One of the alleged victims of child abuse in Germany’s Catholic schools has spoken out on the eve of a meeting between the Pope and Germany’s highest bishop.
Wolfgang Blaschka, a 52-year-old graphic designer, attended the prestigious Regensburg choir run by the Pope’s brother.
He says corporal punishment was the rule not the exception: “My earlobe was ripped off in one punishment. One day I found myself hanging in the air by hair – my whole bodyweight. When I tried to support myself by grabbing my teacher’s arm, he beat me very badly.”
As leader of the choir and the pope’s brother, much attention has fallen on the Reverend Georg Ratzinger.
He has admitted slapping pupils in the face to discipline them but denied any knowledge of sexual abuse.
But a German bishop has played down the affair, accusing the media of exaggerating the scale of the problem and saying there is no need for the pope to act.
“There is no need to act because these are cases of the past. We can’t turn back the clock but our main task is to offer justice and counselling to the victims from that time,” said Bishop Gerhard Mueller of Regensburg.
With allegations of abuse multiplying in Austria and the Netherlands too, the Vatican is once again facing a serious crisis.
The latest accusations follow years of damaging scandals in Ireland and the United States.