Pope accepts resignation of German bishop accused of abusing minors

The Associated Press ~ staff The News
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Pope Benedict XVI on Saturday accepted the resignation of a leading bishop from his German homeland who is accused of abusing children and possible financial misconduct at a children's home.
Augsburg Bishop Walter Mixa, an outspoken conservative voice in the German church and a military chaplain for Germany, has admitted slapping children decades ago when he was a priest.
But the pressure on him to step down increased on Friday, when German officials said prosecutors were investigating him over what an Augsburg area paper said was an alleged case of sexual abuse.
The terse Vatican announcement on Saturday cited no reason for accepting the resignation of Mixa, who offered to step down two weeks ago amid persistent allegations that he hit children while a priest decades ago and of financial irregularities at a children's home. The statement simply said that Mixa's resignation was accepted under a canon law regulation that allows a bishop to go if he has become "unfit" for service.
Mixa is the latest in a line of churchmen to be toppled as the Vatican reels from allegations that bishops and other church hierarchy systematically covered up physical or sexual abuse of minors in several European countries. In some cases, like that of Mixa, bishops have themselves been accused of committing the abuse.
Mixa's attorney was quoted by the Augsburger Allgemeine on Friday as saying the bishop "resolutely denied" the allegations of alleged sexual abuse.
German prosecutors have declined to give details.
In the earlier allegations, which prompted Mixa to offer to step down and ask forgiveness of "those whom I may have caused heartache," the bishop was accused of hitting children.
He initially denied ever using violence against youngsters but later, after intense pressure, said he may have slapped children.
The case, coming in the country of Benedict's birth and involving a prelate who was a key member of Germany's bishops conference for more than a decade, was particularly embarrassing for the German church and German faithful, who, church authorities say, have been leaving in droves since abuse allegations started surfacing in recent months.
Benedict on Saturday met at the Vatican with bishops from Belgium, where the church has also been rocked by recent allegations of abuse by priests and clumsy, slow handling of the cases by the bishops.
Churches in the Netherlands, Switzerland, Austria and even in Nordic countries, where Catholics are a small minority, have been grappling with a steady stream of abuse allegations.
The latest scandals followed Benedict's scathing blame earlier this year of Irish bishops, after a government-led probe of church abuse in heavily Catholic Ireland turned up decades of systematic sexual and physical abuse of children in parishes, orphanages, schools and workhouses by priests, brothers and nuns, and coverups by church hierarchy.

Organizations: Nordic

Geographic location: Vatican, Germany, Belgium Netherlands Switzerland Austria

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Recent comments

  • Steve
    July 02, 2010 - 13:31

    At least this is a start!

    Not to many years back this guy probably would have been promoted to the Vatican.

  • Margaret
    July 02, 2010 - 13:27

    The Pope himself should resign, and no future Popes should be elected.
    Mere words cannot describe how utterly disappointed and furious I feel because, growing up as a strict Catholic, we were taught that the Pope was next to God because he was God's representative on earth. The previous Pope (who most of the world thought was a pious saint) knew what was going on and did absolutely nothing about it, except transfer these criminals somewhere else, thus, allowing the innocent young boys to continue to be victimized and traumatized, and their lives ruined. At least this German Bishop did resign; too little, too late, though.
    The Roman Catholic Church is one of the weathiest crime organizations in the world (not representing God, as they were ordained to be doing) They should be abolished. God sure doesn't need them anymore. Needless to say, I am no longer a Catholic.

  • David
    July 02, 2010 - 13:21

    That is what we call taking one for the team.

    His reward will no doubt come long before he shows up at the Pearly Gates.

  • Political Watcher
    July 02, 2010 - 13:18

    That is a start but until the Pope himself accepts blame and resigns then I see nothing changing.

  • Steve
    July 01, 2010 - 20:20

    At least this is a start!

    Not to many years back this guy probably would have been promoted to the Vatican.

  • Margaret
    July 01, 2010 - 20:15

    The Pope himself should resign, and no future Popes should be elected.
    Mere words cannot describe how utterly disappointed and furious I feel because, growing up as a strict Catholic, we were taught that the Pope was next to God because he was God's representative on earth. The previous Pope (who most of the world thought was a pious saint) knew what was going on and did absolutely nothing about it, except transfer these criminals somewhere else, thus, allowing the innocent young boys to continue to be victimized and traumatized, and their lives ruined. At least this German Bishop did resign; too little, too late, though.
    The Roman Catholic Church is one of the weathiest crime organizations in the world (not representing God, as they were ordained to be doing) They should be abolished. God sure doesn't need them anymore. Needless to say, I am no longer a Catholic.

  • David
    July 01, 2010 - 20:04

    That is what we call taking one for the team.

    His reward will no doubt come long before he shows up at the Pearly Gates.

  • Political Watcher
    July 01, 2010 - 20:00

    That is a start but until the Pope himself accepts blame and resigns then I see nothing changing.