Massive sexual abuse of children and adolescents by Catholic clergymen has been reported from the United States, from Ireland, and now from Germany. This represents an enormous image loss for the Catholic church and spotlights the profound crisis in which this church is caught.
Speaking for the German Bishops’ Conference, its chairman, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg, has made an initial public statement. That Zollitsch has branded the abuse cases as “outrageous crimes” and that the bishops’ conference as a whole, in its statement of Feb. 25, has asked pardon of all the victims are first steps in coming to terms with this inexcusable misconduct, but further steps must follow. Moreover, Zollitsch’s statement contains three grievous errors, which cannot pass without rebuttal.
* First erroneous assertion: Sexual abuse by clergymen has nothing to do with celibacy.