Greens want €100mn for Catholic Church abuse victims

The Greens have called for a 100-million-Euro victims fund for people suffering abuse at Catholic institutions.The party’s juridical issues spokesman Albert Steinhauser said yesterday (Mon) 100 million Euros should be the first benchmark before discussing further action.Steinhauser accused the government coalition – formed by the Social Democrats (SPÖ) and the People’s Party (ÖVP) – of “keeping quiet in humbleness towards the Church in a scandalous way”.Asked what he expected from an upcoming round table, the MP said: “Enough hot air to heat Viennese homes for a year.”Steinhauer also called for the setting up of a federal investigation commission to deal with cases of sexual abuse and violence at state homes.The Greens’ criticism of the government in the issue comes weeks after Viennese archbishop Cardinal Christoph Schönborn assigned former Styrian ÖVP Governor Waltraud Klasnic to head a special commission to check claims made about abuse cases at Catholic institutions.An independent victims support groups accused Klasnic of having a too close relationship to the Church to act impartially. They also attacked the decision since the commission group was financed by the Catholic Church.SPÖ juridical issues spokesman Hannes Jarolim branded Klasnic’s nomination “unacceptable”.”She is not objective in this matter and no lawyer,” he said.Jarolim said he would have suggested Karl Korinek, the former head of the Federal Constitutional Court, to head the group.Various hotlines set up to give victims of violence and sexual abuse by Catholic Church clergy a chance to talk about what they experienced has received hundreds of calls over the past few weeks.Recent Karmasin research showed 57 per cent of Austrians thought Pope Benedict XVI should resign amid the Europe-wide scandal were there a rule that enabled him to do so.More than 53,000 people left the Catholic Church in Austria in 2009, and local figures for the first three months of this year hint that last year’s record number could be exceeded in 2010.