Pope Benedict XVI accepts resignation of his close friend Bishop Walter Mixa in sex probe

Pope accepts resignation of German bishop in sex probe

bishop-walter-mixa
Bishop Walter Mixa

(Reuters) – Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday accepted the resignation of a German bishop who has been accused of sexually abusing minors, the latest in a string of Roman Catholic prelates forced to resign over an abuse scandal.

A Vatican statement said the pope agreed Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg in Bavaria should step down. He became the first bishop to quit in the pontiff’s native Germany over the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Church in several European countries and the United States.

In recent weeks, a Belgian bishop resigned after admitting he had sexually abused a boy and three Irish bishops quit over their handling of sexual abuse cases.

German prosecutors and church officials said on Friday authorities were investigating accusations of sexual abuse by Mixa, who had already offered to step down after being accused of hitting children.

A spokesman for the diocese of Eichstaett said the accusations referred to a time between 1996 and 2000 when Mixa was bishop of Eichstaett, which like Augsburg is in predominantly Catholic Bavaria.

The Augsburg diocese said it had provided information to prosecutors after a meticulous examination of the accusations.

The Augsburger Allgemeine newspaper reported, without naming its sources, that Mixa was accused of abusing a boy while bishop of Eichstaett.

Mixa’s lawyer, Gerhard Decker, has denied the accusations against the 69-year old bishop, who also faces allegations of financial misconduct, and said Mixa would work with prosecutors to clear up the matter.

Mixa wrote to the pope in April to offer his resignation, after denying for weeks that he had hit children in the 1970s and 1980s before later admitting he had slapped them. Some victims say he hit them with full force in the face.

The accusations against Mixa revealed on Friday were the first made of sexual abuse. He had previously asked for forgiveness from those he says he may have slighted.

A survey published last month found a quarter of Germany’s Catholics were considering leaving the church over the abuse allegations, the greatest crisis in Benedict’s five-year pontificate.

Belgian bishops concluded a week-long visit to the Vatican on Saturday with a rare press conference in which they spoke of the pain caused by the scandal which led to the resignation last month of the bishop of Bruges, Roger Vangheluwe.

He stepped down after admitting he had sexually abused a boy when in charge of the diocese of Bruges, the first such case to be made public in Belgium — although a church commission said it was investigating about 20 other allegations of sex abuse.

The Pope briefly referred to the case in his speech to the Belgian bishops, saying their church had been “tested by sin.”

(Reporting by Silvia Aloisi; Editing by Myra MacDonald)

Source: Reuters

Related information:

Belgium: Top Catholic Bishop Resigns Over Child Sexual Abuse (Times)

Database of Catholic Priests Publicly Accused of Sexual Abuse in the US (BishopAccountability.org)

Illinois man is suing the Vatican and Pope Benedict XVI for covering up sexual abuse (CNN)

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Catholic Church is ‘like the Mafia’ (The Telegraph)

Cardinal Praised Bishop’s Silence Over Paedophile Priest (BBC NEWS)

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Belgian Bishops Failed To Punish Over 300 Paedophilia Complaints (AFP)

Connecticut Catholic Bishops Fight Sex Abuse Bill (CNN)

Richard Dawkins plans to arrest Pope Benedict XVI during his state visit to Britain ‘for crimes against humanity’ (Times)

Catholic Priest Raped Teenage Boy At Gunpoint (My San Antonio)

Norway Catholic Church Computer Server Crashed By Flood Of Pedophile Priests Abuse Claims (AFP)

Pope John Paul II Blocked Inquiry of Paedophile Cardinal Friend Who Abused 2,000 boys (Times)

Ireland Archbishop Stunned by Archbishop of Canterbury’s Criticism of Catholic Church (Times)

Pope Benedict XVI’s personal preacher: Abuse critique like anti-Semitism (AP)

ABC Nightline: What the Pope Knew About Father Maciel (ABC NEWS)

Pope Benedict Appointed Bishop Accused of Ritually Beating Orphaned Children (The Raw Story)

40% of Americans view Pope Benedict XVI favorably (Gallup)

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Germany’s Catholic Church sexual abuse hotline received 1,000 calls the first day (Digital Journal)

Austrian Catholic Church Abuse Hot Lines Log 566 Reports This Year (Austrian Independent)

Australian Bishop says ‘vast amount’ of sexual abuse cases yet to emerge (Sydney Morning Herald)

Deaf Boys Tried to Tell of Priest’s Abuse FOR YEARS (New York Times)

Christopher Hitchens Slams Vatican, Pope Over Sex Abuse Scandal (Huffington Post)

The Pope Is Not Above the Law (Slate)

Sex Abuse Victims to Sue Vatican (Times)

Pope Benedict Signals Won’t Be Intimidated By Abuse Critics, Uses Popemobile For First Time On A Palm Sunday (New York Times/AFP)

Vatican knew of abuse in Ontario: Victim (Toronto Star)

Pope failed to defrock an American priest who molested hundreds of deaf boys, despite receiving letters from American bishops pleading with him to act (Times)

A church sex scandal where the truth is crucified (Toronto Star)

Sinead O’Connor: ‘There Should Be A Full Criminal Investigation Of The Pope’ (LA Times)

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Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests (Flashback):

Former Milwaukee Archbishop Rembert Weakland routinely shredded copies of weekly reports about sexual abuse by priests, according to formerly sealed testimony turned over to Milwaukee County’s district attorney on Thursday.

Swiss Catholic Church Investigating 10 Abuse Cases (Reuters)

Irish Catholic Church Paid Child Sex Abuse Victim To Keep Quiet (Guardian)

Catholic Church Child Abuse: Nuns Now Also Accused (Radio Netherlands Worldwide)

Church: Pope Had Role in Moving Molesting Priest (Bloomberg)

Pope knew priest was paedophile but allowed him to continue with ministry (Times)

Pope will struggle to survive abuse scandal (Irish Independent)

Benedict’s involvement ’shows extent of cover-ups’ (Irish Independent)

Sinead O’Connor: I’d help Jesus to burn down the Vatican (Irish Independent)

RIGHTS-GERMANY: ‘Catholic Church Protects Paedophile Priests’ (IPS)

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