Abuse hotline crashes as 'humiliated' church prays for a new start
AN ABUSE hotline set up by the Catholic Church in Germany crashed on its first day as more than 4400 alleged victims of paedophile and violent priests called to seek counselling and advice.
The handful of therapists assigned to deal with them could not cope with the numbers - only 162 of 4459 callers were given advice before the system was closed.
Andreas Zimmer, the head of the project in the Bishopric of Trier, said he was not prepared for ''that kind of an onslaught''.
The hotline is the church's attempt to win back trustfollowing an escalating abuse scandal that threatens the papacy of German-born Pope Benedict.
(Full report from Sydney Mornign Herald)....On the same day as the German hotline opened allegations emerged of serial abuse perpetrated against children by Bishop Walter Mixa - an ally and friend of the Pope - when he was overseeing a Catholic children's home in the 1970s.The leader of Germany's Catholic bishops said in a Good Friday message that he hoped Christianity's most solemn day would mark a ''new start'' for the church. Archbishop Robert Zollitsch said the time when Christians commemorated the crucifixion of Christ must ''mark a new departure, which we so badly need''.