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“We need a respectful, mutual listening, free of ideology and predetermined agendas.” Pope Francis, Let us Dream, December 2020

German bishops apologise formally, release sex abuse data

The head of the German bishops conference formally apologised for sexual abuse in the Church, saying it “has been denied, turned away from and covered up for far too long.”

“Sexual abuse is a crime,” Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich and Freising told a news conference in Fulda, Germany. “And whoever is guilty of it must be punished by law.”

The bishops met in a plenary session in Fulda and released a study, conducted on behalf of the bishops’ conference from 2010 to 2014, on abuse. The study, leaked earlier in September, researched an estimated 3,700 sex abuse cases in the German Church.

Cardinal Marx said that, although prevention measures had been put in place by the bishops’ conference, it was not enough.

“I feel shame for looking away from many who did not want to believe what happened and who did not provide care for the victims. That also applies to me,” the cardinal said. “We did not listen to the victims.”

“As a Church, we want to build up new trust. I know that many people do not believe us anymore. And I understand that,” he said. “But I hope very much that we can earn trust again.”

Picture: Cardinal Reinhard Marx of Munich reacts during a presentation of a study on sexual abuse in the German Church. The study, leaked earlier, was officially presented during the German bishops’ conference meeting in Fulda, Germany. (CNS photo/Armando Babani, EPA).