BERLIN, Germany — A German cardinal is asserting that outrage about the Catholic Church’s sexual abuse scandal is hypocritical, arguing that what happened reflected events in society as a whole.
The church has been shaken over recent years by scandals in several countries, including Germany. A church-commissioned report concluded that at least 3,677 people were abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014, prompting a top bishop to apologize.
However, in comments to German news agency dpa published Friday, Vatican-based Cardinal Walter Brandmüller was quoted as saying that “society is behaving pretty hypocritically.”
Brandmüller added: “What happened in the church in terms of abuse is nothing different from what happens in society in general.”
He argued the real scandal was that church representatives hadn’t been different from the rest of society.
The cardinal also argued it was “statistically proven” that the clerical abuse crisis was linked to homosexuality.
“It is no less unrealistic to forget or conceal that 80 percent of cases of abuse in the church environment affected male adolescents, not children,” Brandmüller said.
The 89-year-old cardinal was president the Pontifical Committee for Historical Sciences from 1998 to 2009.
Brandmüller has been a fierce critic of Pope Francis, and was one of four to present dubia — or formal questions — to the pontiff regarding the orthodoxy of Amoris Laetitia, the 2016 papal document on the family.
Crux staff contributed to this report.