EArchbishop has a former employee of the HR department of the Archdiocese of Cologne Rainer Maria Cardinal Woelki heavily burdened. In an interview with the “Kölner Stadt-Anzeiger” she contradicted Woelki’s account that he was only dealt with in the fourth week of June this year with the abuse of the clergyman Winfried Pilz.
Woelki had this in August in a press law process before the Cologne district court against the Springer-Verlag affidavit. “That’s not true,” said the former assistant to the HR manager of the Archdiocese of Cologne, Hildegard Dahm, in the interview published on Tuesday evening.
At the beginning of 2015, she created a list of abusers for Woelki whose cases were “current” at the time. Among the 14 names was that of Winfried Pilz. The list was handed over to Woelki by the then HR manager during a meeting.
It could be “that he didn’t look at the sheet with mushroom and the other 13 names. But I dealt with it. Definitely,” said the former Human Resources employee. When she asked her boss after the meeting what Woelki had said about the list, the answer was: “The cardinal wasn’t interested at all.”
The existence of such a list had been known since the Cologne abuse report was published. However, the Archdiocese of Cologne claimed in August this year that Cardinal Woelki no longer remembered which names were on the list. There were doubts about this representation from the start. Because Pilz, who died in 2019, was a prominent clergyman who was known in church circles far beyond the borders of the diocese. From 2000 to 2010 he headed the Catholic charity “Die Sternsinger”.
Archdiocese only made allegations against Pilz public in June
He also made a name for himself as the author of the popular sacred song “Laudato si”. In the Archdiocese of Cologne, Pilz worked, among other things, as rector in the youth education center Haus Altenberg and diocesan youth pastor. Doubts about Woelki’s portrayal in August were further fueled. At that time it became known that a victim of abuse had already been invited by Pilz to a meeting with the Cologne cardinal in May of this year.
It was not until June 2022 that the Archdiocese of Cologne made the allegations of abuse against Pilz public. Woelki’s predecessor, Joachim Cardinal Meisner, had already fined the clergyman in 2014 after allegations of abuse and prohibited him from contact with children and young people without the presence of other adults. It turned out that the archdiocese of Cologne had breached its obligations and failed to forward this information to the diocese of Dresden-Meissen, where Pilz has been retiring since 2010.
The former assistant to the Cologne head of human resources also contradicted the statement by the Archdiocese of Cologne that Woelki no longer had to deal with the case because it had already been closed at the beginning of Woelki’s tenure in 2014. On the list she created at the beginning of January 2015, she specifically noted that Pilz had only paid one installment of his fine of 4,000 euros to the archdiocese at the time.
The statements of the former assistant to the head of human resources in the Archdiocese of Cologne also raise questions for the Cologne public prosecutor’s office. According to Woelki’s affidavit, three priests had filed criminal charges. They accuse the Cologne cardinal of having given a false affidavit. However, the Cologne public prosecutor’s office had refused to start preliminary investigations. There was no sufficient evidence for this, said her spokesman, senior public prosecutor Ulf Willuhn at the time.