BERLIN — Germany’s Roman Catholic Church has called off an independent institute’s investigation into sexual abuse by clergy over several decades, it said Wednesday. The lead researcher said the church wanted too much control over his work.
In 2011, the church asked Christian Pfeiffer’s Lower Saxony Criminological Research Institute to analyze data on abuse from German dioceses as far back as 1945, including material from church archives.
It was part of efforts to address the scandal triggered by revelations of abuse of children and youths in Germany, Pope Benedict XVI’s homeland, and elsewhere.
The German Bishops Conference said “mutual trust is shattered” between the bishops and Pfeiffer, and it is terminating its agreement with the institute.
Pfeiffer said that researchers and the church worked well together for the first few months, but then resistance emerged, starting with a call from the Munich archdiocese for the researchers “to bow to church requests for stronger controls” on their work.