Trier (dpa) – Processing the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Germany will remain a task for years, according to Bishop Stephan Ackermann.
“That will be a painful process,” said the representative of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK) for questions about sexual abuse in Trier from the German news agency. Over the next five years, all 27 dioceses nationwide would face an independent review by specially formed committees dealing with “responsibilities” – how people dealt with perpetrators and victims in the past.
“It’s also about people. And that will be painful, because the images you have of people who were also formative and positive add a new side, ”said the Bishop of Trier. There will be “dark spots then”. But that is a process that “belongs to fairness”. With the establishment of the committees, on which the majority of those affected and external experts sit, the dioceses have a different structure. The body should be in Trier by early 2021.
In the autumn of 2018, the Catholic Church published the so-called MHG research and with it figures on sexual abuse. According to this information, in the personnel files from 1946 to 2014, a total of 1,670 clergy were accused of sexually assaulting minors. There were 3,677 victims. The abuse scandal started in early 2010.
Since the beginning of 2021, victims of abuse have been able to request higher sums following a new regulation of recognition fees. The September resolution of the German bishops provides for financial contributions of up to EUR 50,000. “High payments are of course to be expected,” said Ackermann. It is believed that “a significant number” of those affected, who have previously received benefits in recognition of their suffering, would reapply.
The corresponding millions of funds would be provided by the dioceses. “That must be done by the dioceses,” said the Bishop of Trier. He also referred to the solidarity with which, for example, could be supported orders for which the financial resources were insufficient. Ackermann made it clear that it is not the payment of the services that is actually painful for the dioceses: “The injustice that has happened is painful.”
Previous payments averaged 5000 euros per person. According to the DBK, national recommendations of approximately 10.3 million euros were made to the dioceses at the beginning of 2020 for approximately 2,200 applications for benefits in recognition of the suffering.
The bishop considered it commendable that Cardinal Reinhard Marx set up a charity for victims of abuse with about $ 500,000 from his private assets. “I welcome all initiatives that go beyond the mandatory tasks that we have as dioceses,” said Ackermann. “It needs that too.”
Ackermann is not planning a donation. He continues his initiative: the Institute for the Prevention and Treatment of Sexual Violence in the Catholic Church (IPA) Grafschaft-Lantershofen, founded in 2019, which operates nationally and independently. “I concentrate my work there.”