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Catholic Church hit by a new child abuse scandal – this time in Germany

THE Catholic Church has become mired down in yet another child abuse scandal – this time in Pope Ratzinger’s native Germany.

The widening public scandal began last month with allegations that three priests at the elite Canisius Jesuit high school in Berlin had sexually abused students in the 1970s and ’80s.

In the midst of a steadily growing uproar over the handling of that case, German magazine Der Spiegel published an article last weekend that said nearly 100 clerics and laypeople had been suspected of abusing children and teenagers nationwide since 1995.

According to this report, the rector of Aloisiuskolleg, a high school in Bad Godesberg – an affluent neighbourhood in the former capital of Bonn where diplomats and leading politicians lived – this week resigned over accusations that he was aware of sexual misconduct by teachers at the school.

Many of the cases now coming to light are unlikely to be prosecuted because the statute of limitations requires crimes to be reported within 10 years of the victim’s 18th birthday.

But the revelations have driven an open debate on the church, its policies for dealing with abuse cases – or, critics say, covering them up – and even the vows of celibacy taken by priests.

Stefan Dartman, head of Germany's Jesuits

At a press conference earlier this month, Stefan Dartmann, head of the Jesuit Order in Germany, said:

I am ashamed that nothing was done at the time. I also apologize that those responsible at the order at the time did not … react the way it would have been necessary.

Dartmann conceded that the Jesuit order of Germany had had evidence of the sexual abuse cases since 1981, but had never informed parents, students or authorities.

Germany is home to about 25.2 million Catholics, according to the German Bishops Conference, but that number has fallen by more than 3 million since German reunification in 1990.

The abuse of children by members of the clergy remains one of the most difficult issues for the church. In December the Vatican accepted the resignations of several Irish bishops after a report by the Irish government detailed the physical, sexual and emotional abuse of children by Catholic priests in church-run residential schools.

On Monday at the Vatican, Pope Benedict told members of the Pontifical Council for the Family that he condemned the abuse of children by members of the clergy, but he has not commented directly on the situation in Germany.

16 responses to “Catholic Church hit by a new child abuse scandal – this time in Germany”

  1. Adi says:

    The Catholic church, biggest paedophile ring in the world,a vile institution.

  2. Serai says:

    Yet the paedo in chief is still able to make state visits to the UK, oh the hypocrisy of our spineless politicians.

  3. Broga says:

    @Serai: That was my inital reaction. Instead of coming here, sopping up £20 million of our taxes to protect him, lecturing us on the importance of “equality” i.e. his outfit is excused laws the rest of us have to acknowledge; being feted, flattered by a supine BBC headed by a boss of very flaky religious views, shouldn’t Ratzinger be sorting out his paedo priests and spending his time in Germany for the time being.

    If he wants to come here then let those who want him pay for the bigot. And keep him away from the licence funded BBC. We have enough religious twaddle already.

  4. Harry says:

    I wonder how many protesters will have placards accusing ratslinger of condoning this sort of thing if his visit goes ahead?

  5. Petursey says:

    I shall be making a special visit back to the UK to throw condoms full of rancid cream at the vile bigot Benny of the Prada Shoes. The sooner the vile institution that is the Catholic Church is disbanded the better…sell off the artworks and library and archives and property….and then solve the problem of the poor in Africa and Asia in one fell swoop.

  6. William Harwood says:

    I am getting the impression that even a large percentage of the persons who comment on this site are unaware that it was Ratzinazi who ORDERED the cover-ups. (see Papal Sin, by Gary Wills, and The Pontiff in Winter, by John Cornwall)

  7. Stonyground says:

    WH, yes I actually knew about that. It makes his recent pronouncements appear absurd, hypocritical and self serving. The Catholic Church has been morally bankrupt for two thousand years and remains so to this day, and yet still has the presumtion to lecture everyone, Catholic or Damned, on how they should live.

    The most depressing part is that there are still millions of shitwits that support him. Without Catholics out in the real world the Pope would be irrelevant.

  8. Broga says:

    And the BBC floods us with daily propaganda. To-day, near the top of the early morning Radio 4 programme listeners were subjected to an outrageous and lengthy piece of RC propaganda. We were told that Archbishop Nichol intended to say that NHS hospital patients were not treated with sufficient dignity and, particularly when they were dying, too much like machines. This was reported as if from Socrates. Then we hear a piece from the BBC Religious Propagandist (paid for by your licence fees) that what Nichol was particularly concerned about was the possibility of legalising euthasia. He threw a sentence in to say that Rowan Williams felt the same way. So we know which superstitous outfit is calling the shots now.

    We may now expect the Pope’s expensive trip to be getting the soft treatment from now on. With an RC Director General on £800,000 plus a year we seem defencless against this. Doesn’t anyone in government with some moral courage care? We are confronted with the scandal of selective propaganda while the repellent abuse by the Pope and his priests is ignored.

  9. Trevor Blake says:

    Critics do claim that the Roman Catholic Church sheltered clergy who raped children. So do the official documents from past and current Popes.

    http://ovo127.com/2009/08/02/trevor-blake-an-open-letter-to-amnesty-international/

  10. libhomo says:

    Ratzi’s position is so bizarre. He thinks it’s OK for priests to rape children, but he is against adults of the same gender having sex.

  11. Stonyground says:

    I always feel that it is out of order to wish bad fortune upon people even as I am aware that wishes have no actual power I still think that is somehow not a nice thing to do.

    I do however make an exception for those who oppose assisted dying, they deserve to spend several years in unbearable pain to atone for all the pain that their actions have inflicted on others.

  12. Marcus says:

    I tried to submit this earlier today but it somehow never showed up. So sorry if I end up repeating myself

    I have many friends who are catholics and who privately will tell me that they think that the whole thing is nonsense. However, they will submit their own children to the rituals of baptism and confirmation, will still send them to catholic schools where they know they will be indoctrinated, and will go along with the whole abuse system just for fear if being seen to step out if line with ‘the faith’. The whole thing is run on fear and sadlyvi have no idea how we van end the terrible cycle of abuse

  13. FedupwithR says:

    Re: Trevor Blake’s http://ovo127 One of the possible reasons why Amnesty International does not criticise the Vatican is that the clergy of all denominations are highly active members. When I was an active member in Hong Kong, I was told that A.I. would collapse if it was not for the support priests and nuns.

    It’s time the Pope was challenged publicly regarding his own responsibility for covering up and hiding pedophile priest.

  14. elainek123 says:

    The British people marched against the poll tax, are we scared not to march against the bigots who want to make their own rules to suit themselves as religious groups. Where are our rights to protest against pedophile priests and nuns. I believe that on the Popes visit he should be challenged and we should demand answers and the Church makes a stand against these criminals. Actions speak louder than words, but I am afraid that is all we are going to get is Words.
    I will be keeping a close eye on the BBc and if they report both sides equally.
    This abuse of men,women and children must be stopped now.

  15. Aad Molenkamp says:

    Was it not de Sade who wrote, “The world will finally know peace when the last King is strangled, with an intestine of the last Priest”.?
    We can dream, can we.