During their visit to the Vatican, German bishops pointed out to Pope Francis the burden of uncertainty in the case of Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki. “It was made very clear that the situation in the archdiocese is becoming increasingly unbearable, including for the archbishop,” said the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference (DBK), Georg Bätzing, on Saturday in Rome. The decision that has been pending for months on how to proceed with Woelki in Cologne is a burden on Catholics in Germany.
Bätzing pointed out that Francis wanted to make the decision himself. But the pressure is increasing and “cannot be endured any longer,” said the DBK boss. The head of the Catholic Church made his position clear at the meeting with DBK representatives, but did not say if, when and how he wanted to make a decision.
The cardinal has been criticized for dealing with cases of abuse. Criminal investigations against the 66-year-old have recently been launched. The allegation of false affidavit, which Woelki rejects, is being investigated.
Francis had already ordered the man from Cologne to take a break of several months last year. A request for Woelki’s resignation is with the pontifex in Rome, who could accept it at any time.
More than 60 bishops traveled to Rome for the regular mandatory ad limina visit, which usually occurs every five years. In the Vatican they met heads of important authorities of the Holy See in addition to the Pope.