Allegations of abuse emerged at the Regensburg choir school

An official report paints a dark picture: at least 547 boys were abused at the school – and those are just the confirmed cases.

In the latest sexual abuse scandal to rock the Catholic Church, a shocking report reveals that more than 500 boys suffered physical and sexual abuse at an acclaimed Catholic choir school in Germany. The abuse took place over a period of 50 years – beginning as early as 1945 and continuing all the way into the 1990s.

The Regensburger Domspatzen choir is legendary in Germany. In fact, its origins trace all the way back to the year 975, making it the oldest choir in the world. Experts attribute the choir’s success to its unique model: a boarding school for young singers. However, when places in the wrong hands this model proved to have disastrous consequences – the choir boys were essentially stuck inside school grounds 24 hours a day, unable to escape abusive authority figures.

Survivors likened the place to “prison, hell, or a concentration camp”. Mistreatment was the norm, and victims were pressured into silence.

Allegations Begin to Surface

Initial reports of abuse surfaced back in 2010, but it wasn’t until recently that the scale of the crimes became clear. A prominent German lawyer was tasked with conducting an independent investigation into the choir school, and his findings were both striking and saddening.

The lawyer’s 440-page report paints a dark picture: at least 547 boys were abused while enrolled at the school – and those are just the confirmed cases. For victims, it was “the worst time of their lives, characterized by fear, violence and hopelessness.”

The majority of the abuse was physical, with boys suffering brutal beatings for the slightest perceived misconduct. However, there were also at least 67 documented cases of sexual abuse.

Systemic Abuse

If there’s one main takeaway from the report, it’s this: the abuse was systemic – perpetrated not by a handful of bad apples behind closed doors, but by a large number of priests, teachers, and school administrators out in the open.

Further complicating matters is the identity of the choir school’s director. From 1964-1994 (during the height of the abuse), the school was led by none other than Georg Ratzinger, the brother of Pope Benedict XVI.

Georg Ratzinger is Pope Benedict XVI's brother

Georg Ratzinger (right), pictured with brother Pope Benedict XVI.

A Brother Corrupted

Ratzinger is still alive, and suddenly under the microscope. Now 93 years old, Ratzinger maintains that while he knew of the physical violence (and indeed made a habit of slapping students in the face), he had no idea how brutal it really was. Ratzinger also claims to have been unaware of the sexual abuse taking place.

But the commissioned report says otherwise. Given the systemic nature of the abuse, it concludes, it would have been impossible for Ratzinger not to know. The former schoolmaster’s statements don’t exactly bolster his claims of innocence, either:

“Pupils told me on concert trips about what went on… it didn’t dawn on me from their stories that I should do something,” Ratzinger said.

Abuse in the Catholic Church

The fact that the Pope’s own brother was informed about the abuse and decided to look the other way speaks volumes.

Tarnished Reputation

Although the scandal itself is tragic, what’s perhaps even more troubling is the public’s reaction to it. The story made the news, but was largely met with a collective *shrug*. It soon disappeared from the headlines. “Just par for the course from the Catholic Church,” critics jibe.

Clearly the Vatican continues to struggle to shake this reputation of corruption and coverups. While it may yet be possible to repair its toxic image, each new revelation of abuse makes such an outcome appear less likely to occur. We sincerely hope this latest report will prove to be the last, but forgive us for not feeling confident in making that prediction.

 

35 comments

  1. Guairdean says:

    Is there a level of the Catholic Church that isn’t corrupt to the core? People often ask “What Would Jesus Do?” and forget that grabbing a bullwhip and kicking over tables is a valid answer.

  2. James says:

    Abuse is wrong. Lieing is wrong. The Perps should be killed if found guilty. Yet, questioning the validity of 50 year old claims. I’d be critical of any claim that old. Plus it would come down to words. Many words from many people, but still no evidence. It would be very hard to judge any of this claim. I thank God I don’t have to.

    1. Amber Fry says:

      Claims that old are so because children victimized usually are made to feel they would not be believed or would be blamed so shouldn’t speak of it. Sometimes it takes a while, well into adulthood to put together that they were lied to, and there were others… many, many others. It takes a while to realize they can speak up.

      1. ronald Wolfe says:

        Yes amber what you say is true. But reclaimed memories 50 years old have been proven unreliable in all studies done. Think how many details of an event regardelss of it horror you can remember clearly from 50 years ago as a 59 year old man i surely cant be sure of any of my memories of 50 years ago and have on numerous occcassions found my memory from even 30 years ago have been very wrong.

        1. Threedogs says:

          First of all the article did not say the memories were recovered. Many remember abuse alll their lives. Second, research in neurobiology shows that recovered memories are valid stored in the amigdala. Keep up on the research if you are going to cite it.

      2. JOHN MAHER says:

        WHAT ABOUT the CLAIMS AGAINST tRUMP the PERVERT, TOO old ALSO, the only thing OLD going by your FOTO is YOUR CLOTHES !!!

  3. Minister Rob says:

    Belief in God(s) is one thing. Being thankful for creation of the universe, or thankful for life, is understandable. One has to question, however, when a RELIGION espouses peace and yet is not peaceful.

