Cardinal Woelki admits his own mistakes | Free press


The recently published report on dealing with abuse allegations exonerates Cardinal Woelki. But this one is still flaws in itself. He could and should have done more, the cardinal said.

Cologne (dpa) – Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has admitted his own mistakes in dealing with alleged abusers. For example, in the case of the alleged abuser O., he had fulfilled his legal obligation, but he still wondered if he had done “everything humanly possible” to make this clear, Woelki said in Cologne on Tuesday.

‘I didn’t. I didn’t have to report to Rome, but I could and should have. Priest O., who has since passed away, is said to have abused a toddler boy in the late 1970’s.

Woelki also cited the case of another priest who committed the most serious abuse of children in the 1990s. Here he might have suspended the priest earlier, Woelki said. He described this as “an embarrassing example of my personal inadequacy”.

Still, he doesn’t think a dismissal is appropriate, Woelki said. “The problems would continue after I left. Such resignation would be but a symbol that is at most short-lived. ‘

Moreover, Woelki admitted that there was a “systemic cover-up” in the Archdiocese of Cologne. The report released last week on dealing with allegations of abuse against priests has proved this, Woelki said. “That should never have happened,” said the head of the largest German diocese. That is why “rigorous measures” must be taken now to prevent this from happening in the future.

Volki admitted “chaos in the administration” and a “system of silence, secrecy and lack of control”. “In general there was a lack of compassion, in general there was a lack of empathy,” said the Archbishop.

The report found that, because of the files still available in the Archdiocese of Cologne, 314 people – mostly boys under the age of 14 – were believed to have been victims of sexual assault. The appraiser Björn Gercke stated that “for decades no one dared to report such cases”. Gercke accused several of the archdiocese’s officials of dereliction of duty, such as the former head of staff and current Archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Heße, and Cardinal Joachim Meisner, who died in 2017. Heße, meanwhile, has offered his resignation to the Pope.

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