Germany: Payments for victims: dioceses await DBK decision – Bavaria

In the fall, the German Catholic Bishops’ Conference wants to decide how much money victims of sexual abuse will receive from the church. But at church, it’s like sometimes in politics: in Bavaria, some like to rush.

Munich / Augsburg / Regensburg (dpa / lby) – Despite the advance of the Bishops of Augsburg and Regensburg with payments for victims of abuse, the other Catholic dioceses in Bavaria want to wait for a decision from the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK ). This was the result of an investigation carried out by the German News Agency among the five remaining dioceses of the Free State.

“The German Bishops’ Conference is likely to decide in the autumn on higher payments in recognition of the suffering,” said a spokesman for the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The Archdiocese will “follow this decision” and have “an active interest in ensuring that this path to higher recognition benefits can also be followed quickly in an orderly process.”

The diocese of Eichstätt also wants to wait for the DBK decision, as do the dioceses of Würzburg and Passau. “It is not far before the autumn general assembly,” said a spokesperson in Passau. In the Archdiocese of Bamberg, according to a spokesperson, there are already specific considerations – “but a decision will not be taken until after the autumn meeting of the DBK”.

In March, the German bishops adopted new guidelines for payments to victims of sexual abuse at the spring assembly in Mainz. A central and independent body must determine the amount of future payments. The details of the implementation are expected to be finalized by the fall. There was talk of one-off payments up to a maximum of 50,000 euros – even more in individual cases.

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The Diocese of Regenburg announced at the start of last week that it would increase compensation for victims of sexual abuse up to 50,000 euros. This “recognition service” is intended for people who have been victimized by church workers as minors, but who no longer have the possibility in court to obtain compensation for pain and suffering – whether because that the offenses are time-barred or that the perpetrators are dead.

“I am aware that even the highest level of recognition does not compensate for the injustice suffered and that the suffering does not simply go away,” said Bishop Rudolf Voderholzer. “I combine this step with the hope that those affected can see in it an acknowledgment of their suffering and accept it as a sign of our willingness to contribute to healing and pacification as much as possible.”

In early June, the Diocese of Augsburg publicly announced higher payments to victims of abuse of up to 75,000 euros. Bishop Bertram Meier said at the time that he did not want to anticipate the national regulation of the DBK, but that is exactly what his diocese and Regensburg did.

“I didn’t want to wait here any longer and discourage those involved,” Meier said as he announced the payments in his diocese. Funding in the Diocese of Augsburg does not have to come expressly from Church taxes. “Only the resources of the Episcopal See are used”. In Regensburg, too, church taxes should not be used for payments, but for income “that the diocese has made with its investments.”

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