'We will continue to fight': German church abuse victims say payouts not enough

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'We will continue to fight': German church abuse victims say payouts not enough
Archive photo shows a man walking in a church in Bremen. Photo: DPA

German bishops have announced higher compensation for victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church but victims say the proposals fall far short of expectations.


Each victim could be awarded up to €50,000 and even more in the most serious cases, bishop Stephan Ackermann said at the close of a four-day episcopal gathering in the western city of Mainz.

The Church currently pays victims an average sum of €5,000 as well as covering their therapy fees.

Campaigners have long complained that this is not enough.

The Eckiger Tisch victims' group has demanded a one-off sum of around €300,000 per person.

READ ALSO: Germany's embattled Catholic church elects reformist leader

But several high-ranking Church officials have rejected the proposals as too costly.

"At least we have clarity now," Matthias Katsch from Eckiger Tisch said on Tuesday, accusing the Church of limiting itself to the "minimum of what is legally enforceable".

"The Church in Germany is not prepared to take responsibility for its crimes," he said.

"It does not want to admit the second crime of disguise, cover-up and concealment committed by the institution."

The group said it would "continue to fight for real compensation", reported the Tagesschau on Thursday.

An independent commission had recommended two solutions – either a one-off payment of €300,000 or an individual compensation ranging between €40,000 and €400,000 dependent on the severity of the crime

A study commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference and released in 2018 showed that 1,670 clergymen had committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014.

READ ALSO: German Catholic church apologises as scale of child abuse laid bare

On Tuesday, the bishops chose Georg Bätzing, the reformist bishop of Limburg, as their new leader to succeed leftist Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

Bätzing will be tasked with steering the Church through multiple crises.

As well as dealing with the fallout from the sexual abuse scandal, it is seeking to answer divisive questions on issues such as priestly celibacy and the role of women.

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