Video: German Catholics renounce faith in record numbers

  1. Closed captioning of: German Catholics renounce faith in record numbers

    >> robert bazell , new york.

    >>> we turn now to the continuing and spreading crisis in the catholic church . with easter just days away , a spoeshgs person for the pope views the latest sex scandal for the pope a test for him and the church. one church in germany , the hope pope himself is under intense criticism for how sexual abuse allegations against priests were handled on his watch through decades ago. our report tonight from nbc's stephanie gosk.

    >> reporter: in bovaria, the catholic heart of germany , the church is in crisis. the municipal office of munich sees it every day. disenchanted abandoning their faith. germans have to notify the government when they abandon their religion. the numbers leaving the church have tripled. this woman told me.

    >> translator: handed over our children with trust. they were abused." church officials acknowledge that people feel betrayed.

    >> translator: we need to work through this crisis with a poll sieve transparency. we want every victim to come forward.

    >> reporter: the latest effort is a victims' hotline. since it started on tuesday, 1,000 callers phoned in.

    >> we want the victims to come us to straight away. people reporting shocks me.

    >> reporter: shock is a common reaction rippling across the country, especially in the town where reverend peter hollerman, a convicted pedophile was transferred in the late '80s. hollerman served as priest in this church 20 years. when he arrived, no one was told in his previous post he was sexually molesting children. it wasn't until earlier this month parishioners learned the truth.

    >> translator: they placed a pedophile priest in the community without telling anyone, like some experiment to see if he was cured or not.

    >> reporter: the mishandling of the case goes back to 1979 . pope benedict , an archbishop at the time approved his transfer to munich for counseling. days later the priest was returned to parish work. the vatican says the pope was not involved in that decision. the current archbishop of munich addresses the mistakes of the past in nearly every sermon. and at mass tonight he spoke directly to the priests. "you will have to work hard," he told them, "to restore trust. trust in some cases that will never be learned again." stephanie gosk, nbc news, munich , germany .

    >>> when we continue tonight, socks

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