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Sexual Abuse of Minors by Catholic Priests in Pennsylvania, Germany, etc:

2018-OCT to 2019-JAN:
Two German states investigating church abuse.
Archbishop accused of abuse.
German law professors demand investigation.
Cardinal Gerhard Müller discusses crisis.
U.S. confidence in clergy drops.

Part 5 of five parts:

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This topic continues here from the previous essay.

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2018-OCT: Two German states investigating abuse by priests in the Catholic Church:

Catholic bishops in Germany authorized and financed a clergy sex-abuse investigation. Their report found 3,677 suspected victims and 1,670 suspected clerical offenders, but did not mention any names. The alleged offenders are, of course, all male, as are most of their alleged victims. The names of members of the German heirarchy who covered-up the abuse were not mentioned.

It is called the "MHG Study." A PDF copy in German can be downloded.

Professor Christian Pfeiffe, a criminologist who started the study, also criticized the lack of names. He said:

"A consequence is that the scientists were not able to assign their findings to individual dioceses and the responsible bishops."

The states of Bavaria and Lower Saxony have requested full access to files in all of the dioceses in the two states. Katarina Barley, the German minister of Justice has stated that, under law, in criminal cases, the governments automatically have such access. She said:

"The Church law does not stand above the criminal law -– it is the opposite."

Responding to rumors that some German dioceses have destroyed files about clergy abuse, she said:

"To destroy or manipulate in order to protect someone from criminal prosecution can itself be a criminal act [punishable with up to] five years in prison. ... There is not such a thing as a secret archive in a state under the rule of law."

Maike Hickson, writimg for Life Site News, said:

"The district attorney's office in Munich explains that 'we now therefore take the Catholic bishops at their word' and expect cooperation from them, even asking them to make sure that the State is being sufficiently informed about each individual criminal incident. The dioceses of Bamberg and Würzburg have already announced their cooperation. ..."

"The German Federal Minister of Justice Katarina Barley gave an interview on October 3 and made it clear that any criminal events within the Catholic Church have to be 'investigated by the police, the district attorneys, and the penal courts.' But so far, she has not taken any concrete steps on the federal level." 1

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2018-OCT: Germany: Six law professors ask for investigation of sexual abuse by Catholic clergy:

Six professors from the Institut für Weltanschauungsrecht (an Institute studying the law pertaining to world views) have recommended an investigation. They gave the United States as a good example, where "... criminal investigations [have] already been undertaken."

Maike Hickson, writing for Life Site News said:

"... six law experts have ... brought charges against all 27 German dioceses to the [attention of] responsible attorneys general throughout the country. Pointing to the U.S. and other countries, they think that a thorough investigation of sex abuse crimes in the Church is also needed in Germany. They write:

'There is also a need to act swiftly since the statutes of limitations might soon come into play'." 2

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Cardinal Gerhard Müller discusses abuse crisis among Roman Catholic clergy:

Maike Hickson of Life Site News interviewed Cardinal Gerhard Müller -- the former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith (2012-2017) They discussed the problem of same-sex sexual activity among Catholic clergy. Cardinal Müller said:

" ... homosexual conduct of clergymen can in no case be tolerated. ... a homosexual network, was able to wreak havoc in a mafia-like manner in the Church is connected with the underestimation of the moral depravity of homosexual acts among adults. ..."

"It is part of the crisis that one does not wish to see the true causes and covers them up with the help of propaganda phrases of the homosexual lobby. Fornication with teenagers and adults is a mortal sin which no power on earth can declare to be morally neutral."

He referred to the "LGB [ideology within the Church as] atheistic," ... the 'LGBT' [term] has no place in Church documents."

He noted that:

"More than 80% of the victims of these sexual offenders are teenagers of the male sex. One cannot conclude from this, however, that the majority of the priests are prone to homosexual fornication, but, rather, only that the majority of the offenders have sought out, in their deep disorder of their passions, male victims." 3

The German Catholic Bishop's news web site, Katholisch.de, interviewed Father Klaus Mertes who denies that homosexuality is related to the abuse crisis in the Church. He says that it is a:

"Homophobic strategy .... [to claim that] homosexuals are offenders. Of course a homosexual clergyman should be able to say 'I am homosexual."4

In a later interview by the German regional newspaper Passauer Neue Presse, Cardinal Gerhard Müller said:

"The image of man of LGBT organizations cannot be decisive for us. It could only be imposed upon the whole of society with the help of violence in destroying the freedom of religion and conscience. We resist it, even if threatened with the penalty of social depreciation and wild media insults."

