German Catholic Church Cancels Sex Abuse Scandal Inquiry


An independent inquiry into sex abuse in the German Catholic Church was supposed to restore faith in the embattled institution. But now the Church has called it off, citing a breakdown in trust with the researchers.

It was a major promise after a major disaster: In summer 2011, the Catholic Church in Germany pledged full transparency. One year earlier, an abuse scandal had shaken the country’s faithful, as an increasing number of cases surfaced in which priests had sexually abused children and then hidden behind a wall of silence.

The Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute (KFN) was given the job of investigating the cases in 2011. The personnel files from churches in all 27 dioceses were to be examined for cases of abuse in an attempt to win back some of the Church’s depleted credibility.

But now the Church has called off the study, citing a breakdown in trust. “The relationship of mutual trust between the bishops and the head of the institute has been destroyed,” said the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, on Wednesday morning.

The director of the KFN, Christian Pfeiffer, told SPIEGEL ONLINE that the Church had refused to cooperate. At the end of last year, he contacted the dioceses twice in writing. He reminded them of their promised transparency and cooperation. He also asked them whether there was any indication that in some dioceses files had been actively destroyed.

Written By: Barbara Hans
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  1. KFN is clearly to blame for the “breakdown of trust” by refusing to collaborate in a whitewash cover up, which is what the church was trusting them to do. I imagine. Next they’ll appoint an “independent” but more amenable “authority” do take over, like, maybe a bishop from Ireland. Or just try to quietly forget the whole thing.

    And if the negative news of this “breakdown” gets less coverage than the original positive news that “there will be an independent inquiry”, then it’s Mission Accomplished, and back to doing the business (kids and all) as usual. Bastards.

  2. The controversy in recent months centered on privacy and data protection: various dioceses have refused to issue documents, allegedly fearing that the anonymity of those affected would not be maintained and that sensitive information could potentially be made public. In response, Pfeiffer asserted in April 2012 that the perpetrator files “never left the church space made available by the Vicar General.” A meeting with the indignant clergy around that time was unsuccessful.

    “They … actually want to find out who was doing what. And tell on us! We can’t trust them…!”

  3. “But now the Church has called it off, citing a breakdown in trust with the researchers.”

    The researches suggested telling the truth but that goes against church policy.

  4. The German Bishops’ Conference hoped the examination would answer three questions:

    “Under what circumstances was the abuse allowed to happen?”

    Any and all circumstances

    “How has the Church dealt with these actions?”

    They have dealt with by covering it up.

    “And what can be done to prevent future acts?”

    Charge them with real crimes and real consequences instead of imaginary ones

  5. The church is concerned to protect the privacy of the victims by which they mean of course the priests.

  6. A couple of years ago, Miranda Celeste Hale provided her analysis of “The Causes and Context of Sexual Abuse of Minors in the United States, 1950-2010.” Here’s the link:

    It’s worth a read. I encourage anyone who hasn’t read it to give it a go.

    The German justice minister makes a very good point this time around:

    “The accusation that censorship and the desire to maintain control hindered an independent examination must quickly be resolved by the Bishops’ Conference,”

    “The dramatic shock of 2010 must not be allowed to trickle off into a half-hearted inquiry.”

    Miranda displays in detail what a half-hearted inquiry looks like, one conducted by the John Jay College of Criminal Justice of the City University of New York, but where the final say was given to the catholic church on whether or not to authorize the publication of the report.

    As a result, the data is very, very skewed. Miranda provides the details.

    In Germany, the investigation is very straight-forward. The perpetrator doesn’t get to call the shots. This annoys them very much as they can’t influence the outcome, which means any objective investigation will show them with their pants down (or their robes up, depending on their seniority and/or on which day of the week it is).

    Is there anyone outside of religious organizations who could have mountains of evidence of child rape levelled against them and still have not only the audacity but the opportunity to participate in and manipulate the investigation? They are not detectives or scientists or lawyers or any sort of objective investigators. They are people who rape children and people who either do or do not protect people who rape children.

    That’s an honest question. I’m not in the field of law so if there’s some one with expertise who can put it in some context for me, I’d appreciate it. If it’s not religious privilege, it’s money and power privilege, which sorta goes along with religious privilege.

