German cleric defends pope’s decision to keep archbishop

BERLIN (AP) — The head of the German Bishops’ Conference has defended the pope’s decision to allow the archbishop of Hamburg to stay on at this post, despite being faulted for his handling of sexual abuse allegations within the church. Limburg Bishop Georg Baetzing said on Monday that he understands how people feel about the decision, but that “Pope Francis has kept to his own law.” The papal nuncio’s office in Berlin said last week that Pope Francis has rejected Archbishop Stephan Hesse’s resignation, six months after the German cleric offered it. It said the Vatican found “personal procedural errors” on Hesse’s part but an investigation didn’t show that they were committed with the intention of covering up abuse cases.