Unexpected resignation

As in other countries, the Church in Germany also suffers under the abuse crisis. One of the men in the centre of attention is Bishop Walter Mixa of Augsburg and the German military. Accusations against him do not deal with sexual abuse, but physical violence. Bishop Mixa has admitted having sometimes slapped pupils under his authority when he was a priest in a childrens’ home in Schrobenhausen between 1975 and 1996. He also said that an occasional slap was not considered abnormal at the time, something which will hold some truth. His accusers, however, talk of serious beatings they received, although Bishop Mixa claims not to know at least one of said accusers.

In a rather unexpected move, Bishop Mixa has now offered his resignation to the pope. Such resignations are usually always accepted. Why do I find this unexpected? Well, I was under the impression that Bishop Mixa was quite adamant about the inaccuracy of the allegations against him. But his resignation is perhaps understandable for the good of the Church in his diocese and in Germany as a whole. He has, rightly or not, become controversial.

But this affair also points to a disturbing trend: judging past events by modern standards. Slapping children in school is nowadays not done, and rightly so. In the past, and a fairly recent past at that, that was different. Of course, regular beatings are always unacceptable, at whatever time they happened. But a clip around the head is surely something different?


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