Another Bishop of Cologne on leave due to abuse report | Free press

Cologne (dpa) – As a result of the abuse report presented on Thursday, another bishop has been given temporary leave.

Cologne auxiliary bishop Ansgar Puff asked Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki to do this herself, the Archdiocese of Cologne announced on Friday. Volki obeyed and temporarily suspended Puff from his duties. According to the archdiocese, Puff is accused in the report of a violation of the duty of disclosure from his time as an HR manager.

On Thursday, Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp of Cologne and Archbishop Stefan Heße of Hamburg – formerly Head of Human Resources in Cologne – offered the Pope their resignation. It is the first time such steps have been taken in connection with the abuse scandal in the Catholic Church. The experts had also accused bishops Schwaderlapp and Heße of dereliction of duty. The Archdiocese of Hamburg is now provisionally headed by Vicar General Ansgar Thim until further notice.

On behalf of Woelki, a team led by criminal attorney Björn Gercke investigated how those responsible for the archdiocese of Cologne had dealt with allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests from 1975 to 2018. The lawyers recorded countless cover-ups.

The highest Catholic in Bonn demanded consequences from other bishops on Friday. It is unfortunate that this will only happen if those affected are forced to do so by legal advice, said city dean Wolfgang Picken of the German news agency. Those already proven to have violated their duty included Munich Cardinal Reinhard Marx, Essen Bishop Franz-Josef Overbeck and Osnabrück Bishop Franz-Josef Bode, Picken said.

Picken, who is also a successful book author, therefore called for a declaration of honor for bishops and vicars-general based on the example of the members of the CDU faction after the mask corruption affair. “Better now a landslide of resignation and an accompanying explosion than an unpredictable permanent crisis,” Picken said.

The Chairman of the Diocesan Council in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Mayor Tim Kurzbach (SPD) of Solingen, judged the report as a “first step in the right direction”. But now a much more intensive trial is imminent, Kurzbach told the German news agency. “Trust has to be rebuilt slowly.” It is about a system of clericalism that must be broken down and worked through as a whole. The laity, the common believers, are organized in the diocesan council.

Woelki has announced that it will present further consequences from the report next Tuesday. In addition, he wanted to discuss the results of the report with the diocesan council, he said in the ARD “Tagesthemen”. Kurzbach said, “I’ll wait. He hasn’t spoken to us in recent weeks. ‘

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