The Pope ordered an investigation in the Archdiocese of Cologne

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Cologne panorama
Cologne panorama

Pope Francis commissioned two European hierarchs to make an apostolic visit to the Archdiocese of Cologne (Germany) to study the pastoral situation and the problem of abuse of minors by the German clergy.

Victor Vladimirov – Vatican City

The task is entrusted to Cardinal Anders Aborelius, Bishop of Stockholm, and Monsignor Johannes van den Hende, Bishop of Rotterdam and President of the Conference of Bishops of the Netherlands. “During the first half of June,” says the communiqué of the Apostolic Nunciature in Berlin, “the envoys of the Holy See will get a general idea of ​​the complex pastoral situation in the archdiocese and at the same time study the possible mistakes made by Cardinal Rainer Maria Wölcki, as well as by the Archbishop of Hamburg, Monsignor and Ste assistants (in Cologne) Monsignors Dominicus Schwaderlapp and Ansgar Puff in relation to cases of sexual violence ”.

As a reminder, on March 18 the “Independent Report on the Fight against Sexual Abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne” was presented; an investigation by the law firm Gercke & Wollschläger was commissioned in October 2020 by Archbishop Wölk himself. The document is over 800 pages long and covers the period from 1975 to 2018, and its purpose was to identify any shortcomings and violations of the law, as well as those responsible for it. In particular, the report mentions 314 victims of sexual violence (all but one of them were minors), and 202 perpetrators, almost two-thirds of whom belonged to the clergy.

In a statement posted on the website of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Cardinal Wölki writes:

“I am glad that during the apostolic visitation, the Pope wants to personally familiarize himself with the independent investigation and its consequences. With full conviction, I will support Cardinal Arborelius and Bishop van den Hendé in their work, and I welcome everything that serves as an objective investigation, ”says the German cardinal.

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