German Catholic Church Holds “Penance Service” Over Sexual Abuse Scandal: “This Is A Confession Of Guilt”

Religion News Service reports:

Germany’s Roman Catholic archdiocese of Cologne held a service of penance Thursday for cases of sexual abuse by clergy, saying the ritual was not an absolution for the perpetrators but a “confession of guilt.” The German Catholic Church’s handling of sexual abuse reports has caused a crisis in Cologne, where the archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki [photo], has taken a “spiritual timeout” on the advice of Pope Francis.

The archdiocese’s interim administrator, Auxiliary Bishop Rolf Steinhaeuser, led Thursday’s service. “This service does not end with forgiveness,” Steinhaeuser said. “We cannot absolve ourselves. Nor do we ask forgiveness from those affected, to make ourselves feel better.” Rather, he said, the service was intended as a ”confession of guilt, remembrance of those affected, intercession.”

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