(Reuters) - Germany's Catholic bishops confirmed on Tuesday they had sent a damning confidential report on a disgraced bishop to Pope Benedict to persuade him the man had to be removed from his post in Augsburg.
The confirmation of the report, leaked to the media on Monday, stuck another blow against retired Bishop Walter Mixa, whose bid to be reinstated has embarrassed a Church hierarchy still reeling from sexual abuse scandals earlier this year.
While the Mixa case involves embarrassing revelations about his sex life and drinking habits, its real damage lies in the damaging picture it shows of a Church first quietly tolerating a wayward bishop for years and then bickering over his removal.
The permanent council of the bishops conference said its members discussed "with dismay" the controversy swirling around Mixa, 69, at a meeting on Tuesday in Wuerzburg.
"They confirmed that the accusations against him that have been reported in the media were sent to Rome in April 2010." it said in a statement. "Pope Benedict then took action and accepted Bishop Mixa's resignation letter."
Mixa resigned as bishop of the Bavarian city of Augsburg in April after being accused of slapping schoolboys decades ago and misusing diocesan funds. He denied that and rejected rumours, later proven baseless, that he had abused children sexually.
Pope Benedict accepted his resignation in May, making him the first German to quit in the wave of sexual abuse scandals hitting the Church in Europe. Three Irish and one Belgian bishop have also stepped down.
Saturday, June 26, 2010