Cologne (dpa) - Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki from Cologne wants to make the abuse report withheld by him "accessible to interested individuals, especially those affected or journalists".

The Archdiocese of Cologne announced on Friday evening that this should be done after the publication of the new report commissioned by him “within the legally possible framework”.

Woelki had originally commissioned the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl to provide an expert opinion.

The office should investigate the way the archdiocese dealt with allegations of sexual abuse of children and young people by priests.

After the law firm had completed the report, Woelki decided not to publish it.

To this end, he cited legal concerns and referred to the advice of lawyers who were called in, who blamed the expert opinion on methodological deficiencies.

The law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl rejected this.

Instead, Woelki commissioned a Cologne criminal lawyer to draw up a new expert report.

It should be ready in March.

Woelki's decision triggered a deep crisis in the largest German diocese.

Woelki is confronted with the charge of wanting to protect high Catholic officials who are incriminated in the original report.

It has already been leaked that the experts from Westpfahl Spilker Wastl are critical of the role of today's Archbishop of Hamburg, Stefan Heße - formerly head of personnel in Cologne.

Like Woelki, Heße has denied all allegations.

Westpfahl Spilker Wastl has now published a similar report for the diocese of Aachen and has received a lot of public praise for it.


Press release Archdiocese of Cologne