More Details on German Abuse Report
The AP, via CRUX, reported additional details. Previous reports said the study was commissioned by the German bishops, and implied the bishops also provided data. This is false. The bishops refused to provide the requested data. Despite Pope Francis’ mantra of transparency, somehow his bishops invariably fail to heed his call in this matter. (Of course Pope Francis also refuses to give researchers access to the enormous data base kept by the Vatican’s CDF.)
“Instead of looking at the original church files, [the researchers] sent questionnaires to the dioceses, which then provided the information.” This questionnaire data is almost certainly of lower quality than that held by the bishops.
About the results: “there was evidence that some files were manipulated or destroyed, and many cases were not brought to justice. Sometimes abuse suspects - primarily priests - were simply moved to other dioceses without the congregations being informed about their past.”
Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the head of the German Bishops Conference, said, “I’m ashamed for so many (of us) looking away, not wanting to recognize what happened and not helping the victims. That goes for me as well.” He didn’t say anything about actively aiding and abetting pederast priests. Presumably he is not ashamed of that. They might do it again. Their stonewalling certainly suggests such an inclination.
One of the researchers, Harald Dressing of Mannheim University, said “the figures are only the tip of the iceberg.” That is almost always the case. The Vatican supposedly has complete records of all priests charged with abuse since the early 1980s, but no one outside the Vatican has seen them. Even if they are far from complete, they would almost certainly show the complicity of most bishops in concealing the crimes. Professor Dressing opined, “Generally, the risk of sexual abuse of children inside the Catholic Church continues to exist.”
No one mentioned Pope Francis’ special commission to prevent such abuse. Chances are that despite lots of lip service, we will basically continue to see business as usual – as we have throughout Pope Francis’ tenure.