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Hans Hermann Wilhelm Groër, OSB (1919–2003) was an Austrian Cardinal of the Roman Catholic Church. He served as Archbishop of Vienna from 1986 to 1995, and was elevated to the cardinalate in 1988. Following allegations of child abuse, he resigned as Archbishop of Vienna on 14 September 1995, and after being asked by Pope John Paul II, Groër relinquished all ecclesiastical duties and privileges as an archbishop and cardinal on 14 April 1998.[1]

Biography Edit

Hans Wilhelm Groër was born in Vienna to Sudeten-German parents, with whom he moved in 1929 to Czechoslovakia, where they remained for the next decade. He attended seminaries in Hollabrunn and Vienna (where he received his doctorate in theology) before being ordained to the priesthood on 12 April 1942 by Cardinal Theodor Innitzer. Groër then served as a chaplain in Petronell and Bad Vöslau until 1946, when he began work as Prefect of Studies at the minor seminary of Hollabrunn. He entered the Order of Saint Benedict in 1974 and took the name Hermann upon his solemn profession of vows on 8 September 1980. The same year saw Groër named as the spiritual director of the Legion of Mary for Austria.[1]

On 15 July 1986, he was appointed the fifteenth Archbishop of Vienna, succeeding Cardinal Franz König. Groër received his episcopal consecration on the following 14 September from Cardinal König, with Archbishop Karl Berg and Bishop Stefan László serving as co-consecrators. He was created Cardinal Priest of Santi Gioacchino ed Anna al Tuscolano by Pope John Paul II in the consistory of 28 June 1988.[1]

Sexual abuse of childrenEdit

In 1995, a former student of Groër's accused him of sexual molestation, followed, shortly thereafter, by a number of other former students and monks who emerged to make similar allegations. As a result Groër retired as Archbishop of Vienna in 1995 and moved to the Roggendorf monastery, where he served as Abbot until 1998. His time at the monastery ended after the emergence of further allegations, at which point Groër was stripped of his duties to the Church.[2]

Austria's statute of limitations meant that it was not possible to prosecute Groër,[2] although the Church did choose to investigate the case in 1998[3] – with Cardinal Christoph Schönborn, who replaced Groër as Archbishop of Vienna, stating in 2010 that then-Cardinal Ratzinger had attempted to convince Pope John Paul II to initiate the investigation[4][5] Schönborn, however, claimed in May 2010 that Cardinal Angelo Sodano had blocked his attempt to investigate Groër's activities.[6] The church is also alleged to have offered some of the former pupils "hush money".[5] An investigation by Hubertus Czernin led to the claim in Czernin's book, Das Buch Groer, that Groër had abused more than 2000 young men, although the actual figure remains unknown. Groër continued to deny the allegations until his death.[2]

DeathEdit

File:Groer sepulcrum.jpg

Groër died on 24 March 2003 of pneumonia at a hospital in Sankt Pölten, about 40 miles west of Vienna, where he had been treated for cancer. He was buried in the cemetery of the Cistercian monastery of Marienfeld, Austria.[1]

References Edit

External links Edit

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