Catholic Officials Demand Silence from Journalists who Walk Out in Protest, SNAP Applauds their Integrity

Catholic officials in Cologne demanded silence from journalists who were invited to a press event on a report into the scope and handling of clergy sexual abuse within Germany’s largest and wealthiest Archdiocese. Instead, those reporters walked out as one, showing that their silence cannot be demanded and that parishioners and the public deserve the whole truth about this serious issue.

The integrity of these journalists is to be applauded and their actions should be replicated by the media worldwide when Catholic officials anywhere attempt to strongarm reporters into silence. The fact is, the actions by Archdiocesan leaders in Cologne are yet another example of the “abuse playbook” that was identified in the 2018 Pennsylvania Grand Jury Report That is, the Church’s attempts to control the flow of information and obfuscate the who, when, and why of abuse and cover-up in Germany are not accidental but rather are part of a deliberate plan.

To us, this situation and these actions demand interference from the secular government. As it is, the German government and the German Catholic Church are closely linked since the Church receives federal tax revenues. For that reason alone, the citizens of Germany are owed a secular investigation into the scope of Catholic clergy abuse within their country. Clearly, the tax dollars of German citizens are being used to keep information that can help protect children and prevent abuse hidden from the public. We hope that German parishioners and politicians will speak out now against this sad attempt at control and will reassert their own power.

The journalists who walked out of this press conference deserve applause and recognition. We are grateful to them and hope that their example inspires others to stand up for what is right versus doing what is easy.

CONTACT: Zach Hiner, SNAP Executive Director (zhiner@snapnetwork.org, 517-974-9009)

(SNAP, the Survivors Network, has been providing support for victims of sexual abuse in institutional settings for 30 years. We have more than 25,000 survivors and supporters in our network. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)


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  • Mark Vath
    commented 2021-01-11 10:50:14 -0600
    While I applaud the motives here, which are noteworthy, the church ultimately got what it wanted. Silence.
  • Gerd Schwartz
    commented 2021-01-09 03:40:02 -0600
    Sad to see this happening in my home town, Cologne. Angry that the German state is still complicit in abuse by priests by continuing to withhold the German Church Tax as part of income tax withholding. If you want to tackle abuse, stop state-sanctioned church tax withholding.
  • Zach Hiner
    published this page in Media Statements 2021-01-07 11:25:36 -0600

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