Maike Hickson

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German bishop accused by priest of covering up abuse cases to attend Youth Synod

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September 19, 2018 (LifeSiteNews) – Bishop Felix Genn of Münster has now been accused by one of his priests, Father Paul Spätling, of having covered up several sex abuse cases. Father Spätling also accuses Genn of trying to cover-up the cover-ups of his predecessor, Bishop Reinhard Lettmann. Bishop Genn will be participating in October at the Youth Synod in Rome. 

LifeSiteNews obtained a copy of the original letter in German as written on 9 September to Cardinal Reinhard Marx – the President of the German Bishops' Conference. Father Spätling is a priest of St. Christophorus parish in Emmerich, Germany. Gloria.tv first reported on this story. 

At the beginning of his letter, Father Spätling quotes Bishop Genn's own 5 September 2018 words in response to the sex abuse crisis in Germany, insisting that these clerical crimes “also have been, and are still, being covered up by Church representatives.”

The priest adds that “Bishop Genn himself is covering up!” –  “the deeds of his predecessor.” Spätling also insists that “the cover-up itself is already a crime” and even points to Pope Francis himself “who knew about McCarrick since 2013.”

“Also the Pope covered up and continues to do so,” adds the priest. “He refuses to make a statement; he who blocks like this is hardly self-critical. That is clericalism!” exclaims the priest.  Spätling also accuses the Bavarian Bishop Stefan Oster of trying to white-wash the Pope. 

“Bishop Genn should, however, be so honest as to name the cover-ups of his predecessor [Bishop Lettmann].”  Spätling continues his letter to Cardinal Marx. “After all, his predecessor Bishop Lettmann had for about ten years as the priestly head of the Borromäum [the seminary of Münster] a homosexual who has finally and publicly acknowledged his homosexual boyfriend. And then we should be astonished that the numbers of priests [in formation] nearly go down to zero?,” the priest asks.

As Spätling recounts, there was once a sexual abuse case in his own family which took place in the year 1973. The crime was committed by a chaplain. The father of the abused child made a report to the Diocese, and the then-Bishop Lettmann promised to punish that chaplain. Instead, Lettmann promoted that chaplain a few months later so that he could become the pastor of a parish in Obermörmter. “That was the 'punishment'. Our family was outraged.”

Spätling also speaks about another priest, Eugen Psiuk, who had come to Bishop Lettmann in the 1980s from Berlin (under Cardinal Joachim Meisner) and who was then incardinated in the Diocese of Münster.  Psiuk then worked in Münster at the Ecclesial Tribunal. According to the report, Psiuk is said to have “homosexually abused” a boy in Berlin whom he then led to the priesthood. However, that victim was later to be laicized. It was Cardinal Meisner who had, regrettably, a few years later – “as a sort of compensation” – incardinated in his Archdiocese of Cologne a pastor – Father A. – from the Diocese of Münster (St.  Bonifatius, Moers) who had been caught in flagranti in Duisburg, in the area where young boys offer themselves as prostitutes. This priest was imprisoned for his deed “for several years,” explains the priest. Afterward, he became the pastor of a parish in Cologne where he was again in contact with boys – and “As if nothing had happened,” as Father  Spätling comments.

Nearly ten years ago, Father Spätling informed Bishop Genn about all these events, according to his current letter. But only now, Genn shows himself as a man seeking the clearing-up of abuse cases. 

Spätling criticizes Genn for using the term “clericalism,” instead of pointing to practiced homosexuality as the root problem of abuse cases.

“Bishop Genn should rather say in public that practiced homosexuality is gravely sinful. Why does he not accuse the Homosexual Lobby in the state and in the government up to the highest ranking government positions?”

The priest also warns against the ideological infiltration into the kindergartens where “the souls of children are already being crippled” with the “genderism.” Spätling calls this method “an indoctrination that is worse than in the best times of Communism.”

“The young generation grows up incapable of life and of love, incapable of having a family,” he adds, and then asks: “Is this God's mandate?” And “no bishop opens his mouth.” “That is clericalism,” says the German priest, “to stew in one's own juice.”

Father Spätling concludes his passionate letter with a historical reference to Blessed Cardinal Clemens August von Galen, the Bishop of Münster and the German prelate who courageously fought against National-Socialism. “What would Cardinal von Galen do today! He would not be silent. This lion! For that, we Catholics are waiting.”

Father Spätling is known for his outspokenness. In August of this year, he sharply criticized Bishop Genn for playing down the Islamization of Germany and for having displayed on top of his cathedral's door an Islamic greeting. In 2015, Bishop Genn put an interdict upon this priest not to preach, and only because he had participated at an anti-immigration demonstration. Genn later revoked that interdict, however, after the Vatican had ruled that Father Spätling's punishment had been unjustly disproportionate.

LifeSiteNews reached out to several sources who were close to the now-deceased Cardinal Joachim Meisner, one of the four dubia cardinals. One source who knew Cardinal Meisner intimately and closely, comments as follows. “Everything that helps the finding of truth should, in my eyes, now come out. We do not need to spare anyone.”

This well-informed source explains that “years ago, many people were also much more naïve concerning these matters [of sexual abuse] which in truth often had the power of an atomic bomb in the womb.” “A man like Cardinal Meisner was perhaps also simply too credulous and too trusting when there was such a pig priest who promised him faithfully that such assaults would never happen again, and that he then transferred him.” The source concludes, saying that “in this respect, we are, thanks be to God, today much more awake and realistic and experienced, in order to be able to assess such empty promises.” 

LifeSiteNews shall update this report, should other sources come forth with regard to Cardinal Meisner.

Note: Follow LifeSite's new Catholic twitter account to stay up to date on all Church-related news. Click here: @LSNCatholic

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Maike Hickson

Dr. Maike Hickson was born and raised in Germany. She holds a PhD from the University of Hannover, Germany, after having written in Switzerland her doctoral dissertation on the history of Swiss intellectuals before and during World War II. She now lives in the U.S. and is married to Dr. Robert Hickson, and they have been blessed with two beautiful children. She is a happy housewife who likes to write articles when time permits.

Dr. Hickson published in 2014 a Festschrift, a collection of some thirty essays written by thoughtful authors in honor of her husband upon his 70th birthday, which is entitled A Catholic Witness in Our Time.

Hickson has closely followed the papacy of Pope Francis and the developments in the Catholic Church in Germany, and she has been writing articles on religion and politics for U.S. and European publications and websites such as LifeSiteNews, OnePeterFive, The Wanderer, Rorate Caeli, Catholicism.org, Catholic Family News, Christian Order, Notizie Pro-Vita, Corrispondenza Romana, Katholisches.info, Der Dreizehnte,  Zeit-Fragen, and Westfalen-Blatt.