Cologne abuse scandal: Pope leaves controversial cardinal in office despite ‘big mistakes’ abroad

Cologne abuse scandal: Pope leaves controversial cardinal in office despite 'big mistakes' abroad

Pope Francis is accusing Cardinals in Cologne and Wilkie of making “big mistakes” in dealing with allegations of sexual abuse in his diocese but has not ruled it out.

The Vatican announced Friday that Waki ​​may remain in office, but will first take five months of meditation leave. “The Holy Father relies on Cardinal Woolki and acknowledges his loyalty to the Holy See and his concern for the unity of the Church,” the statement said. However, the cardinal made “big mistakes” in dealing with sexual abuse, especially in the area of ​​communication. “This has been a major contributor to the crisis of confidence in the diocese that has troubled many believers.”

Wolke explained to German media on Friday afternoon that the holiday for reflection will begin in mid-October and will continue until the beginning of Lent in March next year. In front of the cameras, he confessed to making mistakes. “I am sorry, especially for the victims who were traumatized again,” the cardinal said.

One victim of abuse reacted with disappointment. ‘I didn’t ask for Woolkie to be fired,’ said Patrick Bauer (51), but he should have admitted mistakes on his own. In early June, as a former member of the Diocese’s Victims Advisory Board, he spoke with two “visitors” who were investigating the Pope whether mistakes had been made in dealing with abuse cases. One of these scholars was Bishop of Rotterdam Hans van den Hend, and the other bishop was Anders Arborilius of Stockholm. They completed their investigation in mid-June and recorded their findings in a confidential report to the Pope. He made his decision on the basis of that report and a personal conversation with the Cardinal of Cologne last week in Rome.

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doubt and criticism

President Georg Batzing, president of the German Bishops’ Conference, reacted with cautious skepticism to Pope Francis’ decision to keep Wilkie in office. “I accept the decisions of the Holy Father and hope that the process of reconciliation will begin in the Diocese of Cologne,” he said in Bonn on Friday. “I cannot judge whether this can lead to a fundamental change of the situation within a few months.”

The head of the Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) criticized the papal decision. “I cannot understand the decision to keep Cardinal and Wilkie in office,” Thomas Sternberg said. the scientist. ,, The timeout tool is not enough. It’s not entirely clear what might happen at the end of this reflection period.”


Time limit is not a solution to the crisis of confidence, and leaving it in place hinders the much-needed renewal process

Thomas Sternberg, Chairman of the Central Committee of German Catholics

According to him, timeout is not a solution to the crisis of confidence. In politics and in democratic structures, resignation can help take responsibility and initiate change. Rome’s decision prevents this much-needed renewal process.”

Report abuse

Cardinal Walkie has been under fire for nearly a year for his actions in assault cases. For example, the first investigative report led by a criminal attorney was no longer public due to “defective investigative techniques”. He then ordered a second investigation led by another expert in criminal law.

That report, published in March, showed that more than 300 children had been sexually abused in the diocese in recent decades by more than 200 potential suspects. The report acquitted the cardinal, but accused dozens of clerics of making mistakes in dealing with cases of abuse.

Archbishop of Hamburg

One of the accused was the Archbishop of Hamburg Stefan Hesse (55). Eleven cases of dereliction of duty and personal procedural errors in dealing with abuse cases were brought against him. He offered the Pope his resignation in March, but it was rejected last week. The Vatican said through his diplomatic post in Berlin that Heße did not act on purpose.

Archbishop of Hamburg Stefan Hesse. © Wikimedia Commons / Raimond Spekking

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