God, AIDS, Africa & HOPE

Reflections / Gedanken

07.02.2010 Sexual abuse …

Once again is the sexual abuse of minors by priests and religious a topic in Germany – and once again it seems that one case follows many and the responses are quite divers.  From condemning the church till accusing the church of cover up there is a lot to read in our days in the German press. The psychologist of criminology, Hans-Ludwig Kroeber points out that still the numbers of abuse compared with the general population is below average. Of course, the “status quo” of a priest and his delicate position of confidence in society are making every case a special one. There are quite a lot who blame celibacy as the reason behind sexual abuse. Others question the cover up of such incidence until the very moment that nobody can deny the fact anymore.

Nobody denies that it is a tragedy and that the church has long enough shrouded such cases in secrecy, trying to avoid the daylight. Whether in the USA or in Ireland and now in Germany, many admissions are coming too little too late. There is a clear procedure how to handle such cases in Germany and other countries and this is certainly the first step in the right direction. But still the church somehow seems to not acknowledge the problem until a media campaign has started and everybody tries to be on the safe side.

I believe that we owe the faithful as a church more than clear procedure. We owe them an honest debate on how we handle the topic sexuality in our church. We owe them to acknowledge that we have done much to far in these fields when it came to confession, but not enough when it comes to catching up with the modern science of sexuality. We have our heels digged deep when it comes to this special topic and we are losing more and more moral ground by not engaging ourselves in this honest debate. A debate which includes spirituality, the knowledge of sciences and the many stories of lives, wining or losing the battle to integrate sexual desire into the lives of priests and religious. We all as priests know the theory of integrating sexuality – but we also know the practise, ranging from to sublimate the own sexuality in gaining power in the church via abuse of alcohol till the topic to be discussed here: sexual abuse of minors. There are so many possibilities where integration of sexuality can go wrong.

I say it again: The Catholic Church is by far not above the average of any other group of the population when it comes to sexual abuse of minors. But we should be capable of learning from the lessons we receive since years now and tackle the topic of sexuality. Doing so, we also can escape that the clergy in general is put under general suspicion. Too much harm is done, to many people are hurt, too much trust is lost – and too many chances to engage with young people. It becomes for a normal priest to dangerous to work with young people because alone the suspicion can destroy a priestly life.

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HIV, Development and HOPE – thoughts of a Catholic priest

Being a Roman - Catholic priest and working in the fields of HIV and social development in Africa has its challenges. You will find stories and reflections about my work, about the church, South Africa and Africa, about politics and whatever triggers my interest. You are most welcome to leave a comment or to get in touch with me. Blogging means to initiate thoughts and discussions and for the writer to formulate what is loosely running around in the heart and mind in need of being sorted and spoken out.

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