As per a leaked study which was due to be released on the 25th of September, commissioned by the Church itself and conducted by the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg and Mannheim, Roman Catholic priests abused more than 3600 children in Germany between 1946 and 2014. According to German outlet Spiegel Online, 1670 clergymen have reportedly committed sexual attacks on 3677 children. As per the study, most of the victims were boys and one out of every six cases of abuse involved rape.
“We are aware of the extent of the sexual abuse that is supported by the results of the study,” Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier said. “It is depressing and shameful.” According to Christian Pfeiffer, a criminologist, the findings although shocking underestimate the real extent of the menace. “The report does not give the full picture, and is not fully independent,” he said.
Ackermann said in a written statement to CNN that the objective of the study was to “gain more clarity and transparency about this dark side of our church, for the sake of those affected, but also to see for ourselves the wrongdoings and to ensure this cannot be repeated.” The statement continued: ”It is about a responsible and professional investigation. I am convinced that the study is a comprehensive and thorough survey that provides figures and analysis from which we will continue to learn. This also applies to the findings, which provide a deeper insight into the perpetrators’ actions and the behaviour of church leaders in recent decades. Again, I emphasize: The study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church, but above all, and first and foremost, to those affected.”
The conclusions of the researchers portray a familiar pattern of events. They asserted that some files were manipulated or destroyed, no justice was delivered in many cases, and that on several occasions, the accused was simply transferred to another diocese without informing the congregation of his sordid past.
Meanwhile, Pope Francis has summoned senior Catholic Bishops from around the world to discuss measures to protect minors from clerical sexual abuse. However, we would like to remind our readers, the Pope himself is accused of being aware of the sexual transgressions of a senior Church official and yet elevating him to higher positions of power.
The Vatican has a long history of child sexual abuse by its clergymen. More recently, it has suffered a severe crackdown by the authorities in Chile in connection with allegations of child abuse. It was also revealed recently that the Catholic Church covered up sexual abuse by more than 300 priests in Pennsylvania.
In India, as well, we are witnessing currently the systemic cultural problem within the Church that allows priests to get away with sex crimes without any consequences. Recently in Kerala, after a nun had accused Bishop rape, the Church body came out in support of the accused calling him an “innocent soul” and even attempted to slander the alleged rape victim.