The archdiocese of Cologne has removed a 64-year-old priest from all posts with immediate effect because he was given a suspended sentence for abusing a child. The community in Morsbach was informed of this move over the weekend. The diocese has informed the Vatican, where it will now decide on further steps to be taken.

In the pastoral area of Morsbach/ Friesenhagen/ Wildbergerhutte, the following announcement was read out during the weekend church services:
"Rev. Msgr. Rainer Gille died on 17. In February 2011, he was relieved of his duties as pastor and chairman of the Catholic Parish Association of Morsbach/Friesenhagen/Wildbergerhutte and given leave of absence, effective immediately. He is prohibited from exercising his priestly ministry outside of a private setting until further notice.

Christina Cherry
Gaps in the files

An expert report on the handling of abuse cases in the Aachen diocese incriminates former bishop Heinrich Mussinghoff and his former vicar general Manfred von Holtum. The files of the diocese also seem to have conspicuous gaps.

Mussinghoff (80), von Holtum (76) and the already deceased bishops Johannes Pohlschneider (term of office 1954 to 1974), Klaus Hemmerle (1975 to 1994) and the vicar general Karlheinz Collas (1978 to 1997), the Munich law firm Westphal Spilker Wastl attests in its investigation, presented on Thursday via video conference, to have been more interested in protecting the perpetrators than in caring for the victims.

Christina Cherry
Fresh wind from malta

Maltese Mario Grech becomes new secretary general of the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican. What looks like a formality is a signal, not to be underestimated, for the Catholic Church to open up.

Silently, a baton has been passed in the Synod of Bishops at the Vatican. On Wednesday, Cardinal Lorenzo Baldisseri relinquished his position as Secretary General. In the same ab. Pope Francis appointed the Maltese bishop Mario Grech to the post.

The change was expected since October 2019. At that time, just before the Amazon Synod, the pope made Grech pro-general secretary and thus Baldisseri's designated successor. As unexciting as the personnel matter is, the new man could also bring a new wind into the leadership of the Catholic Church.

Christina Cherry
New trial?

Cardinal George Pell © Erik Anderson

News in Pell case: Australian Cardinal George Pell may appeal his sexual abuse conviction in early June, according to media reports. By then, however, he could face three months in prison.

This is reported by the "Sydney Morning Herald" (online edition Wednesday). The appeal hearing on 5. and 6. June in the highest court of the state of Victoria is expected to be presided over by three judges. Pell will be represented by Bret Walker, an expert on appeals, it added.

Christina Cherry
Exposing structures

Symbolic image: Lawyer sorts files © Mikhail Petrov (shutterstock)

Now the archdiocese of Berlin is following suit: Following in the footsteps of other Catholic dioceses, the Archdiocese of Berlin will next week present an expert report on cases of sexual abuse by pastors in its area since 1946.

These are the results of an investigation by lawyers Sabine Wildfeuer and Peter-Andreas Brand of the law firm Redeker Sellner Dahs, as the archdiocese announced on Friday. The report is due on 29. January are presented.

Christina Cherry
Flirting with german exile

Ernesto Cardenal © Katharina Ebel (KNA)

For years the Nicaraguan liberation theologian Ernesto Cardenal has been at loggerheads with his former companions. Now the poet is considering going into exile.

At least the poet and liberation theologian Ernesto Cardenal (92) can still rely on his fellow writers: Earlier this week, the international writers' association PEN threw its weight behind the Nicaraguan poet, who, according to its own reading, has once again become a target of the ruling Sandinistas. One believes in his courageous, direct and critical positions on the situation in Nicaragua under the government of Daniel Ortega. The latter has faced persecution and interference since 2007, according to a PEN letter from which Latin American media quote.

Christina Cherry

Since 1981, on 25. The "International Day for the Elimination of Violence against Women" is celebrated on November. The Secretary General of the German Section of Amnesty International, Barbara Lochbihler, has this year appealed to the international community to do more to curb violence against women than in the past. One in three women in the world will be a victim of violence at least once in their lives, she said.

On this day, she said, her organization wants to remind people that despite progress, the goal of comprehensive protection for women has not yet been achieved. "We address the governments, but also the men from whom the violence mainly originates, and call on them to actively engage in this ie and take responsibility," the secretary general stressed.Lochbihler described the situation of women in eastern Congo and Sudan as dramatic. "In these civil war-like situations, there is often ordered sexual violence against women. In eastern Congo, mass rapes have taken place in which the women were sometimes deliberately infected with AIDS in order to deliberately harm the war enemy," she said.Violence against women is still an ie in Germany, too. In view of the so-called honor killings in migrant families, it is necessary to talk about the fact that this is a violation of human rights and not a violation of honor, said Lochbihler. She added: "I think a discussion has emerged within migrant organizations, but the threat towards those who raise this ie has not diminished.

Christina Cherry
Key role for metropolitans

It's becoming more tangible: for the first time, concrete legal proposals were discussed at the Vatican's anti-abuse summit. They should allow for the removal of bishops who have failed in dealing with abuse.

U.S. Cardinal Blase Cupich of Chicago on Friday presented a twelve-point plan to supplement and tighten existing canonical norms at this point.

Key role for metropolitan of a church province

According to the proposal, in the future the metropolitan of an ecclesiastical province should play a key role in investigating a bishop and, in an emergency, in removing him from office. He should cooperate with competent non-clerics in the investigations. Germany has seven ecclesiastical provinces, each headed by an archbishop, including the cardinals in Cologne and Munich.

Christina Cherry

Painted wall in a kindergarten © KNA

The diocese of Mainz has defended its actions in the case of the Catholic daycare center Maria Konigin. The accusation of a violation of the duty of supervision raised against the educational staff of the kindergarten has not yet been cleared up.

The diocese stated on Wednesday. In addition, the allegation of a lack of care for the children, which had led to assaults between the children, could not be clarified. It is currently questionable whether the assaults between the children in all cases had been as drastic as described by parents and children.

Christina Cherry

Newspaper: Accusations against Bishop Charles Morerod of Western Switzerland © 271 EAK MOTO (shutterstock)

The "Tagesanzeiger" from Zurich accuses the bishop of western Switzerland Charles Morerod of not having cleared up a case of abuse. The bishop, they say, knew about it for years but didn't take the necessary steps.

Although the bishop of Fribourg (Fribourg) received files on an alleged sexual assault years ago, he apparently ignored the dossier and only now suspended the priest, the newspaper reported (Wednesday).

Christina Cherry