Berlin, Sep 13: A report on sexual abuse inside the Catholic Church in Germany says at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy between 1946 and 2014, two leading German media outlets said Wednesday. Bishop Stephan Ackermann said, “It is depressing and shameful for us.” While Pope Francis has called for an extraordinary meeting of top Catholic officials on to discuss the escalating abuse scandal.
The report saying “at least” 3,766 cases of child sex abuse by the clergy between 1946 and 2014 commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference and conducted by the Universities of Giessen, Heidelberg and Mannheim — has taken four years to assemble and will be released in full on September 25.
The outlets said on Wednesday that the study has revealed that the victims were mostly boys, more than half of whom were aged 13 or younger. Every sixth case involved a rape and at least 1,670 clergies were involved, the report also reveals.
Ackermann said in the statement that the aim of the study was to “gain more clarity and transparency about this dark side of our church, for the sake of those affected, but also to see for ourselves the wrongdoings and to ensure this cannot be repeated”.
“It is about a responsible and professional investigation. I am convinced that the study is a comprehensive and thorough survey that provides figures and analysis from which we will continue to learn… The study is a measure that we owe not only to the Church, but above all, and first and foremost, to those affected,” he added.
The German Bishops’ Conference will initiate a hotline for the public to call a day before the scheduled publication later this month.
Francis will meet the presidents of the Catholic bishops conferences from around the world in the Vatican from February 21-24, according to a Vatican statement on Wednesday.