‘We will continue to fight’: German church abuse victims say payouts not enough

German bishops have announced higher compensation for victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church but victims say the proposals fall far short of expectations.

'We will continue to fight': German church abuse victims say payouts not enough
Archive photo shows a man walking in a church in Bremen. Photo: DPA

Each victim could be awarded up to €50,000 and even more in the most serious cases, bishop Stephan Ackermann said at the close of a four-day episcopal gathering in the western city of Mainz.

The Church currently pays victims an average sum of €5,000 as well as covering their therapy fees.

Campaigners have long complained that this is not enough.

The Eckiger Tisch victims' group has demanded a one-off sum of around €300,000 per person.

READ ALSO: Germany's embattled Catholic church elects reformist leader

But several high-ranking Church officials have rejected the proposals as too costly.

“At least we have clarity now,” Matthias Katsch from Eckiger Tisch said on Tuesday, accusing the Church of limiting itself to the “minimum of what is legally enforceable”.

“The Church in Germany is not prepared to take responsibility for its crimes,” he said.

“It does not want to admit the second crime of disguise, cover-up and concealment committed by the institution.”

The group said it would “continue to fight for real compensation”, reported the Tagesschau on Thursday.

An independent commission had recommended two solutions – either a one-off payment of €300,000 or an individual compensation ranging between €40,000 and €400,000 dependent on the severity of the crime

A study commissioned by the German Bishops' Conference and released in 2018 showed that 1,670 clergymen had committed some form of sexual attack against 3,677 minors, mostly boys, between 1946 and 2014.

READ ALSO: German Catholic church apologises as scale of child abuse laid bare

On Tuesday, the bishops chose Georg Bätzing, the reformist bishop of Limburg, as their new leader to succeed leftist Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

Bätzing will be tasked with steering the Church through multiple crises.

As well as dealing with the fallout from the sexual abuse scandal, it is seeking to answer divisive questions on issues such as priestly celibacy and the role of women.

READ ALSO: Six things to know about Catholicism in Germany

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Al-Azhar university calls for Sweden boycott over Koran burning

The Sunni Muslim world's most prestigious educational institution, Al-Azhar in Egypt, has called for the boycott of Swedish and Dutch products after far-right activists destroyed Korans in those countries.

Al-Azhar university calls for Sweden boycott over Koran burning

Al-Azhar, in a statement issued on Wednesday, called on “Muslims to boycott Dutch and Swedish products”.

It also urged “an appropriate response from the governments of these two countries” which it charged were “protecting despicable and barbaric crimes in the name of ‘freedom of expression'”.

Swedish-Danish far-right politician Rasmus Paludan on Saturday set fire to a copy of the Muslim holy book in front of Turkey’s embassy in Stockholm, raising tensions as Sweden courts Ankara over its bid to join Nato.


The following day, Edwin Wagensveld, who heads the Dutch chapter of the German anti-Islam group Pegida, tore pages out of the Koran during a one-man protest outside parliament.

Images on social media also showed him walking on the torn pages of the holy book.

The desecration of the Koran sparked strong protests from Ankara and furious demonstrations in several capitals of the Muslim world including in Afghanistan, Iraq, Pakistan, Syria and Yemen.

The Egyptian Foreign Ministry “strongly condemned” the Koran burning, expressing “deep concern at the recurrence of such events and the recent Islamophobic escalation in a certain number of European countries”.

Swedish Prime Minister Ulf Kristersson condemned Paludan’s actions as “deeply disrespectful”, while the United States called it “repugnant”.

US State Department spokesman Ned Price on Monday said the burning was the work of “a provocateur” who “may have deliberately sought to put distance between two close partners of ours – Turkey and Sweden”.

On Tuesday, Turkey postponed Nato accession talks with Sweden and Finland, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan condemned Stockholm for allowing weekend protests that included the burning of the Koran.