So that enlightenment can begin in cologne

So that enlightenment can begin in cologne

Archbishop Stefan Hebe © Lars Berg (KNA)

The Federation of German Catholic Youth in the Archdiocese of Hamburg has called on Archbishop Stefan Hebe to resign from his office in the course of dealing with the abuse. The clarification in Cologne stands now in the foreground.

The Hamburg archbishop should relinquish his episcopal office until the accusations from his tenure as personnel manager in the archdiocese of Cologne have been fully clarified, according to a resolution of the association meeting of the Federation of German Catholic Youth (BDKJ) published in Hamburg on Sunday: "Our archbishop must also no longer stand in the way of a publication of the study by the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, in order to enable a clarification of the cases of abuse in Cologne," explained BDKJ diocesan chairwoman Joana Duvel.

Hebe would not comment on the BDKJ's demand when asked. The archbishop has already informed the Vatican about the accusations against his person, his spokesman told the Catholic News Agency (KNA) on Monday. The decision on his remaining in office now lies in Rome. Hebe cooperates constructively with the authors of a new expert opinion. Nor, he said, was it true that it would counteract publication of the Munich investigation.

Accusation: cover-up of abuse cases

According to media reports, the previously unpublished study commissioned by the Archdiocese of Cologne accuses Hebe of covering up cases of abuse during his time as head of personnel in Cologne. Hebe had always denied the accusations since they became known in September.

Shortly before the planned publication of the study, he had drawn the attention of the Archdiocese of Cologne to a possible violation of his personal rights and had not ruled out legal action. Meanwhile, the Archdiocese of Cologne has commissioned a new report on how to deal with sexual abuse, which is due by 18. March is to be present. Hebe has been archbishop of Hamburg since 2015 and was previously head of personnel from 2006 and vicar general in the archdiocese of Cologne from 2012 to 2015.

Call to all bishops

The BDKJ Hamburg demanded all catholic bishops to confess their guilt clearly and to take personal responsibility. "To date, no German bishop has drawn consequences because of the abuse scandal," Duvel criticized. "We can only renew our church when our ministers finally face up to their responsibility."

From the archdiocese of Hamburg, the youth organization demanded to enable a comprehensive clarification of the abuse cases and to create the legal conditions for the opening of the church archives analogous to the Stasi records law. The archdiocese should lobby the German Bishops' Conference and the German Conference of Superiors of Religious Orders for an opening of all relevant archives in all German dioceses and religious orders, said the BDKJ Hamburg, which is the umbrella organization of Catholic youth associations in the archdiocese.

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