Catholic Church: Delegates want to stay away from Woelki's most important body

Leading clergymen and lay representatives in the Archdiocese of Cologne want to protest against Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki with a boycott.

Catholic Church: Delegates want to stay away from Woelki's most important body

Leading clergymen and lay representatives in the Archdiocese of Cologne want to protest against Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki with a boycott. The chairman of the lay representation in the largest German diocese, the mayor of Solingen Tim Kurzbach (SPD), told the German Press Agency that he would stay away from the meeting of the diocesan pastoral council beginning on Monday evening, like many other delegates. The Diocesan Pastoral Council is the Archbishop's main advisory body.

Kurzbach justified this by saying that the head of the archdiocese apparently wanted to keep a detailed discussion about the latest allegations against Woelki small. Vicar General Guido Assmann - Woelki's deputy - failed to put this topic on the agenda from the outset as the only one. "This has caused a large number of people not to go: priests, full-time employees of the archdiocese and also lay people." Woelki was recently accused, among other things, of using a PR agency to instrumentalize the advisory board of those affected by sexual abuse. He himself rejects this.

Mood at rock bottom

"The mood in the Archdiocese is at a new, absolute low point, and of course we urgently need to talk about it," said Kurzbach. The current state of limbo is "intolerable". Pope Francis asked Woelki months ago to apply for his resignation, but the Pope has not yet made a decision on this. "We are in a kind of war of nerves between Cologne and Rome," said Kurzbach. "The sufferers are the believers in the Archdiocese of Cologne."

Last week he spoke to someone who was employed by a Catholic institution and who raised his children in the Catholic faith. Now they had revealed to him that they had left the church because of Cardinal Woelki. "This father was hit to the core, cried. Such personal fates are very close to me," said Kurzbach.

Minister: Large majority wants a fresh start

A senior minister of the archdiocese confirmed that many felt that words and discussions were going nowhere. "So many are now sending a clear signal that things cannot go on like this and are staying away from the diocesan pastoral council. This is a new and unprecedented escalation. The large majority finally want a new beginning and a clear signal from the cardinal that he is his seeking resignation and acting accordingly on the Pope."

However, Woelki has made it clear several times that he only wants to resign from office if the Pope should recall him. Instead, he appealed to all groups in the archdiocese to approach each other. Christians need to be "professionals in reconciliation," he said. For example, he himself spoke to representatives of reform movements.

Kurzbach, on the other hand, emphasized that the current crisis is not a question of flow. "We even know of representative surveys. And they show: There is a widespread loss of trust in the bishop from the diocese, which every pastor at the base can confirm."

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