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Abbot says church missed chance over abuse

The abbot of Einsiedeln, Martin Werlen, has criticised the Catholic Church over its handling of cases of sexual abuse that came to light last year.

This content was published on March 28, 2011 - 16:30
swissinfo.ch and agencies

Werlen, whose abbey has been at the centre of abuse cases, said that the church had “not at all” done enough in uncovering abuse and had not been open enough about the issue.

“It would have been a challenge to show what was important to us: looking after the victims, dealing with perpetrators correctly and working through the difficult times,” Werlen said in an interview with the Aargauer Zeitung newspaper on Monday.

This would have made a contribution towards tackling sexual abuse in other contexts, he said, adding that dealing with such cases transparently was the best prevention.

An independent inquiry ordered by Werlen confirmed in January this year that 15 monks at the abbey – an important place of pilgrimage which is located in central Switzerland - were guilty of offences over the past 60 years, in cases involving around 40 victims.

Last year there were numerous reports of abuse by Catholic clergy or church employees in Europe, including elsewhere in Switzerland.

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