German church urges quick decision on divisive archbishop

The head of the German Bishops’ Conference on Monday pressed for a quick decision from Pope Francis on the future of a prominent archbishop who faces strong criticism for his handling of the church’s sexual abuse scandal.

Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, the archbishop of Cologne, said that he had offered his resignation to the pontiff after returning from a month-long “spiritual timeout” last week.

The conservative Woelki has become a deeply divisive figure in the German church after triggering a public furore over his handling of reports on how church officials in his archdiocese dealt with abuse cases.

In September, the Vatican said that Francis had decided to give him the timeout after he made what it termed “major errors” of communication.

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