Germany's Catholic Church 'dismayed and ashamed' by child sex abuse

15 Septembre, 2018, 02:50 | Auteur: Anatole Charbonneau

The magazine said the study, which examined more than 38,000 files from 27 dioceses, showed more than half of the victims were aged 13 years or under when they were abused.

A Church spokesman said it was "dismayed and ashamed" by the findings. The Catholic Church has been struggling with sex abuse by its clergy for decades.

About one in six of cases documented involved rape and three quarters of the victims were abused in a church or through a pastoral relationship with the abuser.

According to research by experts from the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg, and Mannheim, the actual number of victims was likely much higher, as researchers were not allowed access to the original church files.

According to the study, 1,670 clergymen in Germany committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors between 1946 and 2014, Spiegel Online reported.

Predatory clerics were often moved to new communities, where no warning was issued about their actions.

Habits of obedience towards authority in the Roman Catholic church have had appalling consequences.

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"We know the extent of the sexual abuse that has been demonstrated by the study".

Speaking on behalf of the Conference, Bishop Ackermann said that, while he regretted that the study had been leaked, he was convinced the survey was comprehensive and thorough. Again, I emphasize: "The study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church, but above all, and first and foremost, to those affected".

Closer to home, Boston Cardinal Sean O'Malley has been implicated - along with Pope Francis - by an archbishop who accuses church leaders of covering up for ex-Cardinal Theodore McCarrick of Washington when he was accused of sexually abusing both children and adults. The German Bishops' Conference commissioned the "strictly confidential" study and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, its chairman, is expected to present its findings later this month, Spiegel said.

Last month, a grand jury in the USA state of Pennsylvania released the findings of the largest-ever investigation of sex abuse into the Catholic Church in the United States, finding that 301 priests in the state had sexually abused minors over the past 70 years.

On Wednesday, the Vatican announced that it will summon the presidents of every national bishops conference across the globe for a summit on preventing clergy sex abuse and protecting children.

The pontiff has faced mounting criticism over his handling of historic clerical sex abuse allegations.

Earlier this week, the Vatican said it is preparing the "necessary clarifications" about accusations that top Vatican officials including Pope Francis covered up the sexual misconduct of a now-disgraced American ex-cardinal.

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