Disgraced German bishop says stabbed in the back

16th June 2010, Comments 0 comments

A disgraced former German bishop who resigned for hitting orphans Wednesday accused senior Church figures of plotting against him and said he would 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 told the German daily Die Welt in an interview.

He added Zollitsch and Reinhard Marx, head of the Bavarian bishops' conference, used as a "trump" with the pope "baseless" accusations -- since dropped by prosecutors -- the 69-year-old had also sexually abused a minor.

Mixa also accused senior Church figures of giving "background briefings" to the press about the sexual abuse allegations before first speaking to him about them.

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.

"He (the pope) invited me to talk to him," Mixa told Die Welt.

"I definitely want in some way to become active again in pastoral duties."

The Vatican on Tuesday declined to comment on whether such a meeting was scheduled to take place.

In common with 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 run by the Roman Catholic Church.

The scandal has badly damaged the standing of the Church in Germany, and also of the German-born pope, 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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