The Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests
SNAP Press Statement
For immediate release: Friday, December 3, 2010
Abuse victims blast German bishops for seeking forgiveness
Statement by Barbara Blaine of Chicago, president of SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests (312-399-4747, [email protected])
Forgiveness happens after a crisis passes. This crisis, however, is current. No one in his right mind believes that all German child molesting clerics have been suspended, convicted and jailed. Nor does anyone believe we all know the full truth about and extent of decades of abuse and cover up within the church.
Parents, parishioners and the public need to know who and where those who committed and concealed clergy sex crimes are. Those wrong-doers must be publicly exposed and disciplined. Until these steps are taken, it is irresponsible to even raise the issue of forgiveness.
Even discussing forgiveness at this point is an enormous disservice to still-vulnerable children and still-suffering victims and still-hurting Catholics.
Finally, no reasonable person can assume the honesty and validity of any so-called investigation that relies on long-secretive and self-serving church officials. The German Catholic hierarchy has ignored and hidden horrific clergy sex crimes for decades. Only a fool would believe that this ancient, rigid, all-male monarchy has suddenly done a complete reversal and is being open now, just because of some damaging newspaper headlines.
(SNAP, the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, is the world’s oldest and largest support group for clergy abuse victims. We’ve been around for 22 years and have more than 10,000 members. Despite the word “priest” in our title, we have members who were molested by religious figures of all denominations, including nuns, rabbis, bishops, and Protestant ministers. Our website is SNAPnetwork.org)
Contact David Clohessy (314-566-9790 cell, [email protected]), Barbara Blaine (312-399-4747, [email protected]), Peter Isely (414-429-7259, [email protected]), Barbara Dorris (314-862-7688 home, 314-503-0003 cell, [email protected])
German cardinal asks abuse victims for forgiveness
By ANDREA M. JAUCH and MELISSA EDDY
The Associated Press - Friday, December 3, 2010; 12:16 PM
MUNICH -- The archbishop of Munich and Freising begged forgiveness on Friday for "everything those working for the church have done" as he presented a report that showed over 250 priests and religion teachers abused children in a diocese that was once presided over by Pope Benedict XVI.
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, who commissioned the report, said the Roman Catholic Church in Germany would have to work to regain the trust that has been lost since reports of abuse at the hands of German priests broke earlier this year.
"We want to learn from our bad mistakes and misconduct of the past," Marx said. "And as archbishop, I also ask for forgiveness in the name of the Church for everything that those working for the church have done."
Attorney Marion Westphal has been tasked with examining some 13,200 documents from the diocese, spanning from 1945 to 2009, for the report. She said at a press conference Friday that she had found instances of abuse among 159 priests, but underlined that "we must assume the real number is much higher" given that countless documents that are believed to have served as evidence of wrongdoing were missing or appeared to have been purposely destroyed.
We were faced, in researching the documents, with a far-reaching case of destruction and found that many documents were not stored in the bishop's office and displayed clear indications of manipulation," Westphal said.
Of those priests determined to have been abusive, some 26 were cases of a sexual nature, all of which were prosecuted according to church regulations at the time, she said. None of the priests were still alive. The remainder of the abuse cases were physical.
In addition, the report found 96 religion teachers commissioned by the diocese to hold classes on Roman Catholicism in regional schools were abusive, only one of them sexually.
Westphal said the report revealed no further information regarding the case of the Rev. Peter Hullermann, who was transferred to the diocese following sexual abuse of minors elsewhere. Benedict, then Joseph Ratzinger, was archbishop at the time.
She further underlined that it was largely the responsibility of the general vicar, and not the archbishop, to make decisions regarding the movement of priests.
The future pope served as archbishop of the diocese from 1977-1981.
The report also focused on how the church could move forward in dealing with reported cases of abuse, by following new guidelines and making sure that all documents are digitized and held in a central archive.
Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests