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Holy See

Innocent Verdict: Father Herman Geissler Acquitted of Advances in Confessional

Innocent: After an objective administrative criminal trial, Fr. Hermann Geissler is acquitted of charges that he made in advances in the confessional toward a woman.

In a statement today, May 17, 2019, of the Apostolic Signatura, the Signatura acquitted the Austrian priest, who always retained he was innocent, but stepped down from his role as the leader of the Doctrinal Section of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, to not adversely affect his community or the congregation, with the negative attention.

The court’s communiqué recalls that Pope Francis entrusted this “administrative criminal trial” to the court of the Apostolic Signatura, “at the request of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith”, for which Fr. Geissler led a department, to ensure impartiality of the tribunal.

He resigned from his post on January 29 to face the canonical trial and proclaim his innocence, the same source recalls.

“A panel composed of five members of the Supreme Court was formed and, meeting on May 15, issued the decree of acquittal of the accused,” since “the configuration of the alleged serious offense” was not proven “with the requisite moral certainty”, after a “careful examination of the case.”

The Austrian theologian, who is member of the German community “The Work” (“Das Werk”), or “Spiritual Family Work” (“Familia spiritualis Opus”) (FSO), had been accused by an ex-nun of this community for alleged “advances” in the confessional.

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