CNA Staff, Feb 4, 2021 / 12:00 pm
A German cardinal facing calls to resign confirmed on Thursday that he would release an eagerly awaited report on abuse cases in his archdiocese next month.
Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki told the Kölnische Rundschau newspaper on Feb. 4 that he stood by his promise to release the Gercke Report on clerical abuse on March 18.
He also said that an independent commission would be granted access to another report, by the Munich law firm Westphal Spilker Wastl, which the Archdiocese of Cologne controversially declined to publish.
Woeki, the Archbishop of Cologne since 2014, has been asked repeatedly to resign by journalists in recent weeks. He has also been sharply criticized by clerics and Catholic associations for his handling of abuse reports and cover-up allegations, according to CNA Deutsch, CNA’s German-language news partner.
The 64-year-old cardinal said: “We are still in talks with the Federal Government’s Independent Commissioner for Dealing with Sexual Abuse of Minors, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, and we are also honoring the agreement between the bishops’ conference and Mr. Rörig.”
“We are setting up an independent commission that will receive the Gercke Report as well as the much-debated report from the Munich law firm Westphal Spilker Wastl.”
He added: “We will bring everything to light, I will keep my promise.”
In January 2019, the archdiocese commissioned Westpfahl Spilker Wastl to examine relevant personnel files from 1975 onwards to determine “which personal, systemic or structural deficits were responsible in the past for incidents of sexual abuse being covered up or not being punished consistently.”