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German priests' group protests bishops' handling of abuse inquiry

Catholic World News - August 12, 2011

A conservative group of German priests has issued a public protest against the German bishops’ decision to open diocesan personnel files to researchers investigating sexual abuse.

The Network of Catholic Priests charged that the opening of confidential files is a betrayal of their interests. The group, which has previously criticized the bishops’ handling of the sex-abuse crisis, said that it was “shattered by the lack of trust in us priests and the obvious helplessness of our bishops.” A spokesman for the bishops replied that the researchers would have access only to encoded files, with the anonymity of the priests fully protected.

[The final paragraph of the Tablet report is a model of biased reporting:

The confrontation comes at a time when the bishops’ attempts to hold the German Church together on the centre ground are coming under ever greater pressure. The Pope’s ecumenical push is strongly supported by theologians and “liberal” Catholics but resisted by ultra-conservatives. Some Lutherans meanwhile want the Pope to “admit” that Catholics profited from the Reformation.

The Tablet uses “scare quotes” as an implicit means of questioning whether those on one side of the argument should be classified as “liberals,” but has no such compunctions about tagging the other side as “ultra-conservatives.” The report suggests that the major conflict within the German Catholic clergy is over “the Pope’s ecumenical push,” but ignores more divisive disputes over homosexuality, the ordination of women, and Communion for divorced and remarried Catholics.]

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