Mainz Bishop Peter Kohlgraf was shocked by the report on abuse by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. “Names of failing leaders, who are now being mentioned, were for me many years, despite all the distance, personalities who have shaped my image of the church,” he said in a statement on Monday. The apparent failure of church officials shook his faith. “My pride in being on the road for Jesus Christ has always turned to shame and the wish that the earth might open up beneath me.”
Kohlgraf pointed out that several dioceses, including the diocese of Mainz, had published or commissioned similar studies. In the study for the Mainz diocese, the attorney Ulrich Weber from Regensburg examined “the systemic environment” of sexual abuse. This approach is broader than the “behaviour of those responsible in the bishop’s house or in the ordinariate”. The bishop emphasized that it must also be a matter of looking at the individual life situations of those affected. This is also one of the tasks of the independent review commission in the diocese. There may be other issues that need to be dealt with.
The final report of the investigation, which covers the period from 1945 to 2019, is expected to be presented this year. The findings from an ongoing study that have become known so far indicate that the extent of sexual violence in the diocese is far greater than initially thought. The diocese of Mainz includes areas in Rhineland-Palatinate and Hesse.