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Zollitsch says pope 'warning' German clergy

AFP/The Local · 20 Mar 2010, 14:55

Published: 20 Mar 2010 14:55 GMT+01:00

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The letter is "at the same time a warning to us," Zollitsch said in a statement, and "is valid for the entire Church."

Germany's Catholic Church has been thrown into crisis in recent weeks as hundreds of people have come forward alleging they were abused as minors by priests between the 1950s and 1980s.

Similar scandals have also erupted in the Netherlands, Austria and Switzerland, while Ireland has been rocked by revelations about cover-up efforts by the head of the Church there in the 1970s.

Zollitsch called it "a Church scandal in several regions and a scandal for the Church in Germany" and lauded the pope, who is German, for speaking out.

"When a difficult truth is expressed publicly, it seems painful, but it is also liberating," he said.

Zollitsch, who heads the German Catholic Church, has been accused of having covered up for a predator priest by failing to notify prosecutors by a victim of sexual abuse.

In a report to be broadcast Monday on SWR public television, a victim of sexual abuse claims Zollitsch "concealed and covered up" for a priest who preyed upon at least 17 children.

According to information released by the station in advance the priest, named as Franz B. was suspected of sexually abusing children in the Bavarian parish of Oberhamersbach. But he "was sent into retirement in 1991 with the support of Robert Zollitsch."

At the time Zollitsch was in charge of personnel matters in the Bavarian diocese of Fribourg. Prosecutors learned of the suspicions against the priest only in 1995 when a victim filed a complaint.

Story continues below…

However, a spokesman for the Fribourg diocese, Robert Eberle, said Church officials had "acted in a consistent manner and very rapidly", forcing the priest into retirement even before the accusations against him were proven. Aware that prosecutors were closing in on him, Franz B. committed suicide in 1995.

The archbishop apologised to the 17 victims who had come forward by November 1995, said Eberle.

According to the television report, Zollitsch personally informed Franz B. of the rumours circulating about him and forced him to retire and stay away from youths.

The report said Franz B. sexually abused at least 17 children and adolescents between 1968 and 1991, mostly choir members.

AFP/The Local (news@thelocal.de)

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Your comments about this article

15:28 March 20, 2010 by romber58
Whether in Ireland or now Germany and other countries,the talk is only about the last few decades.

Try and imagine what these preaching hypocrites have been getting away with for hundreds of years.
15:49 March 20, 2010 by whatzup
And not only the Catholic church. I'd bet the problem the church is having is only the very tip of the iceburg.
16:19 March 20, 2010 by CraigS
The Church leadership hides these perverts and ships them off to new "hunting grounds". The leadership is as equally guilty of the crimes as the pervert priests are. And this problem goes all the way to the top. Franz B. committed suicide? Good! One less pervert to hurt a child. His place in Hell is now occupied. There is plenty of room left for the rest. But the leadership will go unpunished. They always have and it appears they always will, at least here on this earth. But HELL awaits them with open arms and they will all receive their rewards no matter how many "Hail Mary's" you say. She is going to help open the door to the oven for you all. Happy burning!
16:56 March 20, 2010 by romber58

There is no Heaven and there is no Hell.

The whole mindless brainwashing will only begin to end when parents stop inculcating their kids with religeous fairy stories so that those children can grow up to be responsible adults.

Then,with no soil to grow in,the whole pack of weeds will just fade away.

Not with violence or hatred...it will just become irrelevant.
17:55 March 20, 2010 by CraigS

Most "resposible adults" do believe that there is a Heaven and a Hell. Even those that do not, believe that anyone who harms a child should be brought to justice.

Justice is placing them in prison.

Retribution is letting them loose in the general population of the prison and leaving them to that fate. That is Hell no matter what your beliefs are. Sorry if that sounds harsh, but they do not deserve mercy. They have shown none, so they need none.
18:27 March 20, 2010 by romber58
@Craig S

You talk about "resposible adults"

Maybe you mean "responsible adults"

or even "disposable adults"

Please prove that most "resposible adults" do believe that there is a heaven and a hell.

If you cant

Then you are just another person who should be working for "TheSun"

But there are a lot of candidates....
14:45 March 21, 2010 by murphy1
I was brought up a Catholic by nuns in Ireland but have always been suspicious of most of the catholic priests Ive come across - they were always too "touchy feely" when I was a child. As far as Im concerned the majority of them are evil child abusers and as for the POPE - I think it is 30 years too late for him to be apologising, when he was Cardinal Ratzinger, he ordered all bishops worldwide to keep absolute secrecy about paedo priests and to simply transfer them from parish to another and there is Valid proof on this. He also put Bishop Levada of San Francisco in a position where he protects all of the child molester priests and bishops and guarantees abusers absolute impunity - the only penalty for these evildoers is condinual relocation.

One very big case years ago was where an evil priest in the USA was gaoled & I believe died in prison, but not before Cardinal Ratzinger kept transferring him from parish to parish and then to the Vatican. The Catholic Church and the Vatican especially is a law unto themselves and no one will be able to touch these paedo priests who are carrying out the haenous crimes today.
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