Priest who administered Diocese of Limburg resigns over handling of abuse claims
April 26, 2023
Msgr. Wolfgang Rösch, who once administered the Diocese of Limburg (Germany), has resigned from his position as diocesan vicar general over the mishandling of an abuse complaints against the future diocesan seminary rector, who later committed suicide.
The Diocese of Limburg is led by Bishop Georg Bätzing, the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference.
In October 2013, the Vatican announced that Pope Francis had determined Bishop Franz-Peter Tebartz-van Elst, Limburg’s bishop since 2008, could no longer exercise his episcopal ministry. The prelate’s association with lavish spending gave rise to the nickname “bishop of bling.” According to the announcement, Msgr. Rösch, “by decision of the Holy See,” would immediately become vicar general and administer the diocese.
In 2014, Pope Francis accepted Bishop Tebartz-van Elst’s resignation, and the Pontiff later named him an official of the Pontifical Council for Promoting the New Evangelization. In 2016, Pope Francis named then-Father Bätzing the new bishop of Limburg, and Bishop Bätzing named Msgr. Rösch his vicar general.
In 2018, Bishop Bätzing appointed Father Christof May as rector of the diocesan seminary. Father May later became known for his support of women’s ordination, the blessing of homosexual unions, and the sharing of Holy Communion with Protestants.
In June 2022, Bishop Bätzing confronted the rector with abuse allegations and relieved him of his position. Father May committed suicide, and the local prosecutor said that Bishop Bätzing had not informed him of any allegations against Father May.
On April 25, the Diocese of Limburg announced that Bishop Bätzing had accepted Msgr. Rösch’s resignation from his position as diocesan vicar general. Msgr. Rösch said that in 2015, he had become aware of abuse allegations by an adult against Father May.
Msgr. Rösch said that he met with Father May and the alleged victim at the same time, determined that Father May was innocent, and never informed Bätzing of the allegations. Msgr. Rösch characterized his decisions as “errors” and tendered his resignation.
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