German Catholic bishops to toughen rules on sex abuse

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Posted : Mon, 26 Apr 2010 16:55:26 GMT

By : dpa 

Wuerzburg, Germany – German Catholic bishops said Monday they plan to revise rules on sex abuse by clergy, making clearer that cases have to be reported to the police at the time they happen.

 The revision was discussed by a sub-committee of bishops meeting in Wuerzburg and is to be refined by outside experts before bishops as a whole adopt it this summer, a spokesman said.

 Current rules drafted in 2002 merely say paedophile clergy should be encouraged to turn themselves in to police. This month the Vatican said publicly for the first time that sexual molestation must be reported by bishops to a country’s civil authorities.

 A German spokesman said the new guidelines would make clear the church is not “a legal space independent of the laws of the state.”

 A scandal over violence and sex abuse by clergy has hit the church in Germany since January.

 Counsellers at a national Catholic hotline for victims of beatings and molestation say they have so far spoken to 1,200 callers. The line has logged a total of 17,000 calls, but was too busy to answer them all.

Copyright DPA

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