An independent commission to reappraise sexual abuse has started its work in the Catholic diocese of Muenster. Muenster is one of a number of German dioceses currently offering reparations to victims of clerical sexual abuse.
Unlike in other dioceses, the members in Muenster have not been appointed by the bishop. The commission will work outside Church structures and responsibilities, the Diocese said on Monday.
An initial sum of 1.75 million euros has been made available for this purpose, it said. A number of Germany’s 27 dioceses have already set up commissions to reappraise abuse.
The Muenster commission said it was solely committed to the interests and rights of victims of abuse and violence in the Church. It added that it would not set up its own counselling centre, but would establish a network of available counselling, support and assistance services. It would also evaluate what was being done in the diocese, associations and Church communities to ensure the lasting prevention of sexual violence and abuse.
The eight members of the commission include three representatives elected by the victims’ board, two nominated by the state of North Rhine-Westphalia and three nominated by the diocese.
Last year a team of historians from the University of Muenster presented a study concluding that around 200 priests in Germany’s third largest diocese sexually molested or abused more than 600 minors between 1945 and 2020.
The 27 Catholic dioceses in Germany have been confronting past cases of sexual abuse since 2010 using different research and reappraisal methods. This seemingly never ending series of new efforts has contributed to continuous negative media coverage about the Catholic Church.
Originally reported by KNA Germany.