First consequence of abuse report

First consequence of abuse report

In response to the presentation of the report on the handling of abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki had relieved Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp of his duties. The now offers his resignation.

Following the presentation of an incriminating abuse report, Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp (53) of Cologne has offered his resignation to Pope Francis. "The investigation records serious failings for which I am responsible," Schwaderlapp said Thursday in a personal statement.

His close relationship of trust with former Cardinal Joachim Meisner of Cologne is the undoing of Auxiliary Bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp. He was vicar general under the former archbishop of Cologne for eight years until 2012 and thus his "alter ego" (other self).

Dealing with abuse cases "contrary to duty"

The two leading clergymen have certified the criminal lawyer Bjorn Gercke in his expert opinion presented on Thursday a "contrary to duty" handling of abuse cases – with Meisner in 24 and with Schwaderlapp in 8 cases. The consequences are now being felt by the auxiliary bishop.

Acting Archbishop of Cologne Rainer Maria Woelki, who himself was exonerated, put the 53-year-old on leave after the report was presented. Thus the career of an emphatically conservative churchman receives at least for the time being a strong damper.

Schwaderlapp is a kind of foster son of Meisner, who gave him increasingly responsible positions. Both swam theologically and ecclesiastically on one wave. Schwaderlapp was secretary to the archbishop for seven years before his mentor appointed him vicar general in 2004. In 2012 he consecrated him bishop.

As an auxiliary bishop, Schwaderlapp was responsible for the nearly 800.000 Catholics in the northern part of the Cologne archdiocese with the North Rhine-Westphalian state capital of Dusseldorf. The accusations that he covered up abuse cases and repeatedly used perpetrators among the clergy as pastors relate to his time as head of administration of the German diocese with the largest number of members.

The clergyman, who comes from the Westerwald, is close to Opus Dei. Although he does not belong to the conservative "Work of God," he has been associated with it through retreats since his youth. And a priest of the Work is his spiritual companion. The theologian, who holds a doctorate in theology, is particularly concerned with Catholic marriage theology, with which he was already especially occupied during his studies.

Withdrawal from reform debate

He withdrew from the reform debate Synodal Way of the Catholic Church in Germany in May of last year because the forum majority, in contrast to current church teaching, advocated the thesis that sexuality integrates not only fertility and love, but also other values such as pleasure and identity.

The intention is to re-evaluate contraceptive measures, homosexual acts, masturbation, artificial insemination and the situation of remarried divorcees, he criticized.

The rhetorically gifted clergyman also showed in this dispute that he is not afraid to go on the offensive. This is how he promotes the faith and principles of the Catholic Church on social networks. When CDU politicians called for ordaining proven married men to the priesthood, he countered, calling the debate "counterproductive". For as a representative of Christ, the priest must make Jesus' devotion present by sharing his celibate way of life.

Schwaderlapp vehemently opposes the "search for a cheap compromise". When people leave the church, this should not leave one cold. But they can't be won back "like an insurance company" according to the motto "be a Christian at half price. The differences between the denominations should not be accepted under the heading of "reconciled diversity" either.

Schwaderlapp also takes a pointed position on the subject of church tax: he sees it as a "membership fee of Catholics" collected by the state in return for payment. But church assets can tie up many forces, bishop warns. And congregations that launch umpteen activities to preserve their parish homes should rather engage in missionary work. "Then we would have won people for the Gospel and, in addition, enough money to maintain the parish homes."

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Christina Cherry
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