Catholic Church: Pope rejects Bishop Heße’s resignation

Status: 15.09.2021 12:42 p.m.

The Hamburg Archbishop Heße should remain in office. Pope Francis decided not to accept his resignation in connection with cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne, it said in a statement by the Vatican.

Pope Francis has refused the offer of resignation from Hamburg’s Archbishop Stefan Heße because of misconduct during his time in the Archdiocese of Cologne.

Rather, he asked Hesse to continue his ministry in Hamburg “in the spirit of reconciliation”, according to a statement by the Vatican embassy in Berlin that was distributed by the German Bishops’ Conference. Heße “did not cover up sexual abuse on purpose”.

Expert opinion with consequences

After the presentation of an expert opinion on the processing of sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne in March, the diocese itself and the accused had drawn initial conclusions. So Heße had also offered the Pope his resignation. The Archbishop of Hamburg stated at the time that he had “never participated in a cover-up”. Nevertheless, he is ready to play his part in the failure of the system.

From 2006 to 2014, Heße was the main department head of staff counseling and later vicar general in Cologne. He was listed in the report in connection with eleven breaches of duty in nine files. Most of these cases were improperly handled cases of abuse.

Pope rejects the resignation of Archbishop Heße of Hamburg

Jörg Seisselberg, ARD Rome, September 15, 2021 12:54 p.m.

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