The archbishopric had released the former pastor, who last worked as a subsidiar, from his duties only four days ago, according to a communication.
The theologian was therefore suspected of having sexually abused a minor. He was forbidden from exercising the priestly ministry and contact with children.
The person concerned was heard on the church side in January. On February 3, the entire case was forwarded to the Bonn public prosecutor, “with a request for legal examination and initiation of the necessary steps.”
Woelki under pressure
The archbishopric assured that it would “continue to investigate” the case even after the pastor’s death and would “fully clarify” him. For example, calls will be published next weekend at all past pastors’ locations “to encourage other people who may be affected to report to the archbishopric”.
The case could also overshadow the spring general assembly of the German Bishops’ Conference, which begins on Tuesday. It is expected that the bishops there will advise on how to deal with sexual abuse in the Catholic Church.
Before the beginning of the conference, the abuse commissioner of the federal government, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, spoke of a “heavy burden”, especially for those affected by abuse. Woelki initially “aroused very, very high expectations” when investigating cases of abuse, and then disappointed him several times, Rörig told the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”.
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Archdiocese Cologne pastor suspicion abuse commits suicide