Cologne Archbishop Rainer Wolke offered Pope Francis his departure. Woolki had just returned from a period of “spiritual reflection” about the scandal that had haunted him for years.
Rainer Maria Wolke, 65, has come under fire for his handling of abuse scandals within the diocese. Since the 1970s, more than 200 people from the church have been accused of sexual assault, resulting in at least 300 victims.
A report on this was suspended by the Archbishop in 2020. A second investigation was published a year later. In it, he accused the priests and a number of the archbishop’s immediate colleagues of gross negligence. It is said that Wilkie himself did not make demonstrable errors.
Opposition to reforms
However, he continued to be criticized for his poor communication and conservative stance. Wilkie is a strong opponent of proposed reforms within the Roman Catholic Church.
In September last year, the Cardinal announced a period of reflection. He will retire until the start of Lent this year. Pope Francis recently ordered him back to work, but this was met with stiff resistance within the Cologne church community. The Archipelago, among others, spoke out against his return.
Now Woolky announces his desire to leave. Only the Pope can decide. The Vatican says it will make a decision on the archbishop’s future for the foreseeable future. Until then, he should remain in office.
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