Woelki calls for stronger law on clerical sex abuse

Woelki Clerical Sex Abuse

Title: Woelki calls for stronger law on clerical sex abuse
Author: Christa Pongratz-Lippitt

Publisher: The Tablet
Date: 08APR2021

The Archbishop of Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has called for a tightening up of Canon law on clerical sex abuse.“Canon law on how to deal with priestly sexual abuse must be changed. It needs tightening, that is, the rulings must be made clearer and more explicit,” he said.

For example, the statute of limitations for sexualised violence must be extended and the “contradictions in canon law and in the German bishops’ conference’s guidelines on priestly sexual abuse must be eliminated”, he added.

Woelki also criticised that in canon law, acts of abuse by priests were still merely regarded as a violation of the celibacy rule. “This is an eternal continuation of the wrong perspective,” he emphasised.

He also promised to ensure that no more files would be destroyed in his archdiocese. He had already given the order that this should be so, he said. “In doing so, however, I am, absurdly, breaking current church law. But it must not and it will no longer be possible for pages from files to disappear and for entire files to vanish out of cupboards,” he said. Nor must it any longer be possible to manipulate files.

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