Situation untenable: Hamburg vicar-general wants new bishop

Hamburg action from Vatican

The vicar-general of the archdiocese of Hamburg has urged the Vatican to break its five-month silence.

Pope Francis granted Archbishop of Hamburg Stephan Hesse leave of absence at the end of March.

The leave came after Hesse offered his resignation over the mismanagement of sexual abuse cases in his previous diocese, Cologne.

Vicar-general Ansgar Thim has been handling the archdiocesan administration in Hamburg.

On 12 August, he stated the situation in the archdiocese has become untenable and demanded speedy clarification from the Vatican.

The Hamburg archdiocese had earlier declared that it sincerely hoped that “the Vatican will not delay in reaching a decision.”

The archdiocese expected that the Pope would accept Archbishop Hesse’s resignation, the declaration said.

“I am not shirking responsibility. But, I would like to send out a clear signal to all those at home and abroad that things cannot go on like this,” Thim wrote in a letter to the members of all the Hamburg archdiocesan councils.

There had been no further reaction from the Vatican as to how things should continue in the archdiocese since Pope Francis granted Hesse leave of absence, Thim explained.

Hesse, therefore, remained as archbishop and the see was not vacant.

Meanwhile, in New Zealand, the diocese of Palmerston North is still waiting for a bishop to replace Charles Drennan, nearly 2 years after his resignation.

A spokesman for the Catholic Church said Pope Francis appointed all bishops, and there was no timeframe for the appointment.


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