German Cardinal Woelki offers resignation to Pope Francis


German Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, who was criticised in the past for not publicly releasing a report on child sexual abuse, on Wednesday, offered his resignation to Pope Francis.

The pope would decide his response in due course, Woelki said.

In the meantime, he intended to return to his office as archbishop of the western city of Cologne on Wednesday after a five-month sabbatical.

The leave of absence was approved by the Vatican, which accused Woelki of serious mistakes in his handling of reports of sexual abuse in the Cologne archdiocese.

In 2020, Woelki decided not to publish an expert opinion by the law firm — Westpfahl Spilker Wastl — on the handling of allegations of sexual abuse by diocesan officials, sparking an uproar.

He cited legal reasons for not releasing the information, which he personally commissioned.

A subsequent report revealed hundreds of cases of suspected abuse in the Cologne archdiocese.


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