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Rome (KNA) - The German Jesuit Hans Zollner SJ has called on the Catholic Church to deal more intensively with the consequences of sexual abuse. There is a lack of "theology in the face of abuse, a theology of childhood", said the president of the Child Protection Centre at the Pontifical University of Gregoriana at an event in Rome. He also called for a "culture of protection of the particularly vulnerable".

Although sexual abuse has been reported in the church for about 30 years, there is still no theological discussion of this topic, said Zollner. Whereas in the 19th century a number of Christian communities were formed, which took on the social problems of that time, there were no initiatives for those affected today.

Zollner said at the presentation of the German translation of the book "Father, I forgive you!" by Daniel Pittet in the German Embassy at the Holy See. In it, the Swiss man describes how a Catholic Capuchin priest raped him for four years. The then youth priest abused the boy from 1968 to 1972 in the most brutal way.

To face the sexual abuse of minors by priests is "shocking and heartbreaking,"said Zollner. "It's about sexuality and violence, abuse of trust, destroyed life, and hypocrisy - all in the bosom of the Church." But if you don't face your own dark side, sooner or later you'll catch it all the more vehemently. Christians must "arrive in reality", the Jesuit said.

Zollner said that no one could ever completely defeat evil, including the abuse of children. That is a fatal misjudgement. However, much could be done to "minimize the risk of assaults".

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