BERLIN — The pope’s former diocese said Monday a priest who had been convicted of sexually abusing minors during the pontiff’s tenure as archbishop has been suspended from his pastoral duties for violating a condition he not work with youth.
The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising said in a statement it had removed a priest identified only as Rev. H. from his duties, after “it was proved he did not comply with the conditions set following allegations of sexually abusing minors and a conviction in the justice system.”
“He was forbidden from any work with children and youth,” the archdiocese said, without elaborating, but added there had been no fresh complaints against the priest since his 1986 conviction.
On Friday the archdiocese responded to a media report about allegations of sexual abuse of minors by Rev. H., that dated from 1985 — during Joseph Ratzinger tenure as Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1986.
Prelate Josef Obermaier, who was responsible for assigning the pastor to his position, serving the spiritual needs of tourists and visitors in an undisclosed location, also resigned, the archdiocese said.
The moves come as Germany’s church scrambles to respond to calls from dismayed parishioners to respond to the flood of allegations that priests sexually and physically abused minors in their care.
Dirk Taenzler, head of the BDKJ catholic youth group, told The Associated Press on Monday that he is hoping for the pope to come forward and speak on the issue, saying the nation’s Roman Catholics are appalled and worried.
“Everyone is suffering from the church’s bad image”, Taenzler said. “It is an issue in every congregation and everyone is trying to cope.”
Around 300 cases of abuse have been reported across the country so far since the first German victims came forward in January.