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The chairman of the German Bishops' Conference has rejected calls for a roundtable discussion on the child-abuse claims plaguing the Catholic Church in Germany.
There will be no roundtable on Catholic sex abuse cases
"Sexual abuse of children is not a problem specific the Catholic Church," Freiburg Archbishop Robert Zollitsch told the newspaper Welt am Sonntag on Sunday.
Zollitsch leads the second largest diocese in Germany
He went on to say that sexual molestation had nothing to do with celibacy, homosexuality or Catholic teaching.
"Therefore, we do not need a round table specifically for the Catholic Church," Zollitsch said.
Earlier this week, Justice Minister Sabine Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger, a member of the Free Democrats (FDP), urged church leaders "to cooperate constructively with the crime-fighting authorities."
The minister called for an ombudsman to investigate the cases of child molestation, and proposed a meeting between representatives from Germany's 16 states, the church and victims of clerical sexual abuse.
Such a gathering would be "a good way to clear up the numerous abuse cases and to offer the opportunity to the Catholic Church to discuss voluntary compensation with victims," Leutheusser-Schnarrenberger said.
Priests at the Canisius-Kolleg school in Berlin are accused of sexually abusing students
Zollitsch, who leads the second-largest diocese in Germany, told the radio station Südwestrundfunk that he planned to inform Pope Benedict XVI of the scandal in March.
"Most of these cases are from 25 or 30 years ago," Zollitsch said. "At that time people believed that if the perpetrators admitted their injustices, they wouldn't do it anymore. It was naive to believe that."
Last week the Church announced it would set up a telephone hotline for victims who had suffered sexual abuse at the hands of church staff and would create a national office to review a rash of recent claims.
Two priests have already resigned for failing to report sexual abuse accusations.
Editor: Toma Tasovac