When it comes to Catholic clerical abuse, you might assume that there is nothing new and that you have heard it all. Unfortunately no. A truly shocking report has emerged from Germany.
The Daily Beast has the details.
There they explain ,…
The lawsuit, first reported by Deutsche Welle last year, is being led by 63-year-old victim Karl Haucke who, along with 15 other former orphans, demanded the Archdiocese of Cologne carry out a full investigation, which it concluded in January 2021. But the details of that investigative report were so horrific that Archbishop Reiner Maria Woelki refused to make it public, demanding that any journalists who see it sign confidentiality agreements. Eight German journalists walked out of a press conference in January after being denied access to the church’s investigation unless they agreed not to publish its contents.
He called the stifling of the report’s release in January “scandalous” and said that denying the journalists the right to publish the report was “like being abused all over again.”.
It turns out that despite the best attempts by the Bishop, keeping this secret buried secret has failed. Several lawyers had access to the 560-page report and so they shared it with media outlets, that is how The Daily Beast got hold of it.
What exactly is in it?
…orphaned boys living in the boarding houses of the Order of the Sisters of the Divine Redeemer were sold or loaned for weeks at a time to predatory priests and businessmen in a sick rape trade. The men involved in the lawsuit say as boys they were denied being adopted out or sent to foster families because selling them for rape lined the sisters’ coffers for their “convent of horrors.” Some of the boys were then groomed to be sex slaves to perverts…
…The report names various German businessmen and complicit clergy who “rented” the young boys from the nuns who ran a convent in Speyer, Germany between the 1960s and 1970s. Among the worst instances of abuse were gang bangs and orgies the young boys were forced to participate in before being returned to the convent where the nuns would then punish them for wrinkling their clothing or being covered in semen.
The report finds that 175 people, mostly boys between the ages of 8 and 14, were abused over two decades.
The report itself, despite being deeply shocking, is also a bit of a cover up. It fails to blame the nuns directly, instead saying “systematic” management errors and “leniency” for those who were accused by the children enabled the abuse to continue.
The nuns were literally responsible for them, the children were in their care and they permitted this to happen.
The Daily Beast reached out and asked “Explain this coverup”
The Archdiocese of Cologne told The Daily Beast in a statement that the reason the report was not published was that it failed to fully explain the methodology of the research, but Bishop Karl-Heinz Wiesmann, who now leads the archdiocese, said that the abuse report was “so gory” it would be too shocking to make public. Wiesemann told the Catholic News Agency KNA that after reading it he had to take a month’s sabbatical to recover. “I too have limited energy for the burdens I have to carry,” he said.
The emotional burden involved in being part of a cult of clerical abuse is not a valid excuse.
The archdiocese now plans to publish a new revised edition of the report in March.
I have no doubt that their motivates will be to cover their arse and that it will be heavily edited. I really have no confidence that they are in any way independent or unbiased.
A few Further thoughts
This religious cult needs to be exposed, a bright spotlight needs to shine and reveal who they really are.
This is not simply a story about one lone cleric abusing kids and then being moved on to a new parish to do it all again, it takes the abuse to an entirely new level. They specifically rented these orphans out to sexual abusers purely for financial gain. Then, when they came back with semen on their clothes they punished them.
It may indeed be tempting to go with the official line that they simply had a few bad apples and that the vast majority of clerics are fine decent people. The problem with that stance is that it is abundantly clear that what was happening was well-known within the ranks and so all in a position of responsibility are complicit in the associated coverup.
This is not simply a case of the system being abused. The entire system was a system of cruelty and abuse.