Vatican official who handled sex abuse cases quits two months after being accused of sex abuse

A Vatican official who handles sex-abuse instances for the Catholic Church has give up two months after being accused of sexual abuse.

On Monday, Hermann Geissler resigned from his place as chief of workers within the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion, a physique that handles self-discipline in sexual abuse instances inside the Catholic Church, in response to a press release from the Holy See’s press workplace.

Geissler maintained his innocence however mentioned he was resigning to guard the church.

“Fr. Geissler determined to take this step to restrict the harm already carried out to the Congregation and to his Neighborhood,” the workplace acknowledged.

Final yr, a former nun accused an unnamed priest of creating sexual advances towards her whereas in confessional. That girl, Doris Wagner, later recognized the priest to be Geissler, in response to the Nationwide Catholic Reporter.

Wagner shared her story at a November occasion in Rome referred to as “Overcoming Silence – Ladies’s Voices within the Abuse Disaster.” There, she talked about how she had moved from her native Germany at age 19 to hitch the spiritual group referred to as “The Work.”

On this June 29, 2017 file photograph, clouds grasp over St. Peter’s Basilica, on the Vatican.

Gregorio Borgia/AP /


In 2009, a priest requested to be assigned as Wagner’s confessor and used it to groom her for abuse, Wagner mentioned.

“He would maintain me there kneeling in entrance of him for hours, and he would inform me how a lot he preferred me and that he knew that I preferred him and though we couldn’t marry, there can be different methods,” Wagner mentioned on the occasion. “In some unspecified time in the future he would attempt to maintain me and kiss me, and I merely panicked and ran out of the room.”

Wagner mentioned she reported the conduct to her feminine superior and requested if she may have one other confessor assigned to her.

“After I instructed her, truly, I used to be extraordinarily relieved that she didn’t blame me,” Wagner mentioned. “As a substitute, she mentioned one thing like, ‘You realize, I knew Father has a sure weak spot for girls so we type of should put up with this.’ ”

Whereas talking on the Rome occasion, Wagner didn’t establish the priest, describing him on the time as solely “one other main member of the group, a priest, who to this present day is working as capo ufficio [head of the office] on the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion.”

Nonetheless, a number of information shops quickly decided she may solely be referring to Geissler, and Wagner confirmed it was him in later interviews.

Earlier this month, Wagner instructed the Nationwide Catholic Reporter that nothing a lot had occurred after she had reported Geissler in 2014 to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion, which handles sex-abuse instances inside the Catholic Church.

“I received a response that acknowledged that Fr. Geissler had admitted, and had requested pardon and was admonished,” Wagner instructed the spiritual newspaper. “And that was all.”

Wagner added it was “ridiculous” and “symbolic of the church’s angle towards perpetrators” that Geissler remained within the high-ranking place inside the church.

The Nationwide Catholic Reporter’s Vatican correspondent, Joshua McElwee, detailed why it might be significantly outrageous for no motion to be taken in opposition to somebody who had made sexual advances within the confessional:

–Solicitation within the confessional is usually thought-about very severe by the Catholic Church, which teaches that confession is a sacred alternative for devoted to acquire forgiveness for sins and reconcile with God.

–A priest propositioning somebody within the confessional is taken into account so severe that’s labeled by the Vatican as a “grave delict,” and judgment on such issues is reserved to the doctrinal congregation.

–The Code of Canon Legislation prescribes {that a} priest discovered responsible of solicitation “be punished, in response to the gravity of the delict, by suspension, prohibitions, and privations.” It specifies: “In graver instances he’s to be dismissed from the clerical state.”

On Tuesday, the Holy See press workplace mentioned Geissler maintained the accusation was unfaithful. He additionally requested the church to proceed a canonical course of it had already began to look into the allegation.

Geissler famous he reserved the suitable to take civil authorized motion.

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