Sex abuse scandal in German Catholic Church sparks celibacy debate


September 24, 2018

German bishops have begun meeting in Fulda to discuss a study on widespread sex abuse by Catholic priests. Some are calling for celibacy to be overhauled, while others want the church to focus on victim compensation.

German Cardinal Reinhard Marx opened a widely-anticipated meeting of the Bishops’ Conference on Monday by saying that the issue of sexual abuse had reached an “important turning point for the Catholic Church” both in Germany and beyond.

“I feel we have reached a turning point about the issues such as prevention and the treatment of victims, but also about how the Church will deal with its own future,” Marx said in the German town of Fulda.

The bishops are due to discuss a large-scale study on sex abuse on Tuesday. The “Study on the Sexual Abuse of Minors by Clergy,” commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference in 2014, were published on September 11 in the German newspaper Die Zeit and the magazine Der Spiegel. The study has already prompted severe reactions in Germany.

On Monday, Cardinal Marx told the bishops: “We must do more: listen, understand and take appropriate measures.”

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