Pope Benedict’s retirement has many European Catholics hoping for reform

CBC News (Canada)

By Karen Pauls, CBC News

Posted: Feb 28, 2013

Many devout Catholics in Europe feel that church doctrine and social reality have drifted too far apart – and that it’s time for a change.

But no matter who is chosen as the new pope, it won’t be enough to spur Chris Fischer to return to the parish pews.

“For me it’s over, it’s really over. Because I think there are so many things they [the Catholic Church] have to change,” he says, taking a deep breath and gazing out the window of a restaurant near the Munich Cathedral.

Fischer and countless others say they have been victimized twice. First, by priests or nuns who sexually or physically abused them. Second, by a church structure that protected the perpetrators and has been slow to offer help and healing to the victims.

Fischer was 12 years old when he was sent to a boarding school in southern Germany run by a Vatican missionary order.

“The sexual abuse usually took place in the evening. The priest would come to our bed and … touched us,” Fischer says, haltingly and mostly in German, adding that he doesn’t remember all the details.

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