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Vatican abuse meeting: Card. Reinhard Marx (DBK), “positive outcome”. “In the German Bishops’ Conference, we will continue our reflection in light of these days”

The President of the German Bishops’ Conference, Card. Reinhard Marx, praised the “positive outcome” of the abuse meeting at the Vatican that ended yesterday. “It was the first meeting of this kind on this theme”, and was characterised by “transparency”, “confidence”, and the “desire to address” outstanding issues in “all continents”. As expected, “such a meeting could not adopt quick fix measures”, Card. Marx remarked, but was an opportunity to “look together, in a honest and realistic way, into the sexual abuse of minors in the Church, which is a terrible global reality”. There was “agreement among the bishops on the evaluation of the situation”, “we learned from one another”; “some Bishops’ Conferences are more advanced” in addressing the problem. Card. Marx also praised the talks that he had with members of the worldwide organisation “Ending Clergy Abuse” on 22 February, of which he informed the Pope and the bishops gathered in plenary, a dialogue that “must continue”. Card. Marx raised several points for consideration. First, “different decision-making levels are responsible and necessary for the implementation of the reflections conducted in Rome. The Holy See cannot make all decisions” since there are “specific responsibilities that we bishops are called to take on” in addressing this problem, as “clearly requested also by Pope Francis”. It is important that the “Bishops’ Conferences issue binding guidelines”, whose “compliance” must be verified and “monitored”. The cardinal called on Rome to “support local and regional activities” and to “resolve issues related to Canon Law”. Another positive step in the fight against and prevention of child abuse is the upcoming introduction of anti-abuse rules in the Holy See and the Vatican which “should provide guidance to all bishops”. Another proposal is the creation of a “task force” by which “the Holy See intends to assist dioceses in the consistent implementation of guidelines in abuse cases”. Card. Marx also thanked Pope Francis for his closing remarks at the summit which confirm “in many respects the path that we have undertaken as a Church in Germany”, particularly “our guidelines, as well as our extensive work of prevention”. According to the cardinal, in several respects, Pope Francis’ request for “humiliation, self-accusation, prayer and penance” should be a “wake-up” call to us, to bring about “true renewal in the Church in the spirit of Jesus”. “In the German Bishops’ Conference, we will be holding a thorough discussion in light of these days”, the cardinal concluded, expressing confidence that “we will continue with determination and resolve the process that we started in Fulda in September 2018. The meeting in Rome encouraged us” in this.




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