Switzerland: over a thousand abuse cases in Catholic Church
According to a study by an independent team of historians from the University of Zurich, since the 1950s there have been at least 1002 cases of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church in Switzerland. The historians had been given access to confidential files from the church’s archives for the first time. What can be done to put an end to such mistreatment?
A culture of studied ignorance
The cover-up of the abuse cases was systematic, writes Church law expert Stefan Loppacher in the Neue Zürcher Zeitung:
“It has been proven that senior members of the clergy systematically prevented the cases of abuse from coming to light, letting even convicted sex offenders prey again and again on vulnerable minors and adults while promoting and demanding a culture of studied ignorance and silence with almost criminal zeal. Not only the perpetrators but also their brothers in the priesthood and episcopate who protected and promoted them are criminals. Hence, to blame individual actors alone would fall far short of the mark.”
The Tages-Anzeiger calls for radical steps:
“The bishops thought it would be enough if they ordered priests to attend awareness courses on the subject of sexual abuse and apologised to the victims. However, they — and their big boss in Rome — have so far been unwilling to question the structures of the Catholic Church. Yet that is what is needed now. ... The excessive power of the bishops must be restricted and celibacy must be abolished. Otherwise the abuse scandals won’t stop.”