He concluded that the Catholic Church in Germany:

"... certainly has no great future when she acts and agitates like a political party." 5

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2018-DEC: Gallup Poll of U.S. Roman Catholic members show a statistically significant drop in confidence in their church:

Once a year, the Gallup organization conducts an "honesty and ethics of professions poll." 6 They sample U.S. public opinion on adults' assessment of the honestly and ethical standards of various professions. The public is asked:

"Please tell me how you would rate the honesty and ethical standards of people in these different fields -- very high, high, average, low or very low?"

One of the professions that Gallup asks about is "clergy."

Both Protestant and Roman Catholic members of the public revealed a drop in confidence. The percentage of respondents rating their clergy "high" or "very high" dropped:

  • Among Protestant, a decline occurred from a high of 60% in the year 2011 to 49% in 2017 with a further drop of 1 percentage point to 48% in 2018.

  • Among Roman Catholics, a decline occurred from a high of 545% in the year 2011 to 49% in 2017 with a major drop of 18 percentage point to 31% in 2018.

Gallup concluded:

"The latest drop in Catholics' positive views of the clergy's ethics, from 49% to 31%, is the second double-digit drop since 2004. Both declines were clearly associated with scandals in the Catholic Church even though the question about clergy does not specify a denomination."

Gallup also noted that the percentage of U.S. adults who identify as Roman Catholic rose from 22% in 1948 to a peak of 29% in 1982 and then dropped to 22% in 2018.

When asked between years 2001 and 2018 "How important would you say religion is in your own life -- very important, fairly important or not very important," those who felt that it was very important has been relatively stable, ranging from a low of 44% in 2008 to a high of 64% in 2013 to 52% in 2018. Meanwhile, the percentage of U.S. adults who report no affiliation with any religious group has risen precipitously from 2% in 1958 to 20% in 2018. These individuals are commonly referred to by the media as "nones." We prefer the term "NOTAs" -- referring to "None Of The Above" because the term "nones" is a homophone with the term "nuns." These are two different terms, both referring to religious groups that sound the same when spoken.

Webmaster's note:

Gallup conducted this survey among a sample of only 1,025 adults selected randomly from all those in DC or in one of the 50 states. Only 210 of the adults questioned were Roman Catholics. This means that the margin of sampling error is ~+mn~ 8 percentage points for Catholic data. In my opinion, the importance of the topics covered justifies a much larger sample size, because their report on the drop in clergy confidence among Roman Catholics is barely significant statistically.

Also, the question that they ask appears to be ambiguous. Some respondents may interpret the question as referring to clergy generally, while others might interpret it as referring only to Christian clergy, and still others might interpret it as referring to clergy in their denomination only.

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References used:

The following information sources were used to prepare and update the above essay. The hyperlinks are not necessarily still active today.

  1. Maike Hickson, "Two German states to investigate sex abuse crimes of Catholic Church," Life Site News, 2018-OCT-12, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  2. Maike Hickson, "Law professors demand Germany investigate sex abuse in its 27 dioceses," Life Site News, 2018-NOV-02, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  3. Maike Hickson, "INTERVIEW: Cdl. Müller on abuse crisis and its link to homosexuality in priesthood," Life Site News, 2018-NOV-21, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  4. Maike Hickson, "Dubia Cardinal, bishops defend Cdl. Müller linking abuse crisis and homosexuality," Life Site News, 2018-NOV-26, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  5. Maike Hickson, "Cdl. Müller doubles down on link between clerical abuse crisis and homosexuality," Life Site News, 2018-DEC-03, at: https://www.lifesitenews.com/
  6. Megan Brenan, "U.S. Catholics' Faith in Clergy Is Shaken," Gallup, 2019-JAN-11, at: https://news.gallup.com/poll/

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How you might have arrived here:

 Home page > Religious Info. > Basic info > Clergy sex abuse > here

or Home page > Religious Violence > Clergy sex abuse > here

or Home page > Christianity > Roman Catholicism > Clergy sex abuse > here

Copyright © 2018 Ontario Consultants on Religious Tolerance
Author: B.A. Robinson
Originally posted on: 2018-AUG-21
Latest update: 2019-JAN-11

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