Cardinal donates personal wealth to help child abuse victims

Germany child abuse

The archbishop of Munich, Germany is pledging €500,000 (NZD860,000) of his personal finances to establish a foundation for victims of child abuse.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx said the not-for-profit organization Spes et Salus (Hope and Healing) would see the Catholic Church engaged in helping victims process their experiences.

Marx said his contribution constituted “by far the largest part” of his personal wealth.

He added the foundation should complement the church’s commitment to prevention and to coming to terms with and acknowledging the suffering of abuse victims.

“Sexual abuse in the area of responsibility of the church is a crime,” Marx said.

“It destroys the lives of many people and means heavy burdens for those directly affected, but also their families and friends.”

According to a report commissioned by the Catholic Church 1670 priests (4.4% of Catholic clerics) abused 3677 people between 1946 and 2014 in Germany. Most of the victims were boys.

“The church system as a whole has become guilty here,” said Marx. “Abuse has systemic causes and consequences.”

According to the regulations of the Bavarian Concordat, Marx receives €164,000 before tax annually from the state government in his role as archbishop. Marx said he had always tried to manage the money allocated to him in his various posts.

Marx caused controversy with the 2019 announcement of a “binding synodal process”. It was undertaken as a reaction to German Catholicism’s rapidly diminishing numbers.

The Cardinal said the decline was a result of three key issues arising largely from the clerical abuse crisis. These were – priestly celibacy, the Church’s teaching on sexual morality, and a reduction of clerical power.

Critics countered the “synodal way” would lead to a relaxing of the Catholic Church’s position on priestly celibacy and homosexuality. Marx has also met opposition from some German bishops.

In June 2019, Pope Francis weighed in through a letter to the German bishops.

He reminded them they don’t walk alone, but with the universal Church. The pontiff also stated a “structural” reform, simply changing to adapt to modern times, is not the solution.


Deutsche Welle


DE24 News

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