Sunday, January 23, 2022

Papal inspectors complete probe into Cologne sex scandal

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Two inspectors appointed by Pope Francis have completed their investigation into the archdiocese of Cologne in relation to a long-running sex abuse scandal.

A spokeswoman for one of the inspectors told dpa on Tuesday.

Hans van den Hende, bishop of Rotterdam, and Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm were appointed to investigate possible errors made by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, in handling the claims of sexual misconduct by priests in the archdiocese.

“The findings made during the apostolic visitation will be presented to Pope Francis,’’ Hende’s spokeswoman said.

Hende and Arborelius had already left the city, she added.

Germany’s largest diocese has been in the throes of a deep crisis of confidence for several months, evident in part in a wave of resignations of church membership.

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The inspection began on Tuesday last week when victims of sexual abuse were interviewed.

“There were further meetings with laypeople, the representatives of various bodies, as well as with priests and bishops,’’ the spokeswoman said.

Woelki, who has rejected suggestions that he resign, was one of those interviewed.

“At the end of the visitation, the inspectors thank all those who were prepared to come to a discussion,’’ the spokeswoman said.

They also thanked those who responded by mail or email.

At the beginning of June, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the archbishop of the Bavarian capital Munich and one of the most influential leaders of the German Catholic Church, offered his resignation over the sexual abuse scandal.

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Pope Francis rejected the offer.


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