(Note: Prior to the publication of this article on the Mirfield Memories site, approval was sought from the German Jesuit, Father Hans Zollner. Father Hans is the President of the Pontifical Commission for the Protection of Minors created by Pope Francis in 2014, is academic vice-rector of the Jesuit-run Gregorian University in Rome and head of its Institute of Psychology.)
The Vatican Radio interview with Father Hans was published by Zenit. Zenit is a non-profit news agency that reports on the Catholic Church and issues important to it from the perspective of Church doctrine. Zenit’s motto is, “The world seen from Rome.”
“We Must Look at Reality in the Face,” Says Father Hans Zollner
The President of the Center for the Protection of Minors, of the Pontifical Gregorian University, Comments on the “Regensburger Domspatzen” Report
“We must look at reality in the face and we must address all the injustices, sins, crimes that were committed by priests and also other employees of the Church,” stressed Jesuit Fr. Hans Zollner, president of the Center for the Protection of Minors of the Pontifical Gregorian University, in an interview with Vatican Radio, in which he commented on the publication of the Report on abuses (sexual and non-sexual) in the school of the prestigious choir of “Regensburger Domspatzen” (Sparrows of the Regensburg Cathedral).
“It was the courage of the bishop to throw light on a truly very profound darkness,” stressed Father Zollner. “He gave the task to a lawyer to whom he offered all the possibilities, not only giving access to the files, but also in contacting the victims and speaking with other people involved,” continued the German Jesuit and psychologist, who spoke of “a very well done Report and unobjectionable in its vastness, in its profundity and also in its scientific merit.”
According to Father Zollner, who moreover is a native of Regensburg, the Report constitutes “a very important step, also for the sensitization of the whole society and for all institutions be of the Church, be it outside of the Church.”
The report on the abuses perpetrated on pupils of the school of one of the oldest and most famous choirs of children’s voices in the world was presented yesterday, Tuesday, July 18, 2017, by Ulrich Weber, the outside lawyer and investigator charged by the German diocese in 2015.
From the document, published under the motto ‘Hinsehen, Zuhoren, Antworten” (Look, Listen, Respond) it emerges that from 1945 to the first years of the ‘90s, at least 547 pupils (but the real figure could be even higher) in the choir school of the Cathedral of Regensburg, suffered physical, corporal and psychological violence, and 67 of them were also victims of sexual abuses.
The voluminous report does not even spare the Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI’s brother, Monsignor Georg Ratzinger, who for three decades (from 1964 to 1993) directed the choir, or the former Bishop of Regensburg and former Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Ludwig Muller, for not having grasped the malaise of the young choristers or for not having reacted appropriately.