“Now the same courage as the French Church must have the ecclesiastical realities of other countries. I hope Italy too. The Church is not immaculate and unfortunately it is also made up of sin and crimes”. The Pope’s trusted man on the subject of abuse, the German Jesuit Hans Zollner, 54, comments on the release of the Report on the French Church. Zollner leads the Institute of “Anthropology, interdisciplinary studies on human dignity and the care of vulnerable people” at the Gregorian University, one of the most prestigious centers in the world, so much so that on Thursday Angela Merkel, before going to the Pope, will visit it.
The French Church overwhelmed by accusations. “Over 300 thousand victims of pedophile priests”
by our correspondent Anais Ginori
Why Merkel’s visit?
“The Institute was born in collaboration with the Department of Psychiatry and Psychotherapy of the State Clinical University of Ulm. The German institutions have always followed our work. I believe the Chancellor is interested in better understanding how we help the Church to do prevention. The German Church has been shaken by a report similar to the French one. But the abuses affect the whole of society “.
The numbers of the French Report are impressive.
“Behind the shock of these numbers and the size of this plague there is the individual victim, his family, the context in which he lives. Every victim must think: it is for justice and the protection of individuals that the Church wanted this work”.
Pedophilia, the apologies of the French Church after the shock report
by Paolo Rodari
Have you spoken to the French bishops?
“I met them two weeks ago. They were aware of the echo that the Report would have and together they recognized that the path of truth and sincerity is the only one that must be taken. Admitting past crimes and responsibilities is the only one. starting point. The responsibilities are systemic and institutional. The crimes have been treated negligently and have also been guilty and actively hidden “.
Is there any resistance in the Church to investigate and clean up?
“Yes, also because looking this reality in the face is difficult for many people who think that the Church is immaculate, a place without sin and crimes. This is not the case. Beyond the theological level, human reality is also made up of men who are wrong, who commit crimes and who cover them up. There are wounded people in the Church and they must be in first place. Much has changed from 2019 to today, since Francis summoned the victims to the Vatican and changed the norms of canon law in a more restrictive. This is the road and there is no going back. “
Pope Francis accepts the resignation of the archbishop of Washington accused of covering up cases of pedophilia
Can resignations be expected from the French bishops?
“If a bishop has not done what the legislation of his State and the Code of Canon Law ask him to do. In Germany Cardinal Marx, although not directly guilty, offered his resignation as a sign of taking responsibility for the Church that represents in a particular way. The Pope has rejected his resignation but his gesture, also to give a sign to everyone, should make others think “.