Radical Catholics continue to instrumentalise abuse scandal

Maria Mesrian sees no progress in dealing with abuse

“Pure window-dressing politics” – the naming of perpetrators’ names in Aachen

Maria Mesrian

In the guest comments, journalists, pastors and true observers express themselves about developments in the church and society. 

The Diocese of Aachen has made public 53 names of abuse perpetrators and suspected perpetrators. A previously unique and widely noticed process - but which has little to do with dealing with the matter, says Maria Mesrian.

The Diocese of Aachen published 53 names of perpetrators this week. “We do not make an exception for any suspected perpetrator, no matter what rank he has held throughout his life,” said Helmut Dieser, Bishop of Aachen and Abuse Commissioner for the Bishops’ Conference, explaining the “unique nationwide approach.” In doing so, he places himself at the forefront of a supposedly transparent investigation.

Five years have passed since the MHG study into sexual abuse by clergy in the Roman Catholic Church. Twelve dioceses have now published reports with different focuses. The decades-long massive cover-up on the part of those responsible for the church, which has been taking place to this day, has come to light. If the bishops present themselves as enlighteners every time they publish their report, it must be said that none of the officials draw conclusions for themselves. To date, the systemic causes that promote sexual abuse that were clearly identified in the MHG study have not been eliminated.

Clarification is not processing

The author

The theologian Maria Mesrian from Cologne is involved in the ecclesiastical reform movement Maria 2.0 and is chairwoman of the association "Reversing! Robin Sisterhood", which runs a church-independent counseling center for those affected by church abuse.

To this day, those responsible have not understood that clarification through expert reports is not a reappraisal. Sexual violence and its cover-up occur in all institutions, but in none of them is the moral high ground as high as in the Catholic Church. “You shall love the Lord your God and your neighbor as yourself.” They betray this maxim, which should guide church officials, every day that they block necessary reforms.

Those affected by abuse bear the heavy burden of the crimes they experienced as children and young people. The delaying and stalling tactics used by those in charge of the church increase this suffering many times over.

Not even close to getting started yet

The procedures of the “Independent Commission for the Recognition of Suffering” lack the promised rule of law: submitting applications is retraumatizing, those affected are not heard personally, the handling of the applications is non-transparent, and they are not informed about the reasons for the decision in objection procedures. The recognition services are perceived as arbitrary. It is our responsibility as Catholics to demand a change in this practice.

The naming of real names in the Diocese of Aachen is purely a showcase policy as long as Helmut This, as the abuse commissioner, does not advocate for a turnaround in compensation practice and for the elimination of the systemic causes. I don't know anyone affected who benefits from this public mention. Even five years after the MHG study, the Roman Catholic Church has not even begun to come to terms with it.



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