The sentence passed in November by the church court of the archdiocese of Cologne against retired cleric A. for abuse offenses is legally binding. This has been confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.
Cardinal Woelki has A. Dismissed from the clergy. Thus the today 87-year-old A. received the most severe punishment that canon law provides for a cleric. Despite convictions by state courts, A was. worked as a pastor in the archdiocese of Cologne as well as in the dioceses of Munster and Essen and was guilty of sexualized violence in several cases.
"Severe punishment of canon law"
The vicar general of the archbishop of Cologne, Dr. Markus Hofmann, notes that "Cardinal Woelki and I welcome the fact that Rome has changed the sentence in the case of A. has confirmed. With the Entlang from the clergy, the canonical proceedings in this case finally come to a conclusion. The most severe church punishment for clerics was imposed, which makes clear the staggering extent of the harm done."
Cardinal Woelki says: "I am very relieved about this news from Rome. I hope that this clear verdict will create a measure of justice for those affected."
Decree from the summer of 2019
Cardinal Woelki had A. By decree on 21.06.2019 the public exercise of the priestly ministry prohibited. The reason for the ban was the initiation of ecclesiastical criminal proceedings by the archbishop due to allegations reported in the past. On the basis of a special opinion, the case was brought to 28.10.2019 reported to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome, which for its part on 03.03.2020 announced that the statute of limitations would be waived and a criminal case would be taken up by the archdiocese. The sentence handed down in this trial has now been confirmed by the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.
The independent investigation by Prof. Gercke will stay until 18. March also in this case the responsibilities clarify.
With this punishment, the de-long from the clergy, A loses. forever all the rights and privileges associated with the ordination to the priesthood. He may no longer administer sacraments or exercise priestly ministry in any way.