Germany’s Catholic bishops have planned to set up an advisory council to address cases of child sex abuse by priests.
“The new advisory council is a response to an abuse study published in September 2018,’’ the German Bishops’ Conference, DBK, said on Wednesday in Bonn.
According to DBK abuse commissioner Bishop Stephan Ackermann, the experiences of the past years have clearly shown them that the coming to terms with and prevention of sexual abuse can only succeed effectively together with those affected.
“I am confident that the advisory board for those affected is a helpful institution for this.
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“Those affected by clerical sexual abuse should express their interest in participating in the council by February 7.
“Relatives and legal guardians have also been invited to participate,’’ Ackermann said.
The 2018 investigation into abuse had shown that no fewer than 1,670 Catholic clerics had abused 3,677 minors, most of them boys, between 1946 and 2014.
In church archives, it was said references to the sexual abuse of minors were found in the records of 4.4 per cent of all clerics.
The actual number of cases of abuse is thought to be higher.
The authors of the study also warned that the issue of abuse has by no means been resolved.
The DBK and the Central Committee of German Catholics involved in a two-year reform process.