Archdiocese of Cologne: Penitential service to forgive the mistakes of sexual abuse

The Archdiocese of Cologne plans to hold a penance service on November 18 for sexual abuse committed by priests.

Cologne – The service in Cologne Cathedral will be celebrated by the current representative of Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the Apostolic Administrator Rolf Steinhäuser, announced the Archdiocese on Friday. Woelki is on a break of several months.

Steinhäuser wanted to ask for forgiveness on behalf of the mistakes of the Archdiocese of Cologne, it said in a message. The auxiliary bishop was quoted as saying: “With the penance service we confess our guilt to the Lord, but also to those affected. Immense pain and suffering have been inflicted on them through sexual violence. ” A report published in March accused leaders of the diocese such as the former Archbishop Joachim Meisner (1933-2017) and the current Archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Heße, of breaches of duty in dealing with cases of abuse.

Individuals victims of sexual abuse have criticized the penance service. Patrick Bauer, a former member of the advisory board, told WDR: “Did the perpetrators known to the diocese also receive an invitation? If so, how will this be conveyed to those affected when they meet their perpetrators there. If not, why not? After all, it is you who have to repent. “

The Archdiocese emphasized that the service was of course only an offer. The current members of the Advisory Council for Affected Persons took part in the preparation of the service and would bring their own perspective. The divine service should primarily be an expression of repentance. November 18, when the service is held, is the European Day for the Protection of Children from Sexual Exploitation and Sexual Abuse. (dpa)

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