    The investigation should be left in the hands of people who are unbiased and who have expertise. The RCC belong in neither of those categories.

    Aquilicane said it best in another thread:

    “Piss off church.”

  7. I think I sense the hand of Cardinal Ratfurher in all of this.

    If this were any other organization the cops would be turning the place upside down.

  8. The breathtaking arrogance of these goblins never ceases to amaze and they still get away with it!

  9. What about the breakdown in trust between priests and children, does that mean nothing now?

  10. Network of Catholic Priests pointed out that “even according to normal labor law,
    third parties are not entitled to claim personnel files.”

    That cannot be true where criminal activity is alleged, surely?

  11. When it comes to pedophilia, many perfectly sane people vow horrendous acts against abusers. In the 90s the US performed forced medical experiments on them (surgical castration). They were pioneers in indefinite detention programs run outside of the law. Many who are against the death penalty caveat this one exception. Child rapers are the least sympathetic group of people… except when they are of The Cloth. If people were consistent, any institution so mired in the pain of children would be physically attacked. Where are the psycho attacks, pipe-bombs, snipers, Molotovs, and lynchings?

    That’s not what I think is right but it is what I expect, given the hatred against child-rapists. The ongoing complacence of the flock is more disturbing than if they were demanding blood.

  12. Where is their claim to moral guidance? Why trust anything they say anymore? They have destroyed the very fabric of truth and justice and due process. What complete arrogance. We are talking about the rape of innocent children here, and they will not be witness to their own crimes in order to find justice for the abused who they had total responsibility for. These men are the self-appointed moral guideposts for the future of man? I do not think so. Consequences are for the real world and these men will be help accountable in this life, not the next.

  13. Why would a country that ranks so high on IQ scale still turn a blind eye towards such an atrocity? Great educational system, well-funded universities, good healthcare system, superb infrastructure, enviable social justice & next to near unemployment in southern states of Bavaria & Baden-Württemberg! And they still want to shield pedophiles & misogynists? Shameful! meine Liebe, Deutschland.

  14. This does not surprise me. In the UK at the moment it has been taken a step further, the UK public has been thrown a bone to gnaw on in the guise of Jimmy Savile, I am not saying that he is innocent but it has done its job of diverting the attention from both the RCC/C of E and the establishment in the form of the Wrexham scandal (which has disappeared without trace).

    None of this is unexpected as Britain has backtracked to the old order of the Establishment with old Etonians in the shape of the Prime Minister the Mayor of London and the AB of C feasting on the public once more.

    Let’s hope the Germans have more integrity than us Brits seem to have at the moment and they will not let this slide from public conscience.

  15. much as every headline i’ve read that involves the words “catholic Church” has made me laugh out loud, it still really bothers me that there are so many catholics.

    i realise they’re a dying generation and most of the ones who still attend church are elderly now but it’s frightening how readily so many hundrends of millions can pretend not to see.

    i guess with the pope’s background he’s used to exploiting that sort of culture

  16. The whole ‘investigation’ looks more like a High School Project! Surely real police should be involved rather than merely some retired people in conjunction with research students who can be called off at a whim of danger on the part of the offending church!

  17. If it wasn’t so serious I would have to laugh. This mafiosi of Catholics are so smitten with omerta that even “innocent” priests are tied in with all the buggering ones. The whole bloody edifice is on a very flimsy basis anyway and the RCC takes the course of quibbling about effing details of procedure. As St Peter founded his church upon the rock, so is the RCC’s ship destined to perish upon the low tide of disbelief and the sandbank of history.

  18. The universal answer of the church when asked how are they dealing with the churchpedophilia is this” we are doing all we can to assist and cooperate with the police to bring the culprit to justice”. If any body ever doubted the hypocrisy of the church now is the time to erase that doubt.How are they getting away with it in what to be considered a civilized country is beyond me.

  19. One year earlier, an abuse scandal had shaken the country’s faithful…

    Yeah…right. You can’t move in any direction without falling over a Catholic holding a protest sign saying: “No more protection of pedophiles” or “No more telling lies about AIDS” or “No more illegal tax avoidance and financial corruption” or “No more silence on the theft of babies” or “No more bigotry”.

