German Catholic Bishops on Abuse: Church Is at “Point of No Return”

Bilgrimage blog

November 28, 2018

By William Lindsey

In a flurry of statements ahead of the first day to commemorate victims of sexual abuse ever held in Germany, on Sunday this week, the German bishops said the Church had reached “a point of no return” and needed to act with the utmost urgency.

Bishops said the crisis was “of the most extreme dimension” and new approaches towards sexuality, gender equality, celibacy and the role of women had to be discussed.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, who is responsible for sexual abuse problems in the German bishops’ conference, said it had become clear that the Church could no longer consider abuse an internal church problem and that dioceses must therefore open their archives for independent experts. “This means the bishop must give up his control and hand over all further investigations to independent experts”, he told the German weekly “Der Spiegel”.

Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck of Essen told that the crisis of confidence in the Church had now reached “the most extreme dimension” and a “point of no return” which meant that everything was completely different to what went before. “The Church must now discuss a new approach to those questions which stem from the abuse crisis, namely, the handling of sexuality, gender equality, celibacy and the role of women in the Church. We can and must face this challenge,” he emphasised.

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