Around 70 Catholics walked out of a service after retired priest Ulrich Zurkuhlen urged everyone to practice forgiveness… for predator priests who had been found guilty of molesting children.
Zurkuhlen was trying to make the case that no one is purely evil and that the pedophiles were also “good clerics in their communities,” but the Church members, some of whom were reportedly victims of sexual abuse, weren’t having it.
Several parishioners reportedly interrupted the 79-year-old Zurkuhlen and tried to argue with him. A worshipper told Kirche-und-Leben that the situation became chaotic and the priest was not able to finish the sermon.
When asked about the reaction his sermon caused among worshippers, Zurkuhlen said that it was “a real shock.” He lamented that he was unable to get his point across, especially the biblically important meaning of forgiveness, to what he called “the screaming mob.”
The problem isn’t his claim that bad people have their good moments. It’s that the Catholic Church’s leaders have a long history of defending predator priests and ignoring abuse victims until they’re forced to do so. Even now, Zurkuhlen seems more interested in finding a silver lining in sexual abuse than seeking justice for victims of the Catholic Church.
For now, the church has invited congregation members — whoever’s left, anyway — to have a conversation about the sermon on Monday. There’s no indication that Zurkuhlen will apologize or that he believes he has anything to apologize about.