• Germany's news in English
 

Some sex abusers 'should work in church'

The Local · 18 May 2012, 10:49

Published: 18 May 2012 10:49 GMT+02:00

The contrasting comments came on the second day of the 98th Katholikentag, a major conference that is expected to draw 60,000 Catholics to Mannheim over the weekend.

There should not be a blanket ban from employing priests who have committed sexual crimes, argued Bishop of Trier Stephen Ackermann, the church official responsible for dealing with the sex abuse scandal in the church.

There are "a number of motives," Ackermann told a crowd listening to a debate on the subject. It made sense to differentiate among the different types of offenders, he said. "Otherwise we could slide into a dynamic that calls for all of them to be imprisoned," he said.

His comments were met with disgust from a sexual abuse victim in the audience, who said it was incomprehensible that offenders continued to work for the church.

Hefty criticism also came from Friedhelm Hengsbach, a theologian who specialises in social ethics. Hengsbach delivered the opening speech of an alternative conference to the mainstream Catholic one underway.

The church's structures were crusty, old and full of "rust, moths and mildew," he said. In a fiery speech, Hengsbach said the church hierarchy tried to prevent reform and instead presented the structural crisis within the church as a crisis of faith.

But some momentum for change was evident from a speech by Berlin Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki.

He told a crowd on Thursday that the church should view long-term, faithful homosexual relationships as they do heterosexual ones.

"When two homosexuals take responsibility for one another, if they deal with each other in a faithful and long-term way, then you have to see it in the same way as heterosexual relationships," Woelki told an astonished crowd, according to a story in the Tagesspiegel newspaper.

Woekli acknowledged that the church saw the relationship between a man and a woman as the basis for creation, but added that it was time to think further about the church's attitude toward same sex relationships.

Klaus Mertes, a Jesuit priest who made the sexual abuse scandal at a German Catholic school public, told the crowd that the church needed to think about how it can change.

Chancellor Angela Merkel, the daughter of a protestant minister, was due to address the crowd on Friday. She will speak about the ageing society.

The Central Council of Muslims in Germany has invited Catholics to attend a Friday service, the group said. The Catholic conference opened Wednesday evening and runs until Sunday.

DPA/The Local/mw

The Local (news@thelocal.de)

Your comments about this article

14:27 May 18, 2012 by The-ex-pat
There are "a number of motives," Ackermann told a crowd listening to a debate on the subject. It made sense to differentiate among the different types of offenders, he said. "Otherwise we could slide into a dynamic that calls for all of them to be imprisoned," he said.

Heaven forbid that a kiddy fiddler should end up in prison.............
20:13 May 18, 2012 by raandy
Lets call these priest that victimize children. " criminal child abusers" and let the police deal with this not the cronyism of the antiquated church.

Deal with adult homosexuals as you will, makes no difference to me ,as the church is source of social ills not social solutions.
22:43 May 18, 2012 by strahlungsamt
"Otherwise we could slide into a dynamic that calls for all of them to be imprisoned,"

He makes that sound like a bad thing.
00:38 May 19, 2012 by AltSchwabinger
If the abuser were a Democratic congressman, voters could keep him employed by constantly re-electing him as they did with Gerry Studds who had an affair with a 17-year-old page boy.

And, of course, Roman Polanski (who forcibly raped a 13-year-old girl) was just the victim of a witch hunt by puritanical American prudes.

And if Woody Allen wants to leave his wife and marry his step daughter, well, you know, he's just one of those eccentric artistic types.

But if it's a Catholic priest, let's throw him in jail and throw away the key!
14:56 May 19, 2012 by SMP TURLISH
Quite frankly, if Bishop Stephen Ackermann truly believes such a thing he should not be a bishop - anywhere. Known, credibly accused or convicted sexual predators should be removed from the priesthood and many of them should be imprisoned because of their crimes.

A "blanket ban?" Absolutely.

Because of the horrific and widespread conspiracy by bishops in the United States most of the priest/sexual predators escaped criminal prosecution.

Sister Maureen Paul Turlish

Advocate for Victim/Survivors & Legislative Reform

New Castle, Delaware, USA

maturlishmdsnd@yahoo.com

"There should not be a blanket ban from employing priests who have committed sexual crimes, argued Bishop of Trier Stephen Ackermann, the church official responsible for dealing with the sex abuse scandal in the church."
10:42 May 22, 2012 by australian
Surely when Catholic leaders cease being Catholic, they should be moved along?
Today's headlines
Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran
Daniel Barenboim. Photo: DPA

Berlin orchestra's Tehran concert blocked by Iran

1 hour ago

Iran has barred famed conductor Daniel Barenboim from entering the Islamic republic because of his Israeli citizenship, thwarting his plan to lead a performance in Tehran, media reported Sunday.

Bundesliga
Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win
Borussia Dortmund celebrate scoring against Hertha Berlin. Photo:DPA

Dortmund reclaim top spot with Hertha win

1 hour ago

Borussia Dortmund reclaimed top spot in the Bundesliga from Bayern Munich on Sunday with a 3-1 victory over Hertha Berlin -- their eighth straight win under new coach Thomas Tuchel.

