The Forum of German Catholics has come to the defense of Eichstatt Bishop Gregor Maria Hanke. Among others, canon lawyer Thomas Schuller had called on Hanke to resign after the publication of the report on the financial scandal.
Hanke is "not a perpetrator, but a victim of the financial scandal" in his diocese, emphasized Forum chairman Hubert Gindert on Thursday evening in Kaufering, Bavaria. Hanke is now being put under prere because he is considered a "high-profile defender of the Catholic faith", he said.
The Catholic Forum also speaks of a media campaign in this context. Again and again, long known things are reheated in order to discredit an institution or person. With finances or sexual abuse, "all topics would be connected that have long been on the agenda of the zeitgeist. The image of the priest, the hierarchical entanglement of the church, celibacy, the priesthood of women".
Canon lawyers and group "We are Church" call for Hanke's resignation
The diocese of Eichstatt had published on Tuesday a report by external lawyers on the financial scandal that it had made public itself a year ago. It talks about disappearing files, gross dereliction of duty and lack of controls during decades of mismanagement. Altogether with a damage for the diocese in two digit million height is to be counted. The report speaks of a "system Eichstatt"; it assigns a graduated co-responsibility to Bishop Hanke and Vicar General Isidor Vollnhals.
After the publication, Thomas Schuller, an ecclesiastical lawyer from Munster, and the group "Wir sind Kirche" had demanded Hanke's resignation. The Forum of German Catholics, founded in 2000, is, according to its own description, a loose association of "Catholics loyal to the pope and the church".