Disgraced German bishop says betrayed by Church

16th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A disgraced former German bishop who resigned for hitting orphans accused senior Church figures Wednesday of plotting against him and vowed to seek rehabilitation when he meets the pope in July.

Walter Mixa, former bishop of Augsburg whose resignation was accepted by German-born Pope Benedict XVI last month, said that Robert Zollitsch, Germany's top archbishop, and others "should have been more brotherly."

"They could have advised me to take some time out until all the accusations could be properly investigated. Instead they ran to the pope," Mixa, 69, told the German daily Die Welt in an interview.

He added that Zollitsch and Reinhard Marx, head of the Bavarian bishops conference, tried to persuade the the pope using "baseless" accusations -- since dropped by prosecutors -- that he had also sexually abused a minor.

Mixa also accused senior Roman Catholic Church authorities of giving background briefings to the media about the sexual abuse allegations before first speaking to him about them.

Vatican spokesman Federico Lombardi said Wednesday it was unlikely that the pope would reinstate Mixa.

"I wouldn't expect that the pope would rescind the resignation," Lombardi told AFP.

Mixa told Die Welt the pope had suggested a meeting in July, when "I can personally explain the situation once again."

Lombardi confirmed that the two would meet "in the coming weeks."

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.

"I definitely want in some way to become active again in pastoral duties," he told Die Welt.

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, a source of great national pride.

© 2010 AFP

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