Via the Guardian:
Earlier this week it was revealed that an Austrian abuse phoneline had received 566 separate abuse claims since its launch in January. Local reports said a quarter related to sexual abuse, another quarter involved physical abuse and the remaining number required further investigation.
Last weekend, amid growing public disquiet over the ability of the church to investigate its own priests, Schönborn announced an independent commission to examine historic cases. There are fears that the scandal in Austria could lead to a record number of defections that would exceed the 2009 figure, when 53,000 people left the church.
Across the border in Switzerland bishops confessed to underestimating the scale of the abuse and apologised for their failings. A statement from the Swiss bishops’ conference said: “We humbly admit that we underestimated the extent of the situation. Those in charge of the diocese and religious orders made mistakes.”
It also called on those who had suffered abuse to come forward with their claims and, if necessary, press charges.
Aside from a lengthy pastoral letter to victims in the Irish Republic, the pope has made little direct reference to clerical sexual abuse recently in public. On Palm Sunday, following several attempts to link him to a cover-up in Germany, he said he would not be “intimidated by the chatter of dominant opinions”, a swipe at those calling for his resignation.