The process of dealing with sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Cologne cost around 2.8 million euros, according to the Catholic Church. This includes two legal reports, but also expenses for financial advice, as the diocese announced on Saturday. This list for the period from 2019 to 2021 has now been submitted to the Church Tax and Economic Council. The committee decides on financial and property issues in the diocese. The “Bild” had previously reported about it.
The two legal reports on behalf of Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki reportedly cost a good 1.27 million euros. In addition, 588,000 euros were incurred for “further legal advice” and just under 820,000 euros for “crisis advice”. Delegate Markus Hofmann, who presented the figures, spoke of the fact that with the processing, legal and journalistic “new territory” had been broken. “That was a painful and expensive process.”
Cardinal Woelki had initially commissioned an expert opinion on how diocese officials dealt with allegations of abuse. In 2020 he decided not to publish it for the time being. He gave legal reasons for this. Instead, he issued a new report on behalf of the company. This approach triggered a wave of church resignations. Woelki himself was not incriminated in either of the two reports. Pope Francis, however, came to the conclusion that Woelki had made “serious mistakes” in communication. The archbishop stayed in office, but is currently taking a break of several months.
According to the announcement, delegate Hofmann reminded of the events surrounding the first report on Saturday. This resulted in an “exceptional media situation” that could no longer be handled without external help. He regrets the high costs. However, they were not paid from church tax funds, but from a “special fund” that was formed in the square through fees from clerics from a long period of time. (dpa)