    Worship a creator if you want to be thankful, instead of worshipping a religion, IMO.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      I WONDER WHO is BEING ABUSED in the tRUMP W H ??? tRUMP PROFESSES to be a PERVERT WHAT will tRUMP DO BEHIND the W H doors ??? YOUR PRESIDENT is MANIACAL and DANGEROUS, DUMP the IGNORAMUS COWARDLY TRAITOR tRUMP, GOD is GREAT so is the US of A, tRUMP is CATHOLIC !!!

      1. Bernard Moleman says:

        Trump is NOT a PERVERT unlike B. HUSSEIN OBAMA and the CLINTONS (confirmed pedophiles)

        1. JOHN MAHER says:

          MOLEMAN CRAWL back in YOUR HOLE with tRUMP, YOU SAY that GRABBING YOUNG GIRLS by THEIR GENITALS is NOT PERVERTED W T F did U get YOUR EDUCATION, OH YES tRUMP FAKE NEWS,IGNORANT VILLAGE IDIOT, DUMP the IGNORAMUS COWARDLY TRAITOR tRUMP, GOD is GREAT so is the US of A, WHY NOT INVITE tRUMP and MOOCHI to YOUR HOUSE and LEAVE them to YOUR WOMEN FOLK , CRAWL back in YOUR HOLE MOLE MAN

        2. Amber Fry says:

          If you really believe that you haven’t been watching.

          1. JOHN MAHER says:

            IF YOU DO NOT BELIVE it YOU HAVE NOT BEEN LISTENING, AMBER get SOME NEW CLOTHES

        3. JOHN MAHER says:

          CRAWL BACK in YER HOLE MOLE MAN, READER of FAKE NEWS, TELL AMBER FRY to get some NEW CLOTHES SHE MAY LISTEN to a MOLE man

      2. ronald Wolfe says:

        John you have issues, this is not about trump why are you so fixated???? in any case TRUMP IS NOT CATHOLIC do some research before you prove yourself a fool.

        1. JOHN MAHER says:

          YEAH RIGHT WOOFY, ANOTHER SCHOLAR, HOW DO YOU KNOW tRUMP is NOT CATHOLIC, are HIS DAUGHTER and SON incrime LAW JEWS ??? LEAD on WOOFY

          1. CW says:

            What the fuck are you even on this site go get in your circle jerk SJW or ANITFA site with all the other people in the low 80’s IQ club. You sound as stupid as a neo Nazi, a skin head, or a WWII Nazi. So fuck uneducated and unable to think for yourself. Grow a brain or shut the fuck up or grow up past 12

          2. JOHN MAHER says:

            HEY C..K Whiffer or CW WTF GOT a NAME COWARD try USING it COWARD,I BELIEVE YOUR BUTTIES will SAY this is the WAY to SPEAK, ACTUALLY YOU COME on LIKE a QUEEN, PEACHES and CREAM, LIPS like STRAWBERRY WINE, tRUMP must REALLY LOVE YOU C W , DUMP the IGNORAMUS COWARDLY CRIMINAL TRAITOR tRUMP, GOD is GREAT so is the US of A,.. BLOW ME some KISSES to tRUMP

  4. reg dangerman says:

    MOLEMAN – what sort of rock did you crawl out from – check your facts, do you call a sex predator an angel, I think you and that sick excuse of filth and his ilk should be placed on an island away from a decent world.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      ALL these tRUMP PERVERT LOVERS HAVE NO IDEA of the REAL NEWS or FACTS of LIFE they LIVE in tRUMPS PERVERTED WORLD and BELONG there,

      1. CW says:

        fuck off you moronic democrat, real news or education is nothing you been exposed to. Go back to bed you stupid ass child. Your parent should be stoned for allowing you tp become so angry and stupid.

        1. JOHN MAHER says:

          HEY C W, what does C W stand for ??? C..K WASHER, I AM SURE tRUMP SWEETS WOULD LOVE YOU ON HIS CAKE TEAM, ANOTHER FLAMING CHICKEN F..K.RPLUCKER, REAL TOUGH on the Email send ME YOUR HOME ADDRESS be GLAD to MEET YOU PUNKO PINKO, HEY do HAVE ORANGE HAIR, DO YOU HAVE HAIR ??? I think YOUR PARENTS WERE STONED WHEN they MADE YOU and AFTER YOUR BIRTH WERE ACTUALLY STONED to DEATH for NOT ABORTING YOU,DUMP the IGNORAMUS COWARDLY CRIMINAL TRAITOR tRUMP, GOD is GREAT so is the US of A, PISTOLS,SWORDS,KNIVES what will it BE Chicken Washer ???

  5. Guairdean says:

    I’m always saddened by these threads. A serious issue affecting children has been brought to light and the majority of responses are namecalling and diversion to unrelated political opinions. Is it any wonder that children, and later adults, are too afraid to come forward? Reread the comments and tell me that the support a victim needs is there. Imagine a child getting this response. Someone mentioned false memories. I’ll admit it happens, but not 547 times! Especially not with the history of abuse by the church in question. If you call yourself Christian, you’ll be wise to remember these words. Matthew 25:40 “And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.” To ignore their plight, and turn a dear ear to their cries, you have done great harm to the very least of His brethren. I’ll be signing off this thread now, the vitriol turns my stomach.

