National Catholic Reporter
[“Das System Regensburg” – Die Zeit]
Christa Pongratz-Lippitt | Jan. 29, 2016
A former chairman of the lay diocesan council in Regensburg, Germany, has alleged that Vatican Cardinal Gerhard Müller “systematically” prevented the investigation of abuse in Germany’s famous “Regensburger Domspatzen” boys’ choir during his time as Bishop of Regensburg.
The allegations against Müller, who is now the prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, coincided with 60 further alleged abuse victims coming forward since Ulrich Weber, an independent lawyer, published an interim report in January which showed that three times as many boys had been abused between 1953 and 1992 than reported by the diocese.
“My impartiality as an independent lawyer is the reason why more alleged victims now want to consult me. They feel that I will listen to them,” Weber, who was commissioned by the Regensburg diocese to further investigate the abuse at the choir boys school, told domradio.de.
In a long interview in the German weekly Die Zeit, former chairman Fritz Wallner described how Müller, who was Bishop of Regensburg from 2002-2012, and his vicar-general, Fr. Michael Fuchs, “systematically” prevented abuse cases from being investigated and calls for Fuchs, who is still vicar-general of Regensburg, to step down.
In 2005, Müller disbanded the lay diocesan council, Wallner said, “as he wanted to hold the reins firmly in his own hands and that proved fatal for inner-church investigation of abuse.”
Two years later, Wallner said that Müller installed a priest in a parish who had been sentenced for sexually abusing minors in a previous parish. When the priest was again arrested for abusing children in his new parish, Wallner said Müller defended his decision to re-install the priest by pointing out that he had been assured by the man’s psychiatrist that he was “healed.”
Asked at the time whether he felt responsible for re-installing the priest now that he had again sexually abused children, Müller said that the priest had denied the abuse 12 times to Müller’s face, and therefore the priest, had a “disturbed view of the truth.”
According to Wallner, Müller ignored the 2002 German bishops’ conference’s guidelines, which recommended that priests sentenced for sexual abuse of minors should never again be allowed to work with children or young people. Müller’s view was that each diocese had to shoulder the responsibility for such cases itself.
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