  20. Why a Catholic Church initiated inquiry? Why not a full police or judicial inquiry with real teeth and the power to compel the church to provide documents and testimony?

  21. A break down in trust can always be translated as we cannot control this inquiry so therefore we will pick up our ball and walk away.

  22. But now the Church has called off the study, citing a breakdown in trust. “The relationship of mutual trust between the bishops and the head of the institute has been destroyed,” said the Bishop of Trier, Stephan Ackermann, on Wednesday morning.

    It’s those damned objective materialist investigators!

    They are not using “proper” faith-based thinking, where you start with the desired palatable conclusion and cherry-pick or make up “facts” to suit!

    Do these investigators know nothing about theistic investigations?

    “9. Hence all faithful Christians are forbidden to defend as the legitimate conclusions of science those opinions which are known to be contrary to the doctrine of faith, particularly if they have been condemned by the Church; and furthermore they are absolutely bound to hold them to be errors which wear the deceptive appearance of truth.” (Vatican Council I)

    “10. Not only can faith and reason never be at odds with one another but they mutually support each other, for on the one hand right reason established the foundations of the faith and, illuminated by its light, develops the science of divine things; on the other hand, faith delivers reason from errors and protects it and furnishes it with knowledge of many kinds.” (Vatican Council I)

    If scientific enquiries conflict with “faith” , “Faith” will “correct” those conclusions in accordance with 9 above!

    If “faith” conflicts with reason, Faith will “correct the “errors” of logical reasoning as in 10 above.
    This is RCC “THEISTIC right-reasoning”, as explained by Pope Pius 1X at Vatican 1 !

    You see these secular investigators just can’t understand these “superior” investigative faith-methods of perception, observation, and thinking!

    The church needs to appoint some “theistically educated” investigators, or the conclusions of “faith” (otherwise known as the fallacy of a circular argument) cannot be reached!

  23. A breakdown in trust!! That’s another force 12 irony meter gone up in smoke. Trust!!!!!!! I have to say however I found a catholic priest trustworthy on one ocassion.

    No kidding! When I was a young man I was working in Birmingham Airports bonded warehouse fitting pipework and at lunch time I sat with my crew to eat and we dragged over a long rough sawn wooden case with steel bands to sit on. After some time eating, swearing and farting a customs official came over and said do you realise your sitting on the last mortal remains of Father Murphy who is being sent back to Ireland (via Brum from India). Well not normally predisposed to such disrespect we found somewhere else to sit. But I have to say on reflection that after a lifetime genuflection and abstinence and self imposed suffering (and a bit of pederastry maybe) what possible issue could there be with a bit of anglo saxon language and flatulence when you’re dead? Disrespect did I say? The dead Murphy was in a packing case for christ’s sake without even a ‘this way up’ sticker on it! Ever since and whenever I think of it I cannot fight back the temptation to burst into paroxysms of laughter. But there it is the dead Murphy was a perfectly reliable bench and I bet he was none the wiser.

  24. I am surprised by the sheepish effort by the German justice department in the handling of this issue. Crimes have been committed and the Catholic Church should be ordered by the courts to relinquish all church documentation, by force if necessary. Criminal charges should be pending on those perpetration the abuse and those who are complicit in the cover up of these crimes.

  25. The catholic church is a political governing authority and like all governments they understand the use of Enquiries/Commissions. It is to kick the ball into the long grass in the assumption that time will distract the public interest. Of course atheists and members of other faiths etc. will not forget or get bored but their own flock will and that is the point. The church has been saved – Hallelujah!

  26. This is an absolute disgrace. Investigations like this should be done by the police and not left to the church. Its like putting the fox in charge of the chickens!
    The Jimmy Saville case in UK highlights how easy it is for systematic widescale abuse of vulnerable children to take place. The catholics have huge numbers of such children under their unfettered control. A global police investigation should be initiated into all places where the church has control of orphanges etc to eliminate the institutionalised paedophilia which is very likely to be occurring on a wide scale under the very noses of the public and the police. The odds that priests, who by definition do not behave ‘normally’ as far as sexual matters are conerned, will be sexual deviants are very high!

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