Anyone who is not really deep in the material has long since lost track of how many Catholic dioceses have already submitted an abuse study. So many investigations have already appeared, many more are to come, a never-ending procession of catastrophic reports of concealment, cover-ups and thousands of sufferings. And every time another study is presented, as it is now in Münster, the impression is reinforced: the Church does not come to rest. The abuse, it never stops.

Some things are right about that. For example, the banal, shocking fact that crime itself, that evil can never be completely suppressed, in the Church as little as anywhere else. That sexual abuse can never happen again in the church from today is just as unrealistic a hope as the hope that there will never again be a complex like Wermelskirchen or Lügde.

It is also true that the church still has difficulties in dealing with those affected: for example, the question of financial recognition of the suffering continues to smolder. Above all, however, every new study confirms that if there had been no external pressure and if there had been more pressure, the Church would in many cases still be sticking to its unholy protection of perpetrators to this day.

Nevertheless: The terrible figures from Münster must not obscure the progress made. The Church moves. All of their new rules for preventing, detecting and punishing sexual abuse are having an effect. Most of the recorded cases also date back decades in Münster; Since the beginning of the abuse scandal in 2010, new attacks have become increasingly rare.

Then there is the processing: By opening one secret archive after the other, the German bishops are now becoming role models for dioceses in other countries, in Spain for example, and also in Latin America.

Not to mention the areas of society beyond the church: that the church alone is a hotbed of abuse, this perception is “distorted”, said one of the authors of the Münster study to “Cicero”. It is no more dangerous for children in communion class than in a sports club or music school. So what is still being carried out elsewhere is already in full swing in the Church. After all.