Admin l Wednesday, March 08, 2023
FRANKFURT – Following the release of a study on sexual violence in the German diocese of Mainz, Bishop Peter Kohlgraf on Wednesday expressed horror at the cases detailed and also criticized the Church’s failure to take responsibility.
“Several times the descriptions were deeply shocking for me as a Christian and a human being,” Kohlgraf told a press conference in Mainz, south-west of Frankfurt, citing a systemic failure in the Catholic Church to deal with offenders in its midst.
“A lack of acceptance of responsibility has favoured abuse,” the bishop said.
Kohlgraf also referred to his predecessor Cardinal Karl Lehmann, who prior to his death in 2018 headed the German Bishops’ Conference and, according to the study, repeatedly doubted the responsibility of the Church and the diocese for acts of abuse.
In the study presented last Friday by independent lawyer Ulrich Weber, Lehmann came under heavy criticism for the Church’s and his own failure to take action in many of the hundreds of alleged abuse cases cited.
Commissioned by the diocese, the study showed that for decades cases of sexual violence were not consistently prosecuted, were partly concealed and played down, and the victims discredited.
“In dealing with those affected by abuse, [Lehmann] embodies a church that demarcates and does not face up to its responsibility,” Kohlgraf said.