Bishop Rolf Steinhäuser, the Cologne auxiliary who served as apostolic administrator, called a meeting of the archdiocesan assets council and cathedral chapter at which he “provided information that when contracts were awarded in the context of the independent investigation into sexualized violence, both committees were not involved as required by Church law.”
The archdiocese announced on Tuesday that Cardinal Marc Ouellet, prefect of the Congregation for Bishops, said in a letter to Woelki that the Vatican had concluded “after thorough examination” that no further committee involvement was necessary.
“Neither you, Eminence, nor your vicar general violated canon law in the matter of funding the two expert reports on the handling of sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Cologne and in the funding of consulting by the communications agency commissioned by the archdiocese,” Ouellet wrote, according to the archdiocese.
Ouellet reportedly added that the Vatican’s Congregation for the Clergy had also studied the matter and its prefect, Archbishop Lazarus You Heung-sik, concluded: “Ecclesiastical law was not violated. Since there is consequently no offense, there is also no reason for canonical measures.”
The independent abuse investigation cost Germany’s largest — and reportedly also its richest — diocese around 2.8 million euros ($3.2 million) between 2019 and 2021.
The archdiocese paid 757,500 euros ($857,000) for an initial report by the Munich law firm Westphal Spilker Wastl, which Woelki controversially declined to publish.