German Catholics plan payout for abuse victims: archbishop
Germany's Roman Catholic Church is preparing to provide payments to victims of sexual abuse by its priests but has not decided how much to offer, its most senior bishop said Thursday.
Archbishop Robert Zollitsch, chairman of the German Episcopal Conference, said during its autumn gathering in the western city of Fulda that the Church would table a proposal next week during a meeting with government officials.
"We are ready to get involved financially," Zollitsch said, with the aim of "helping victims overcome their fate as victims".
He declined to discuss any figures, adding that the Church did "not yet have a calculation about the number of victims".
The Conference also unveiled new measures to prevent sexual abuse including clearer guidelines for appropriate relations with children and youths and greater participation of psychologists in selecting and training priests.
Like elsewhere in Europe, Germany has been hit by revelations that hundreds of children were physically or sexually abused in institutions throughout the country, all but a handful run by the Roman Catholic Church.
The Church in Germany has said it failed to investigate properly claims of abuse and that in some cases there was a cover-up, with paedophile priests simply moved elsewhere instead of being disciplined and reported to the police.
It has also faced accusations of foot-dragging on reparations for victims, most of whom suffered their abuse several decades ago.
© 2010 AFP