Cologne: Auxiliary Bishop Ansgar Puff is also on leave

Cologne – The quake in the Archdiocese of Cologne continues!

On Friday, Auxiliary Bishop Ansgar Puff (65) asked Cologne Archbishop Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki (64) for his leave of absence.

In the abuse report presented on Thursday by the Cologne lawyer Björn Gercke, a former head of the “Pastoral Care Personnel Department” was named without a name. This should also have committed a breach of duty. This former head of department is the current Auxiliary Bishop Ansgar Puff.

According to the report, it is a violation of the duty to provide information.

Literally it says: “According to the files made available, about 11 reports of suspicion of sexual abuse of minors and wards were received in the Archdiocese of Cologne during his term of office.”

Puff asked Cardinal Woelki to give him a leave of absence until the circumstances were clarified. “He does this to enable a proper assessment of the breach of duty named in the report of the Gercke Wollschläger law firm,” says a message from the archdiocese.

Puff recently drew criticism with a video on the Cologne diocese portal “Domradio”. In the article he presented the critical media coverage of bishops as a campaign and made comparisons with Donald Trump and Nazi Propaganda Minister Joseph Goebbels. Later an apology followed. The chairman of the German Association of Journalists (DJV), Frank Überall, had said that putting legitimate reporting by professional media in line with Goebbels and the former US President was “an attack on professional journalists in Germany”.

In the criticism: Hamburg’s Archbishop Stefan Heße

Photo: Axel Heimken / dpa

On Thursday, the Cologne auxiliary bishop Dominikus Schwaderlapp and the Hamburg archbishop Stefan Heße (54) – formerly head of personnel in Cologne – offered the Pope their resignation. The experts had also accused them of breach of duty.

On behalf of Woelki, they examined how those responsible for the largest German diocese had dealt with allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests from 1975 to 2018.


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