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan
Frank-Walter Steinmeier in Afghanistan on Sunday. Photo:DPA

Germany's friendship vow to Afghanistan

2 hours ago

Foreign Minister Frank-Walter Steinmeier said that German friendship with Afghanistan had "no end date" as he visited Kabul under tight security on Sunday.

Migrants crisis
German media and celebs rally for refugees
A welcome party for refugees in Heidenau on Friday. Photo: DPA

German media and celebs rally for refugees

16 hours ago

Germany may have witnessed violent anti-refugee protests this week -- but the message from the country's media and celebrities is a loud and determined welcome for people fleeing the horrors of war.

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train
Ksiaz Castle in Poland, around where the treasure is fabled to be. Photo: Drozdp, via Wikimedia Commons

Buzz grows over Poland Nazi treasure train

22 hours ago

Poland's deputy culture minister has claimed to have seen a ground-penetrating radar image of the alleged Nazi train that has set off a gold rush, adding that he is 99 percent sure it exists, while other sources claim the treasure has already been found.

Migrants crisis
Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden
Photo: Oliver Killig / Picture Alliance / DPA

Mass pro-refugee rally held in Dresden

1 day ago

Thousands of people took to the streets of the German city of Dresden on Saturday to welcome refugees, an AFP journalist at the scene said, following a string of violent anti-migrant protests in the region.

Migrant crisis
Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court
Screen shot from video by Andi Schiel

Austria refugee tragedy suspects appear in court

1 day ago

Four defendants were to appear in court in Hungary on Saturday over Austria's migrant truck tragedy, as a "horrified and heartbroken" UN chief called for international action to end Europe's refugee crisis.

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay
Anti-refugee demonstrators carry a sign accusing Chancellor Angela Merkel of being a "traitor to the nation" this week in Heidenau. Photo: DPA

German court: Ban on refugee demos must stay

2 days ago

Update: A German court on Friday night reinstated a ban on rallies in an eastern town hit by violent anti-migrant protests, overturning an earlier decision that found the restriction to be "illegal".

Footballers gone wild
Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village
Tegernsee is a famous beauty sport. Photo: DPA

Neuer's 'glass palace' angers idyllic village

2 days ago

Villagers in the picturesque Bavarian region of Tegernsee are bristling at World Cup-winning Germany goalkeeper and Bayern Munich star Manuel Neuer's plan to build a huge glass villa on the shores of their beautiful lake.

Interview
'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'
Canadian composer and performer Owen Pallett. Photo: Brian Vu

'Berlin is kind of like the best American city'

2 days ago

The Local speaks with Oscar-nominated Canadian musician Owen Pallett about performing at legendary Berlin club Berghain - and just why the world's artists are so fascinated with the German capital.

RECEIVE OUR NEWSLETTER AND ALERTS

National
Weekend of anti-refugee violence shocks Germany
National
Half of Germans 'have had sex in their car'
Society
Deadly stew spooks home vegetable gardeners
Politics
The man who brought two Germanies together
Features
Where to get your culture fix in Cologne
Education
Fairytale world of Brothers Grimm brought to life
Rhineland
Thieves leave 1,000 open beers untasted
National
Way to some Germans' hearts is through their wallets
National
Germany's biggest challenge: European refugee crisis
Travel
Where to get your adrenaline pumping in Germany
Technology
Could thieves hack into luxury cars?
What to watch out for when snapping your lunch
National
German lefties through history
National
The fight over prostitution heats up
National
Merkel: migrants, not Greece, are the real challenge
Features
How I explained the Queen to the Germans
Education
Why Germany does 'back-to-school' traditions better
National
Germans are ‘not how foreigners think’
National
A mum and daughter reunite 70 years after WWII
Sport
Bra stops bullet in hunting mishap miracle
National
Cows trample German woman to death in Graubünden Alps
Business & Money
Start-up helps new Berliners short cut bureaucracy
National
The 1,000s of Germans massacred after the Second World War
Sport
Germany star scores own goal with PR gaffe
Features
'Women-only' parking: sensible or sexist?
Politics
Satire and reality blur in parody party's strife
National
13-year-old boy detained for trying to join Isis
Culture
Berlin restaurant serves up Greek Crisis Menu
Rhineland
Doctor on trial after woman wakes in morgue
Society
Six odd things Germans do in the summer
Society
Police bust kinky Bavarian couple over painful love-making
Politics
Merkel brings Palestinian girl to tears
Hamburg
Amateur archaeologist finds Nazi gold hoard
National
Could Merkel learn a lesson in love from this doppelganger?
Travel
Why you should stay in Germany for the summer holidays
Sport
German press tell Schweinsteiger 'good riddance'
National
Hamburg gets a bouncing 100kg baby girl
Latest news from The Local in Austria

More news from Austria at thelocal.at

Latest news from The Local in Switzerland

More news from Switzerland at thelocal.ch

Latest news from The Local in Denmark

More news from Denmark at thelocal.dk

Latest news from The Local in Spain

More news from Spain at thelocal.es

Latest news from The Local in France

More news from France at thelocal.fr

Latest news from The Local in Italy

More news from Italy at thelocal.it

Latest news from The Local in Norway

More news from Norway at thelocal.no

Latest news from The Local in Sweden

More news from Sweden at thelocal.se

6,967
jobs available
Toytown Germany
Germany's English-speaking crowd