German Catholic Employees Caught Red-handed Trying to Access Adult Sites!

An archbishop in one of the most important Catholic dioceses in Germany couldn’t help but express his disappointment on August 18th after he discovered that the employees of his diocese used their work computers to try to access pornographic websites.

This statement from the archbishop of Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, came after the city’s Koelner Stadt-Anzeiger published a report with a list from the archdiocese showing more than 1,000 attempts to access such websites. The report also said that dozens of diocese employees and even some senior clerics made such attempts.

The Archdiocese of Cologne confirmed the existence of such a list, adding that their IT service provider routinely checks whether firewalls are successful in fending off attempts to access websites with risky content such as violence, pornography, and drugs. However, these checks were not meant to monitor the Internet usage habits of each individual, and they turned up “no indications of criminally relevant behavior.

It disappointed me that employees tried to access pornographic pages with the help of devices that our archdiocese made available for their work — even though the firewalls kicked in,” Woelki said.

To some, the consumption of pornography may appear harmless,” the Archbishop added. “But I agree with Pope Francis, who condemns it and warns of its dangers, in particular the violation of human dignity.

Archbishop Woelki asked for the incidents to be examined as soon as he heard about them, adding that the archdiocese has many “committed and reliable” employees. The Archdiocese of Cologne also said that the archbishop himself wasn’t one of the “users of incriminated sites.

Prosecutors in Cologne said they had the list and are examining it, though they found no suspicious criminal activity and no investigation so far. This issue also came at a difficult time for Woelki, a conservative cleric that has become a divisive figure in the Catholic Church in Germany, as the archdiocese is experiencing an unprecedented confidence crisis centered around him.

Woelki attempted to hide a report he commissioned on how local church officials reacted when priests were accused of sexual abuse in 2020, citing legal concerns and angering many local Catholics. A new report released in March 2021 found that 75 high-ranking church officials neglected their duties.

Although the report absolved the archbishop of any neglect of his legal duty, he admitted he made past mistakes involving cases of sexual abuse allegations. Two papal envoys were then sent to Cologne to investigate possible instances by senior church officials in handling cases. Their report led the Vatican to give Woelki a “spiritual timeout” and criticize major communication errors.

When he returned in March 2022, Woelki said he offered to resign his position as archbishop, and Pope Francis hasn’t acted on it.

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