September 25, 2018
The official release today by the German bishops of their self-authorized study of the sexual abuse of children in the German church, already widely reported on last week from leaked sources, is significant not only for what it says but for what it doesn’t say. As the authors of the report concede, as shocking and alarming as their conclusions are, the true extent of the abuse is likely much greater and the actual number of victims much higher.
In fact, although claiming to be a National report on the problem of clerical abuse, it clearly is not. No examination of religious order abusers is included in the findings. Male religious orders account for approximately a quarter or all German Catholic clerics. They comprise some of the most high-profile cases of abuse which have been publicly exposed in Germany, especially in educational schools and institutions. As shown in other national studies, religious orders have some of the greatest concentration of abusers, and are particularly prone to transfer clerical sex offenders across wide geographical regions, including to other countries where their orders operate.
Researchers were also given limited and constrained access to church files, no doubt because the German bishops do not want an investigation and examination into their own conduct of systematically transferring and concealing child sex offenders in parishes and schools across Germany.
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