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Bishop Ivo Fürer in 2003. CH-000245-0 / creative commons

(LifeSiteNews) — A new research study into sexual abuse cases has revealed incriminating information about Bishop Ivo Fürer regarding the cover-up of a sexual abuse case in his diocese of St. Gallen.

Fürer was the bishop of St. Gallen from 1995 to 2005 and the host of the initiator of the infamous St. Gallen Mafia, a group of high-ranking, heterodox clerics who opposed Cardinal Joseph’s Ratzinger’s election to the papacy and reportedly plotted to elect Jorge Mario Bergoglio as Pope. According to Fürer’s own statement, the group had multiple meetings in St. Gallen between 1995 and 2006.

Fürer died in 2022 at the age of 92.

READ: Swiss bishops confirm existence of Cardinal Danneels’ ‘mafia’ against Benedict XVI

The report by a group of researchers from the University of Zurich accuses the Swiss prelate of not initiating a formal investigation into a priest called “E.M.” despite multiple reports of sexual harassment by victims.

Multiple women accused E.M. of sexually harassing them in a Catholic orphanage when they were children. A former employee of the orphanage told the committee for abuse victims of St. Gallen that children said they received “weird kisses with the tongue” and that they were groped under their nightgowns by E.M. when they went to bed. Other caregivers recalled that some children in the house suddenly no longer wanted to have anything to do with the priest.

One woman who reported to the committee for abuse victims in 2005 said that she was forced to lie in bed with E.M. when she was a child and that he was known among children as “Father Gropy” for his habit of inappropriately touching children.

According to the abuse report, E.M. even admitted that he “went too far” during a conversation in 2004; however, he justified his actions by stating that “different standards” would apply today compared to back then.

Due to the mounting evidence, both the committee for abuse victims in St. Gallen and the national committee for abuse cases of the Swiss Bishops’ Conference urged Fürer to report the issue to Rome, open an ecclesial investigation, and refer the victims to state prosecution authorities.

Fürer took none of these actions; he only prohibited the priest from visiting the orphanage and made him chaplain in a parish in the Diocese of St. Gallen shortly before his resignation as bishop of St. Gallen in 2005.

The researchers from the University of Zurich noticed a “collegial tone in the correspondence” between Bishop Fürer and E. M. This suggests “a close relationship between the bishop and the accused priest” and might explain why Fürer did not take further action against E.M.

Fürer is known for his heterodoxy and for tolerating active homosexual priests in his diocese. In an interview in 2022, a retired, openly homosexual priest from the Diocese of St. Gallen recalled that when he told Fürer that he was living in a same-sex relationship, the Swiss prelate was content with that and said, “[d]on’t keep this a secret. I’d rather know who my gay priests are and who they are with than not know what they’re doing.”

“The only condition was that my partner’s name could not be on the front door while I was a priest. Those were the rules of the game,” the homosexual priest said.

The abusive priest was still actively working in the diocese in 2023

Under Fürer successor, Bishop Markus Büchel, E.M. remained an active pastor in the diocese and even concelebrated a Holy Mass with Büchel around 2010. Even more allegations against E.M. were reported around that time, some dating back to the 1970s. Büchel then transferred the priest to a monastery in 2012. However, the bishop did not suspend E.M. or stop his “pastoral activity.”

According to the abuse report, “E.M. was regularly employed as a pastor in various parishes in the following years,” and there is evidence of E.M. still offering Holy Mass publicly as a chaplain in January 2023.

Abuse report ‘just the tip of the iceberg’

The report by the research team of the University of Zurich identified 1,002 cases of sexual abuse within the Catholic Church in Switzerland since 1950 involving 510 alleged perpetrators and 921 victims.

The authors wrote that these identified cases are “just the tip of the iceberg” because “numerous archives could not be evaluated last year, including a large number of archives of religious congregations, documents from the work of diocesan committees, but also records from Catholic schools, boarding schools and homes.”

A journalist from the “progressive” news outlet of the German Catholic bishops,, admitted that the greater power the laity has in Switzerland due to their “dual system” did not have a positive effect when it comes to preventing sexual abuse cases.

The Catholic Church in Switzerland had as many sexual abuse cases and handled them as poorly as other countries. The greater power of the laity compared with other nations could, therefore, hardly be seen as beneficial in this regard. The journalist concluded that “progressive” parishes were not better than “conservative” ones in preventing sexual abuse.

READ: Vatican appoints heterodox, pro-LGBT bishop to investigate sexual abuse cases in Switzerland