Disgraced German bishop promises no more trouble

23rd June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A former German bishop said Wednesday he was sticking to his decision to stand down over abuse allegations and promised to stop accusing senior Church figures of plotting against him.

A joint statement from Walter Mixa, 69, and the diocese of Augsburg in southern Germany said the former bishop's "resignation and the conditions surrounding it will no longer be questioned."

"Dr. Mixa will make no more accusations and hold no one responsible for the pressure that he felt when he signed his letter of resignation."

A planned meeting with the German-born Pope Benedict XVI would still go ahead, at which Mixa has undertaken not to question his resignation, however, the statement added.

Mixa, who was also bishop of the German military, at first rebuffed allegations that he beat children and youths at a Catholic orphanage between 1975 and 1996 but later confessed and tendered his resignation in April.

The pope subsequently accepted his resignation but Mixa then alleged this month that senior Catholic figures including Robert Zollitsch, Germany's top archbishop, had pressured the pontiff to do so behind Mixa's back.

He had also said that he would seek rehabilitation from the pope, and accused these people of giving background briefings to the media about the sexual abuse allegations that have since been dropped by prosecutors.

Like other European countries, Germany has been rocked in recent months by revelations that hundreds of children were physically or sexually abused in institutions, the vast majority Catholic-run.

The scandal has badly damaged the standing of the Church in Germany, as well as the pope's, five years after his appointment as leader of the world's 1.1 billion Catholics was a source of great national pride.

© 2010 AFP

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