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Vatican Official Steps Down After Accusations

Scranton Clergy Abuse Lawyers discuss a Vatican official stepping down after accusations of abuse. A Vatican official has stepped down after being accused of sexual abuse. Herman Geissler maintains his innocence, but has resigned from his position as chief of staff in the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith, according to a statement by the Holy See.

The Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith

The Roman Curia is the central administrative authority in the Catholic Church. The Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith is one of nine departments of the Curia. It consists of three offices:

  • Doctrinal Office – Handles matters relating to the promotion of the doctrine of the faith and morals.
  • Discipline Office – Deals with issues pertaining to offenses against the faith, grave offenses committed against morals (such as sexual abuse), and other disciplinary matters.
  • Marriage Office – Oversees the dissolutions of marriage and other matters relating to the matrimonial bond.

Accusations Against Geissler

A former nun accused a priest, whose identity she did not reveal, of soliciting her for sex while in the confessional. Although she did not mention the priest’s name, she mentioned that he was currently a section leader in the Congregation of the Doctrine for the Faith. Several news outlets deduced that the priest was Geissler because he was the only one of the three leaders who was a member of the nun’s former religious order.

According to the former nun, Geissler requested to be her confessor and used his position of authority to subject her to sexual abuse while she was in the confessional. The former nun says she reported the abuse to her superior in 2014, but despite admitting his misconduct, the priest was allowed to retain his high-ranking position in the church.

According to official church law, solicitation in a confessional is an especially egregious offense. The Vatican considers it to be a “grave delict” and, according to the Code of Canon Law, priests found guilty may be subject to suspension, prohibition, privation, or dismissal from the clerical state, depending on the gravity of the delict.

Former Vatican Official Under Investigation

Although Geissler asserts his innocence, the former nun claims he admitted to the 2014 accusations, asked for pardon, and was allowed to keep his position. The former nun notes that Geissler’s resignation does not comprise a penalty under canon law.

Scranton Clergy Abuse Lawyers at Williams Cedar Advocate for Survivors of Clergy Abuse

If you were sexually abused by a member of the clergy, contact a Scranton clergy abuse lawyer at Williams Cedar. We proudly represent clergy sexual abuse survivors throughout the state, including those in Allentown, Scranton, Pittsburgh, Harrisburg, Greensburg, Johnstown, Eerie, and Wilkes-Barre, Pennsylvania from our offices located in Philadelphia and Haddonfield, New Jersey. For a free and confidential consultation, please submit an online inquiry or call us at 215-557-0099.