Vatican voices support for investigation of German clerical sex abuse

Cardinal Walter Kasper
Cardinal Walter Kasper


“Enough! There needs to be a serious house cleaning in our Church. And the Pope is not just going to stand by and watch.” These were the words of Cardinal Walter Kasper, president of the Pontifical Council for Promoting Christian Unity, that were printed in the pages of Italy’s La Repubblica newspaper on Saturday.

The German cardinal’s strong words followed Friday’s news of abuse in the Diocese of Regensburg’s boy’s choir.

“Sexual abuses of minors by representatives of the clergy are criminal acts, shameful, inadmissible mortal sins,” he said in the interview. They are “ignoble actions, among the darkest of the Church.”

Cardinal Kasper declared his support for Pope Benedict XVI's intention to bring all cases to light and clarify them with zero tolerance "towards those who stain themselves with such grave sins.”

In the face of sexual abuse of minors that has surfaced in the Churches of Ireland, Germany and Holland in the last year, Pope Benedict has expressed his dismay at their "horrific" nature and urged every effort to bring clarity to the situation.

On Saturday, the Vatican paper L’Osservatore Romano printed a message from the Holy See regarding a statement from Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Muller of Regensburg concerning details of the investigations in his diocese.

The Holy See expressed its support for the diocese in examining cases from the 1950s “decisively and in an open way.”

“The main objective of the clarification by the Church is to render justice to possible victims,” the statement said.

The President of the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, is expected at the Vatican for an audience with the Holy Father on March 12 to speak about the issue.

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