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German cardinal says liturgical abuse dobbers not welcome

Munich's Cardinal Friedrich Wetter has written an open letter making it clear that anonymous informers intent on reporting liturgical abuses will be wasting their time.

The Tablet reports that his comments follow the promulgation of the Vatican instruction on abuses in the liturgy, Redemptionis Sacramentum. The document had caused considerable anxiety in the archdiocese, he said. Some believed it encouraged Catholics to denounce practices they regarded as dubious.

"Blackening people's names, especially when the talebearer wishes to stay anonymous, will not get anyone anywhere in our archdiocese," Cardinal Wetter warned.

He spoke of "underhandedly maligning people for despicable reasons" as something a Church document could not possibly encourage, adding that the Vatican instruction had merely confirmed every Catholic's right to complain to their bishop or to the Holy See about possible abuses.

In his archdiocese anyone "who finds, or thinks they have found" that a priest is guilty of liturgical abuse, must first of all talk to the priest concerned in person, Cardinal Wetter said.

He quoted Matthew 18:15: "If another member of the Church sins against you, go and point out the fault when the two of you are alone."

People should only turn to their bishop if this was of no avail, he said.

Complaints would, moreover, only be listened to if the person lodging the complaint was prepared to reveal his or her name, and anonymous complaints would be considered null and void.

Informers 'not welcome' in Munich, says cardinal (The Tablet 22/5/04)

Archdiocese of Munich ] Cardinal Wetter

24 May 2004