Pope accepts resignation of German bishop in abuse, molestation probe

(above) Bishop Walter Mixa

Via Reuters:

Pope Benedict on Saturday accepted the resignation of a German bishop who has been accused of sexually abusing minors, the latest in a string of Roman Catholic prelates forced to resign over an abuse scandal. 

A Vatican statement said the pope agreed Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg in Bavaria should step down. He became the first bishop to quit in the pontiff’s native Germany over the child abuse scandal that has rocked the Church in several European countries and the United States. In recent weeks, a Belgian bishop resigned after admitting he had sexually abused a boy and three Irish bishops quit over their handling of sexual abuse cases. German prosecutors and church officials said on Friday authorities were investigating accusations of sexual abuse by Mixa, who had already offered to step down after being accused of hitting children…

Mixa wrote to the pope in April to offer his resignation, after denying for weeks that he had hit children in the 1970s and 1980s before later admitting he had slapped them. Some victims say he hit them with full force in the face.

The accusations against Mixa revealed on Friday were the first made of sexual abuse. He had previously asked for forgiveness from those he says he may have slighted.

A survey published last month found a quarter of Germany’s Catholics were considering leaving the church over the abuse allegations, the greatest crisis in Benedict’s five-year pontificate.

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