A new report reveals that there were significantly more abusers and victims in the Archdiocese of Cologne than previously assumed. Numerous believers leave the church.
Cologne – The Archdiocese of Cologne is under heavy pressure. The number of abusers and victims is much higher than previously assumed. A preliminary report of the Mirrors The following comes the expert Björn Gercke, who was commissioned by Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, to around 300 victims and 200 accused since 1975. The expert Gercke informed the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” that the numbers of the expert opinion previously published in “Spiegel” the “final numbers should be”.
The abuse study previously commissioned by the German bishops and presented in autumn 2018 listed only 135 victims and 87 accused clergy for the period between 1946 and 2015 for the Archdiocese of Cologne. The new report is to be presented on March 18. The study covers the period up to 1975 and thus the terms of office of Cardinals Joseph Höffner (Archbishop from 1969 to 1987), Joachim Meisner (1989 to 2014) and Woelki (since 2014).
Sharp criticism: investigation is withheld from the public
According to information from the Spiegel more than 300 suspicious transaction reports and 236 files. The report also lists the case of a priest who was accused of sexual abuse in a boarding school in the Archdiocese of Cologne in the 1980s. The priest concerned was later appointed pastor and youth chaplain despite the abuse allegations and is said to have behaved sexually abusive towards a teenage girl in 2002. Despite the numerous allegations, Cardinal Woelki said goodbye to his retirement in 2017.
In addition, criticism is voiced about the fact that the Archdiocese of Cologne has not yet published a study previously commissioned by the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) on how diocese officials deal with cases of sexual violence. Woelki has been holding this back so far because, according to some lawyers, it has “methodological deficiencies” and is therefore not legally secure. According to information from the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger”, the report from Munich identified around 230 suspects and more than 270 victims.
Sharp reaction: Server collapsed due to enormous demand for church exits
The diocese of Cologne was confronted with a consequence of this news yesterday (February 19th, 2021): The demand for appointments for leaving the church was so high on Friday that the server of the Cologne District Court collapsed. The court announced yesterday that the booking page could no longer be accessed. “I can tell you that we had more or less 5000 access attempts,” said a spokesman for the Cologne District Court on Friday.
Catholic Church in criticism: more and more church resignations
The demand for leaving the church had risen rapidly in the past few weeks – for many Catholics leaving the church seems to have been an annual resolution. Due to the increased demand, the court had already increased the number of bookable appointments from around 1,000 to 1,500 per month. On Friday at 10:00 a.m. additional dates for the months of March and April were activated on the online site. So many people apparently wanted to access this offer that the servers collapsed.
The debate about the inadequate processing of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne is apparently having an effect. The number of people leaving the church has increased in recent years. According to the district court, 6,960 people in Cologne turned their backs on their churches in 2020 and 10,073 in the previous year. The agency recorded 7,618 withdrawals for 2018, 6,174 for 2017 and 5,759 for 2016. (dpa/at)
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Archdiocese Cologne Terrifying report victims abuse thousands leave church