Youth and new evangelisation as Augsburg gains an auxiliary

As the slow generational shift progresses among the bishops of Europe, the Diocese of Augsburg in Germany gains an auxiliary bishop who will be the youngest in all of northwestern Europe, and the 12th youngest worldwide. 42-year-old Bishop elect Florian Wörner will join ordinary Bishop Konrad Zdarsa and fellow auxiliary Bishop Anton Losinger in the Augsburger curia.

Born in 1970, in the far southern Bavarian town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, the bishop elect has most recently been serving as cathedral administrator of the Cathedral of the Visitation of Our Lady and the Most Sacred Heart of Jesus.

Ordained in 1997, Bishop elect Wörner has worked as assistant priest in various parishes. He was named regional youth pastor for the Kempten region and headed the diocesan Youth Office since 2006. In 2009 he was moved to the cathedral. Since the first of May of this year, Bishop elect Wörner has in charge of the diocesan Institute for the New Evangelisation, something that almost certainly played a part in Pope Benedict’s choice to appoint him as auxiliary bishop. His consecration will take place on the 28th of July.

Bishop elect Wörner’s titular diocese will be Hierpiniana, located in modern Tunisia.

Photo credit: Bistum Augusburg

The curious case of Bishop Walter Mixa

I’ve been thinking what – if anything – to write about the case of Bishop Walter Mixa, the former bishop of Augsburg who stepped down following allegations of sexual abuse which proved to be untrue. There are now questions being raised about the very validity of his resignation. Some say it was a forced resignation, which would make it invalid, and others even see it as proof of a conspiracy within the higher echelons of the Church in Augsburg. Since it is unclear exactly what reasons for the resignation were delivered to Rome, and what the pope discussed with a number of high-ranking German bishops (including Archbishop Reinhard Marx of München und Freising, Archbishop Robert Zollitsch of Freiburg im Breisgau and Bishop Anton Losinger, auxiliary of Augsburg) in several occasions, it’s very hard to figure out who is right and who is wrong. But it does seem that these steps, taken, perhaps, in the eagerness to tackle the abuse issue, had unforeseen consequences. Openness and honesty, it would seem, never come without thoroughness and care.

In the mean time, Welt features an interview (in German of course) with Bishop Mixa, adding a personal dimension to this story of a much-maligned man.