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Top Catholic Cardinal Says Documents Possibly Containing Proof of Sexual Abuse Were 'Destroyed'

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A German cardinal said Saturday at a Vatican summit that documents that could have shed light on the extent of alleged sexual abuse by Catholic clergy have been destroyed.

“Files that could have documented the terrible deeds and named those responsible were destroyed or not even created,” said Cardinal Reinhard Marx, archbishop of Munich and president of the German Bishops’ Conference, according to CNN.

“Instead of the perpetrators, the victims were regulated and silence imposed on them. The stipulated procedures and processes for the prosecution of offences were deliberately not complied with, but instead cancelled or overridden,” Marx said, NBC News reported. “The rights of victims were effectively trampled underfoot, and left to the whims of individuals.”

Speaking on the third day of a four-day summit of Catholic leaders, Marx issued a call for transparency in handling cases of alleged abuse.

“Such standard practices will make it clear that it is not transparency which damages the church, but rather the acts of abuse committed, the lack of transparency, or the ensuing cover-up,” he said,

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Marx later said that although the 2014 study he cited in making his claims focused upon one German diocese, “I assume Germany is not an isolated case.”

During Saturday’s session, Sister Veronica Openibo of Nigeria, who has worked in the U.S., Africa and Europe, told those in attendance, “This storm will not pass.”

“We proclaim the Ten Commandments and parade ourselves as being the custodians of moral standards and values and good behavior in society. Hypocrites at times? Yes! Why did we keep silent for so long?” she said.

“How could the clerical Church have kept silent, covering these atrocities? The silence, the carrying of the secrets in the hearts of the perpetrators, the length of the abuses and the constant transfers of perpetrators are unimaginable,” she added.

Has the Catholic Church done enough to respond to the clergy abuse crisis?

“We must acknowledge that our mediocrity, hypocrisy and complacency have brought us to this disgraceful and scandalous place we find ourselves as a Church. We pause to pray, Lord have mercy on us!” Openibo said.



Veteran Mexican journalist Valentina Alazraki, 64, who has covered five popes, warned Church leaders that they could “play ostrich” no longer, according to Reuters.

“If you do not decide in a radical way to be on the side of the children, mothers, families, civil society, you are right to be afraid of us, because we journalists, who seek the common good, will be your worst enemies,” she said.

On Friday, Cardinal Blase Cupich, the archbishop of Chicago, presented a proposal to increase the accountability of bishops, who by current canon law are responsible only to the pope, as The New York Times pointed out.

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At least one activist was unimpressed.

“Now all they are going to do is set guidelines again?” 63-year-old Mark Belenchia, an abuse survivor in Jackson, Mississippi, told The Times. “That is gibberish as far as I am concerned.”

Cupich said Catholics were right to harbor doubts when abuse was “covered up.”

“This is the source of the growing mistrust in our leadership, not to mention the outrage of our people,” he said, calling for “just accountability for these massive failures.”

Cupich, who proposed that within each country, Catholic leaders and lay people be allowed to investigate allegations against high-ranking Church leaders, suggested the framework for judging bishops is less important than the will to root out abuse.

“You can make all the laws in the world and then put it on the shelf if there is no motivation to enact it,” he told The Times.

The conference ends Sunday.

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Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack Davis is a freelance writer who joined The Western Journal in July 2015 and chronicled the campaign that saw President Donald Trump elected. Since then, he has written extensively for The Western Journal on the Trump administration as well as foreign policy and military issues.
Jack can be reached at jackwritings1@gmail.com.
Location
New York City
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Topics of Expertise
Politics, Foreign Policy, Military & Defense Issues




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