The head of the Evangelical Church in Germany (EKD) has been attacked for dealing with the topic of sexual abuse from within its own ranks. Just before the Synod in Würzburg said the chairman of the association Evangelical women in Germany (EFiD), Susanne Kahl-Passoth, the Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger: "There are still people, including the EKD Council President Heinrich Bedford-Strohm, who would like to have nothing to do with the topic of abuse and not empathize with the situation of the victims." Their demands would be dismissed as unpleasant, annoying or even unreasonable.
The four-day EKD Synod begins on Sunday in Würzburg, it should also be discussed on the topic of abuse. The EFiD is an umbrella organization with 39 member organizations and around three million members, the association sees itself as the voice of evangelical women in church and society.
"In the EKD, we are acting as though abuse had not occurred to us, and there is a complete lack of discussion of causes and favorable structures," Kahl-Passoth told the newspaper. The work-up in the EKD with the Catholic Church and to compare their higher case numbers, called the retired church councilor and ex-chief of the Berlin Diakonia "cynical" with a view to the victims.
Kahl-Passoth also criticized the lack of attention of many national churches. In the accompaniment of those affected and the processing of what happened, many state churches were insufficiently involved. "We are calling for a central independent start-up and complaints office that must be adequately equipped," she said.
Structural changes needed in the church
The Independent Child Mistreatment Commission had called on the EKD last week to allow independent reprocessing. The cases of abuse in individual institutions and by their ministers suggested "structural causes in the church," said Commission Chair Sabine Andresen. There are indications that perpetrators have been protected.
According to the commission, 31 victims have reported from the Protestant church and reported abuse. About half of those affected have not yet turned to the Church. Reasons for this are fear, shame, insecurity or lack of information about contact points.
At the end of September, the German Bishops' Conference had presented a study on the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church in Germany, which had been worked out over several years. The study makers noted, among other things, that even after the scandal became public eight years ago, the church did not take sufficient steps to prevent abuse in the future. They called for fundamental structural changes.