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German Church faces pressure as abuse inquiry broadens

CWN - March 08, 2010

Pressure is mounting on Church officials in Germany to provide a thorough accounting of sex-abuse complaints. And the country's justice minister, Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, has criticized the Vatican for what she called a "wall of silence" regarding the problem.

Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger cited Vatican policies established in 2001, calling for confidential Church investigations of all sex-abuse complaints. However, that policy does not prevent bishops from reporting the complaints to public law-enforcement officials as well.

Critics of the Church in Germany claimed that Pope Benedict should make an accounting for his own tenure as a bishop there, and highlighted the fact that recent complaints have arisen from former members of the Regensberg cathedral choir that was once directed by the Pope's older brother, Msgr. Georg Ratzinger. The Vatican newspaper L'Osservatore Romano published a statement by Bishop Gerhard Ludwing Muller of Regensberg, pointing out that the two complaints from the choir "do not coincide with the time at which Rev. Georg Ratzinger was in charge." The bishop added: "Both cases were made public at the time and can be considered closed in a judicial sense."

Msgr. Ratzinger told the Italian daily La Repubblica that he was willing to testify about the policies of the choir. He repeated that he was unaware of any abuse complaints during his tenure.

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  • Posted by: niall - Mar. 09, 2010 5:02 AM ET USA

    Whatever horrors are going to come out in Germany, I hope the bishops will not follow the example of our bishops in Ireland by giving drops of information and being only occasionally co-operative. They need to face the problem head-on and take the pain NOW. It will serve no one to drag out investigations for decades- it will cause more pain for victims, tarnish the reputation of good clergy, demoralise faithful & clergy and erode any credibility the Church in Germany has.

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