Pope orders visitation of Archdiocese of Cologne

By Catholic News Service
Wednesday, June 2, 2021

COLOGNE, Germany — Pope Francis has ordered an apostolic visitation “to obtain a comprehensive picture of the complex pastoral situation” in the Archdiocese of Cologne and to investigate how accusations of clerical sexual abuse were handled, the Vatican nuncio to Germany announced.

The pope asked Swedish Cardinal Anders Arborelius of Stockholm and Dutch Bishop Johannes van den Hende of Rotterdam to carry out the visitation, which includes onsite visits in the first half of June, the note said.

In a short statement posted on the archdiocesan website, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, head of the archdiocese, said he had spoken to Pope Francis in February about tensions in the archdiocese over both the handling of allegations of clerical sexual abuse in the diocese and the cardinal’s decision not to publish a report from a Munich law firm about how accusations were dealt with. Instead, the cardinal commissioned a new report from a Cologne criminal lawyer and released it in March. The report cleared Cardinal Woelki of wrongdoing.

“I will fully support Cardinal Arborelius and Bishop van den Hende in their work,” Cardinal Woelki said in his statement May 28, adding that he welcomes anything that would clarify the current situation.


  • pope francis
  • clergy sexual abuse

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