Cologne (dpa) - The Cologne Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki has admitted errors in the processing of the allegations of sexual abuse against Catholic priests.

"We made mistakes, we lost trust, I understand the impatience," said Woelki in an interview with the "Kölnische Rundschau" (Thursday).

But they are about to be cleared up.

Woelki was criticized, among other things, because of his reluctance to give an opinion.

"We'll explain, I will keep my promise," he said now.

Nevertheless, he could only ask for patience until March 18.

On that day, criminal lawyer Björn Gercke should present the expert opinion commissioned by the archdiocese on how to deal with cases of abuse.

This will be "not the end point, but the starting point for further clarification," assured Woelki.

The archbishopric had initially commissioned another law firm, Westphal Spilker Wastl (WSW) in Munich, with an expert opinion, but then decided not to publish this work due to legal concerns.

Woelki said he was still not familiar with the WSW report.

Experts asked by the Archdiocese to examine it, however, see “serious methodological deficiencies and violations of personal and expressive rights”.


Gercke, on the other hand, identified and processed 236 cases - more processes than were shown in a study presented in 2018 by the German Bishops' Conference for the Archdiocese.

The opinion of the WSW law firm, however, only considered 15 cases.

Woelki: "Gercke's report will be technically clean and make it possible to keep my promise: We will name those responsible."

He stands by the word of those affected, said the cardinal.

The lawyer Wastl had previously sharply criticized Woelki's reluctance to submit his abuse report.

© dpa-infocom, dpa: 210204-99-296024 / 2