Bishop Franz Jung © Harald Oppitz (KNA)
With a signature campaign, an initiative in the diocese of Wurzburg wants to support the priest of the parish community "Holy Cross Bad Bocklet", who was convicted of sexual abuse. Wurzburg Bishop Franz Jung reacts in anger.
He has now distanced himself from the action. In a statement published in Wurzburg on Monday, he called on the organizers and signers to accept the verdict and the suffering of those affected and not to distort facts. The actions counteracted in a "bizarre and scandalous way" the efforts of the diocese of Wurzburg to come to terms with the sexual abuse and caused serious damage to the parish, diocese and church as a whole.
According to the bishop, they showed with dismay that obviously in parts of the inner-church public it had still not arrived that sexual abuse was a crime that could not be tolerated.
Priest will not return
As bishop, he also clarified: "The convicted priest will definitely not return to the parish community 'Holy Cross Bad Bocklet' and has renounced the parishes. All further measures taken by the diocese against the priest will be clarified in the ecclesiastical proceedings."
Jung was reacting to several collections of signatures in the parish community for a pastor. In August 2020, the priest was convicted by the Bad Kissingen district court of two counts of sexual abuse of an altar girl who was twelve years old at the time of the crime.
He received a suspended sentence of one year and four months and a fine of 1.200 euros. Both the clergyman and the public prosecutor's office withdrew their appeal before the Schweinfurt Regional Court after the victim had testified again. The verdict of the district court thus became legally binding.
Diocese had made case public
According to media reports, the parishioners' argument is based on statements by the woman that she did not perceive the acts as abuse. In addition, they refer to alleged statements of the priest. Part, therefore, is calling for the priest's reinstatement because he is innocent, the reports said.
Another part appeals to the bishop to apply extenuating circumstances in the ongoing canonical proceedings. The diocese had made the case public in the spring of 2019 and prohibited the priest from exercising his priestly ministry. This is still valid.