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Review article

Synodal Path. The Catholic Church in Germany on the path of cleansing and restoration

Nediljko A. Ančić orcid id ; Catholic faculty of Theology, University of Split, Split, Croatia

Full text: croatian pdf 229 Kb

page 730-752

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The problem of child and juvenile abuse has been shaking the public more and more lately. In this paper, the author discusses a part of the spectrum of this issue related to the sexual abuse of under-age persons by Catholic priests and monks. The first part deals with the reactions and measures taken by the present pope and his predecessor and the Roman Curia in the fight against sexual abuse committed by clerics. The second major part of this article explores how the Catholic Church in Germany is facing this problem and trying to eradicate it. The sexual abuse of children by church people that came to light caused a deep crisis of faith and shook confidence in the Church there. From the beginning, German bishops recognized all the disastrousness of this evil and accepted a new pattern of exposing and punishing perpetrators, protecting victims, and working on prevention. On the basis of the MHG study, they concluded that there are systemic problems that favour abuse. That is why they decided to convene a kind of synod - the Synodal Path - to discuss the interconnectedness of several key church and theological topics. The author describes in detail and gives documented evidence of numerous activities and efforts regarding the status, convening and first plenary session of this conference. There is a reasonable expectation that the launched synodal process will, among other things, bring cleansing, restore shaken trust, and strengthen church communion in witnessing to the gospel.


sexual abuse of under-age persons in the Catholic Church; exposure and fight against abuse; activities of Benedict XVI and Pope Francis in punishing abusers and prevention; MHG-study; Synodal Path; synodal forums

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