See also: Austrian church abuse hot lines log 566 reports (Boston Herald)
There have been 566 reports of various kinds of abuse by clergy at the Catholic Church’s ombudsman’s offices this year, it was reported today (Tues).
Vienna archdiocese has had the highest number, 174, followed by Innsbruck diocese with 115. More than half of them can no longer be prosecuted because of the statute of limitations.
Cases of sexual abuse constitute 27 per cent of these, cases of violence 26 per cent. More than half of them require further investigation, according to the media.
The rising number of reports has caused Vienna Archbishop Christoph Cardinal Schönborn, the titular head of the Austrian Catholic Church and chairman of the Austrian Bishops Conference, to react.
He announced during a TV interview on Sunday that former Styrian People’s Party (ÖVP) Governor Waltraud Klasnic would head a commission dealing with victims of Catholic Church abuse, but the news was met with harsh criticism.
Parish priest Rudolf Schermann, who publishes Catholic magazine Kirche In, said yesterday: “I would have preferred an objective atheist.” Schermann said no one could expect independent work from Klasnic since she had “strong links” to the Catholic Church.
Social Democratic (SPÖ) juridical issues spokesman Hannes Jarolim branded Klasnic’s nomination “unacceptable. She is not objective in this matter and is not a lawyer,” Jarolim said yesterday.
Various hotlines set up by independent platforms to give victims of violence and sexual abuse by Catholic Church clergy a chance to talk about what they experienced have received hundreds of calls over the past few weeks.
A recent Integral Institut poll found 69 per cent of Austrians said the church was lacking in credibility, while another survey revealed that around one million Austrians were seriously considering leaving the Church.
More than 53,000 people left the Catholic Church in Austria in 2009, the highest in the country’s history. Analysts have said that recent developments could result in a new record number this year.
30. 03. 10. – 14:00
Source: The Austrian Independent
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