    1. Yvette Moore says:

      Hear, hear. Unfortunately, the use of violence in Catholic institutions seems to have been endemic. I can’t imagine why, since the doctrine of the Church in no way condones such behaviour. I have great difficulty understanding how that culture could possibly have developed in a way of life that does nothing but espouse kindness to everyone you meet. It’s been found in schools of all kinds, and in mother and baby homes and orphanages run by many different Orders. It’s saddening and angering to me that not only did the abuse take place as a matter of course, but was ignored by those who were able, but unwilling to put it to an end. By no means did it happen in *all* institutions, and given the sheer size of the Church I suppose something like this was likely to happen somewhere (after all paedophiles and abusers of all kinds gravitate to professions where they can practise their vile perversions), there are still no excuses for the ignoring of what was going on. That seems to have been endemic too 🙁 I can only hope that lessons have finally been learned, but it’s a huge theocracy and there are still many people who have much to lose.

  6. CW says:

    This is not a new issue since the 80’s we have know not to leave pot children with catholic priest. What is scary to me is that people still Leave their kids with a Catholic priest

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      YOU WOULD KNOW C W WEREN’T YOU LEFT in the BASEMENT with FATHER tRUMP ??? POT WERE YOU ALSO A tRUMPIE DRUGIE ???

    2. Yvette Moore says:

      Not just Catholic priests. Paedophiles and abusers will always be in positions where they can practise their vices. They’re everywhere. I hope this doesn’t mean that we should always be afraid to leave our children, but we should be hypervigilant.

      And John, what makes you so angry all the time? I can’t stand Trump either, but he can’t be held responsible for this. The shouting isn’t necessary. Nor are the constant insults. Try to remember where you are.

      1. JOHN MAHER says:

        YVETTE MOORE, if YOU DO NOT LIKE tRUMP THEN MAKE IT KNOWN, it is NOTHING ABOUT ANGER or HATE, it is ABOUT DECENCY and the AMERICAN WAY, tRUMP WAS and IS A CHEAP THUG and NEVER WAS or WILL BE MY PRESIDENT, DOES tRUMP SPEAK OUT AGAINST this ATROCITY, DOES tRUMP do ANYTHING EXCEPT TWEET STUPIDITY and LIES, I AM SURE tRUMP WAS MOLESTED as a CHILD and PRACTICES INSESST, MANY PEOPLE TOLD ME THAT, sound familiar ??? DO NOT REMAIN in DENIAL SPEAK OUT AGAINST tRUMP @ EVERY OPPERTUNITY, DUMP the IGNORAMUS COWARD CRIMINAL TRAITOR tRUMP, GOD is GREAT so is the US of A

  7. Threedogs says:

    Does no one monitor this site? Get rid of the trolls hijacking it!

    1. Yvette Moore says:

      Quite.

  8. Nicole Joice says:

    Wow, this thread of anger, bullying, back and forth threats and name calling…is so *sad* to see in a group like this; a group of ministers…Brothers and sisters, please give peace a chance here….some compassion for your fellow human beings. I’m shocked and disappointed that my fellow ministers are going on like this…
    I’m sorry I looked at the comments.

    1. JOHN MAHER says:

      I agree WHEN one DOES NOT AGREE with the BIBLE BABBLE tRUMPIES they RE ENFORCE THEIR HATE POSTs with INSULTS and IGNORANCE, GOD DOES NOT HATE,HE LAYS in WAIT, ALLS WELL that ENDS WELL, DUMP the IGNORAMUS COWARDLY CRIMINAL TRAITOR tRUMP, GOD is GREAT so is the US of A

    2. Yvette Moore says:

      It’s very sad.

  9. Col Easton says:

    Omg, what a travesty. The Catholic Church is Full of Shame of the worst type. Were they certain other faith’s they’d be certainly ‘put to the sword’.
    They know this, and of course have protection, from the highest level. Basically they’re all perverts hiding behind the veil and secrecy of a long term much maligned religion. I’m a born Catholic and ‘do Not trust any of their clergy. With other religions you at least have an idea where you and they stand. Not so with Catholicism. Shame shame shame, amen!

    1. Yvette Moore says:

      By no means all. I’ve met many good, honest, caring priests and nuns who do great work for God. There are people who abuse their power in every organisation where that opportunity is available. Teaching, Scouting/Guidng, Youth groups, you name it, they will be there. All Catholic priests aren’t paedophiles, but paedophiles become priests.

      1. JOHN MAHER says:

        YVETTE MOORE, YOU REALLY HAVE NO IDEA of WHAT GOES on BEHIND the ALTAR and it AIN’T BLESSINGs or BAPTISMs, the SAME of PRIESTs DRINKING, HORRIBLE PROBLEMS UNSEEN !!!

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