The German Bishops have announced a new attempt at professional evaluation and study of clerical sexual abuse of minors in the past. The news comes after the initial project failed in 2013 due to tensions between the Bishops and renowned Professor Christian Pfeiffer of the Criminological Institute of Hanover. Pfeiffer was the partner of choice in the Conference’s first large-scale attempt at having the cases investigated and scientifically evaluated.
Both the previous and current undertakings have drawn criticism. While Prof Pfeiffer accused the Bishops of “censorship” in January 2013 when they demanded review of the report before publication, the current project is strongly criticised by advocacy groups for “not going far enough” in terms of involving victims in the process, and by other critics for being meaningless, since “the archives have already been cleared of important documents” and “the researchers do not have direct access to the archives, but diocesan employees are set as intermediaries”.