German senior bishop resigns amidst 'secret file' controversy
GERMANY'S Catholic bishops confirmed yesterday that a secret file detailing alleged sexual misconduct by one of the country's most senior prelates was sent to the Vatican before the Pope accepted his resignation in May.
Germany's 27 bishops said in a written statement following a meeting that they had discussed the Rev Walter Mixa's case "with great unease" and had decided to "confirm that accusations now made public in the media have been passed on to Rome in April 2010".
"Pope Benedict XVI has acted on this and accepted the offer of resignation of Bishop Mixa," they said.
The bishops did not specify which accusations they were referring to and the bishops' conference spokesman Matthias Kopp refused to comment.
But the statement came the day after German media widely reported that the secret file contains allegations that Mixa, 69, is an alcoholic and that two priests claim Mixa made sexual advances toward them.
Bishop Mixa offered his resignation April 22 after accusations surfaced that he hit children decades ago as a priest, as well as allegations of financial misconduct in his former congregation. Bishop Mixa's lawyer Gerhard Decker did not return calls when contacted last night.
The bishops conference's statement is the latest twist in the unusually public controversy surrounding the high-profile prelate's exit.
On May 7, public prosecutors launched an investigation into sexual abuse allegations that was dropped a week later for lack of evidence. The pope accepted Bishop Mixa's resignation on May 8.
Last week Bishop Mixa told Germany's 'Die Welt' newspaper he was forced by his peers to sign the letter of resignation, that he repealed the offer three day later and that it was based on the sexual abuse claim that was later dropped.
The Munich archdiocese reacted by saying the resignation was appropriately handled and that it wished Bishop Mixa "a continuing good recovery".
It did not elaborate on what Bishop Mixa was recovering from, but said "his time in a psychiatric clinic was an important first step".