Statue of a deceased Cardinal removed due to allegations of sexual abuse in Berlin (Germany)

Berlin (Germany) – A statue of Franz Hengsbach, the cardinal accused of sexually abusing a minor girl 72 years ago, has been removed from Essen Cathedral (the church that houses the main priest) in Berlin. The statue was installed in 2011, while the cardinal died in 1991. Cases of sexual abuse by him are coming to light now.

Essen Cathedral said that Franz was suspected of sexually abusing a 16-year-old girl in the 1950s. Another woman also alleged that Franz sexually abused her in 1967. Franz was a bishop (senior priest) at the time. He held this position for the next 33 years. In 2011, the Vatican had said, ‘The accusations against Franz do not seem justified’. Current bishop Joseph said that in 2011 the accusations were made against Franz, but proper investigation was not carried out then.

(Cardinal is a priest of the highest rank in the Roman Catholic Church. Cardinals elect and advise the Pope.)

Editorial Perspective

From this incident, it seems imperative to investigate how many dead or living priests have been accused of sexual abuse.