Archbishop Woelki is coming under increasing pressure. Allegations of abuse lead to people leaving the church in a row.
In Germany, people leaving the church have been increasing for years. In 2019 they peaked at over half a million. The situation at the Catholic Church in Cologne is particularly serious.
There the cardinal seems to be concealing the way in which sexual violence has been dealt with in his diocese. Over 200 clerics are said to have molested children and young people. The events in Cologne gave a lot to talk about at the annual meeting of the German bishops this week.
What the German bishops have allowed themselves in Cologne in the last few decades should be pilloried.
Cardinal and Archbishop of Cologne, Rainer Maria Woelki, is in the crossfire of criticism. For months he has been keeping a report under lock and key that should have dealt with sexual violence in his diocese.
Expert opinion under lock and key
It was only after public pressure that he became self-critical: “I am sure that I have also blamed myself here. I feel sorry for all of this from the bottom of my heart. ” Still, he doesn’t want to change anything. The report remains secret until a counter-report has been issued.
It is enough for many believers. The server at Cologne District Court collapsed this week because thousands wanted to quit the church at the same time. In January there were almost twice as many church resignations as in the previous year.
They are people like Wilfried Dohnen, a staunch Catholic throughout his life. He considers Cardinal Woelki to be intolerable: “That was the famous drop that broke the barrel. In my opinion, Mr. Woelki acted completely against the church and against the people. “
Only public criticism possible
Other bishops are also feeling the loss of trust. There is no more than public criticism, says Georg Bätzing, chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference. And it is clear: “It is a disaster, the cardinal said it himself. The crisis management has been bad, and it’s still bad. “
It is a disaster, the cardinal said it himself. Crisis management has been bad, and it’s still bad.
A church that controls itself? The example of Cologne shows how useful an independent, external review would be. Both of the cardinal’s reports are to be published in mid-March. But the damage is done. For many people irreparable.