1946 to 2014, the study counts 3677 predominantly male minors as victims of sexual offenses. 1670 clerics are accused of misdeeds.

More than half of the victims, were at the time of the crime, a maximum of 13 years old. In about every sixth case, there were different forms of rape. Three-quarters of those affected were in a church or pastoral relationship with the accused.

These numbers are called conservative assumptions. "Findings about the dark side were not obtained," write the authors of the study: "Thus all frequency information understates the actual proportions".

Numerous files destroyed

Half of all cases would not even have been detected without a request for compensation by the persons concerned, as the personal files of the accused did not contain any information. In many cases they were "destroyed or manipulated". This results in a "reference to the extent of the assumed dark side," write the authors of the study.

Moreover, there is no reason to believe that "the sexual abuse of minors by clergy of the Catholic Church is a topic belonging to the past and now resolved".  The series of abuses continued up until the end of the investigation period.

Conspicuously often, the accused clerics were transferred to another place without the host community being "provided with the appropriate information" about the abuser. Only one third of the perpetrators had to submit to a canon law procedure, at the end of which the sanctions were minimal, if they were put in place at all.

The percentage of those accused within the total number of active clerics is four percent. Typologically they are divided into three categories: "fixed", "narcissistic-sociopathic" or "regressive-immature".

Celibacy as a risk factor?

When asked about the reasons for persistent abuse, the authors of the study are reluctant to comment. However, there are some indications: "It is urgent to rethink the fundamental refusal of the Catholic Church to consecrate homosexual men," it says. In addition, the question must be open whether the obligation to celibacy is "a potential risk factor".

At the moment, Cardinal Marx, Chairman of the German Bishops' Conference, is still working with his PR experts on the communication strategy for the 25 September - the day on which he intends to present the results of the study after a morning sermon at the Cathedral in Fulda. Its official title: "Sexual abuse of minors by Catholic priests and male religious in the region of ​​the German Bishops' Conference".

The highest representative of the Catholic Church in Germany certainly will receive public attention in the context of the headlines about the recent abuse scandals in the United States,. For the future, a co-ordinated strategy and a "long-term catalogue of measures" is recommended by the authors of the study. "Lip-service from church leaders", should not be the response.


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