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German bishop accused of sex abuse quits "for Good of the Church"

Pope John Paul II accepted the resignation of Auxiliary Bishop Franziskus Eisenbach of Mainz, Germany, who had been accused by a woman of sexual abuse.

Bishop Eisenbach has maintained all along that he is innocent, and the Vatican has stressed that the bishop's resignation does not mean he is guilty.

In September 2000, a court dismissed the accusations of Professor Anne Baeumer-Schleinkofer, and the Vatican Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith began its own investigation of the accusations.

A press statement released yesterday by Cardinals Joseph Ratzinger and Giovanni Battista Re, said that the results of the investigation were presented to the ordinary assembly of cardinals of the doctrine congregation.

"After diligent pondering of the case, the assembly decided to request the bishop to resign his ministry," the statement explains. "The Holy Father approved this decision in an audience granted to the secretary of the congregation on March 1, 2002, and on March 20 the prefects of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and for Bishops personally transmitted this decision to Bishop Eisenbach during a conversation."

"The fact that the bishop resigned from his post cannot be interpreted as a confession of guilt," Cardinals Ratzinger and Re emphasized in their statement. Rather, it is a decision made "for the good of the Church and the clarity of its witness," they said.

Cardinal Karl Lehmann of Mainz, president of the German episcopal conference, lamented Bishop Eisenbach's resignation, calling it a "grave loss" for his diocese.


17 Apr 2002