German church wins 'Locked Oyster' prize

German church wins prize for bad information policy on clergy sex abuse

By Catholic News Service

HAMBURG, Germany (CNS) -- The German Catholic Church is the recipient of this year's Locked Oyster, an annual award by an association of journalists to mark the most notable example of blockage of information.

Matthias Kopp, spokesman for the German bishops' conference, accepted the award in Hamburg July 10 at the annual conference of the organization Network Research.

The award was bestowed in connection with the church's information policy over the series of child abuse cases that have rocked the German Catholic Church this year.

The organization's chairman, Thomas Leif, said the German bishops "only admit what can't be denied any longer." The church "does not respect the right of the public to early and complete information and thus contradicts its own values of truthfulness and honesty."

In his speech, Kopp admitted that the church had made mistakes in its communication but said: "We are in the process of dealing with the failures of the past. We are doing that because we want to communicate -- that's my commitment today in Hamburg."

He also called upon journalists to examine their own prejudices about the church.

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