High-ranking church official quit over opposition to sex abuse clean-up attempts

opposition to sex abuse

A high-ranking official in an important catholic diocese quit his job because of internal opposition to attempts to deal with clergy sex abuse.

Msgr Peter Beer, who served from 2010-2020 as vicar general of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, said the horrific details that emerged from a recently published report on sex abuse in the archdiocese are “absolutely plausible”.

“It objectively documents what everyone feared and what I myself experienced. Namely, that the Church cannot reappraise itself. That is my own bitter experience,” the 56-year-old priest said in a Jan 27 interview published in the German weekly Die Zeit.

“That is why I gave up my job as vicar-general of Munich two years ago. The opposition I faced was too great even for a vicar general,” he revealed.

The so-called Munich Report, published Jan 20, exonerated Beer and proved he was strictly against abuse, confirming that his efforts were met with “bitter opposition”.

Beer said opposition came from those who felt superior to the rest of society. They were used to judging others without ever being judged themselves and were frightened that their life’s work would be destroyed.

Beer served as vicar general under Cardinal Reinhard Marx during the first ten years of the Catholic sexual abuse tsunami that has swept through the German speaking world.

Asked if Cardinal Marx really wanted to clear up the way abuse had been handled in his archdiocese – especially as he chose not to be present at the presentation of the report, Beer paused for a long moment.

“Why don’t you ask him yourself?” he then replied.

The Munich Report also accused Benedict XVI of hushing up abuse, but the former pope contradicted the accusation. Beer was asked which version is correct.

“Only Benedict himself has the answer to that,” he replied.

And although he faced fierce opposition from a number of senior clerics in Munich for speaking out, Beer does not consider himself a victim of the system.

“No! I am in no way a victim! On the contrary, I am responsible!” he replied.

But he said he now realises that it was naïve to think that the Church could clear up clerical sexual abuse all by itself.

He said the Munich Report, which proved that certain senior clerics had failed to protect the victims, “is unfortunately not only a glimpse into the past but also into the present”.


La Croix International

Vatican Press

CBS News


Additional reading

News category: World.

Tags: , , ,