'Thousands' abused by German priests

Evarado Alatorre
Setiembre 15, 2018

The German study examined more than 38,000 personnel and reference files from 27 dioceses around the country and showed that more than half of the victims were aged at most 13 years old at the time of the crime, Spiegel reported.

Bishop of Trier Stephan Ackermann said the Church was aware of the extent of abuse demonstrated by the study's results.

The aim of the study is to shed light on "this dark side of our Church, for the sake of those affected, but also for us ourselves to see the errors and to do everything to prevent them from being repeated".

The favorability rating of Pope Francis has dropped precipitously after the sex abuse scandal rocked the church. Most of the victims were boys.

Der Spiegel quoted the study as saying that the Church had often transferred clerics accused of sexual abuse without providing the new host community with "appropriate information" about them.

More than 3,600 children in Germany were assaulted by Roman Catholic priests between 1946 and 2014, a leaked report has revealed.

"For my shortcomings of the past and of the present I take full responsibility and wish that I could wipe away all the pain, confusion and disillusionment that people feel, and I wish that I could redo some decisions I have made in my three decades as a bishop and each time get it right", Wuerl said in the September 13 letter.

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Australia concluded a wide ranging royal commission into child sex abuse within the Catholic Church in 2017.

Only one third of those accused had to face legal proceedings by the Church and sanctions, if imposed at all, were minimal, it said, adding that 4 percent of those found to have committed sexual abuse were still working.

Asked about the report, a spokesman for the Bishops' Conference told Reuters: "We are checking the matter".

The Church had planned to offer counselling helplines around the official publication date of the report for people who are affected by it, he said.

But elsewhere on Wednesday, Pope Francis summoned Catholic bishops to the Vatican for a discussion on how to protect children in February next year.

The pontiff has faced mounting criticism over his handling of historic clerical sex abuse allegations.

Wuerl has faced calls to resign, including from a local deacon at St. Matthew's Cathedral and many other D.C. -area Catholics over his handling of sex abuse allegations by Catholic clergy in Pennsylvania when Wuerl was bishop there almost 30 years ago. Last month, a former Vatican ambassador, Archbishop Carlo Maria Vigano, said he had informed the Pope about claims regarding former top American cardinal Theodore McCarrick in 2013 but no further action was taken.

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