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Ireland and Germany Investigate Catholic Church Sex Abuse Scandals

Germany and Ireland made important steps this week aimed at improving their Catholic Churches. The Irish government released a report containing information about abuse cases within the Church, while Germany discussed plans to launch a comprehensive investigation.

The report issued by the Irish determined that the diocese of Cloyne in County Cork ignored complaints about sexual abuse for years. From 1996 to 2009, 19 priests were accused of sexual misconduct.

In the Irish release, a specific incident was also reported about one priest who had two separate police reports filed against him. However, no investigation could be found against the cleric.

Alan Shatter, Irish justice minister, expressed his displeasure with the findings in the report. Shatter called the information “truly scandalous,” according to the New York Times.

The justice minister said new laws would be introduced to ensure that withholding child abuse would be viewed as a crime. Although child protection guidelines were formulated in 1996, the reports prove that they were not adhered to nor investigated 13 years later.

Frances Fitzgerald, Ireland’s minister for children, said the report proved that the children were not the Church’s first concern.

“(The) sole concern was the protection of the institution--not the children,” Fitzgerald said.

Although the Vatican spokesman did not comment on the Cloyne report on Wednesday, Bishop John Magee spoke out.

Magee, the bishop of Cloyne who resigned last year after serving as private secretary to three popes, offered his “sincere apology,” according to The New York Times.

Germany seeks to conduct a similar investigation within their Catholic Church.

Bishop Stephan Ackermann of Trier, the German clergyman who is heading the investigation, said he wants to restore faith in the country’s Catholic Church.

“We also want to discover the truth that potentially lies undiscovered in the files of past decades,” Bishop Ackermann said, according to The New York Times.

The Hamburg-based Criminological Research Institute of Lower Saxony, will supervise the German Church investigation.

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