German Jesuit urges the public to pressure bishops on abuse investigations

La Croix

“The idea that the Church, the Christian faith, and even the Bible message would be harmed if one openly discusses the problems and calls a spade a spade has become too deeply rooted in Catholic circles,” Fr Wolfgang Beck said.

Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

A young Jesuit theologian has called on the wider public to force Germany’s bishops into investigating Church structures that foment clerical power and lack of transparency, elements he said are directly linked to abuse of minors.

“Please help to keep up the pressure,” Fr Wolfgang Beck said on July 23rd while making one of his frequent appearances on the widely viewed “Word for Sunday” program on German state television’s flagship channel.

The 43-year-old pastoral theologian spoke about the shame he felt after the reading the recently published Regensburg Domspatzen report, which revealed that more than 500 choir boys had been physically and sexually abused.

Fr Beck, who teaches at the Sankt Georgen Jesuit University and seminary in Frankfurt, said some commentators had described the report as a “glimpse of hell”.

“When one thinks of what the victims went through and the sluggish reaction of those responsible in the Church, I can only say once again that words fail me. As a citizen I am horrified and as a priest deeply ashamed,” he said.

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