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Fr Hermann Geissler © The Times of Malta

Innocent Verdict: Father Herman Geissler Acquitted of Advances in Confessional

Verdict of the Tribunal of the Apostolic Signatura, Not Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith Where He Led Doctrinal Section, to Ensure Complete Objectivity

Innocent: After an objective administrative criminal trial, Fr. Hermann Geissler is acquitted of charges that he made 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 maintained 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.

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.

About Deborah Castellano Lubov

Deborah Castellano Lubov is Senior Vatican & Rome Correspondent for ZENIT; author of 'The Other Francis' ('L'Altro Francesco') featuring interviews with those closest to the Pope and preface by Vatican Secretary of State Cardinal Parolin (currently published in 5 languages); Deborah is also NBC & MSNBC Vatican Analyst. She often covers the Pope's travels abroad, at times from the papal flight (including for historic trips such as to Abu Dhabi and Japan & Thailand), and has done television and radio commentary, including for Vatican Radio, Sky, and BBC. She is a contributor to National Catholic Register, UK Catholic Herald, Our Sunday Visitor, Inside the Vatican, and other Catholic news outlets. She has also collaborated with the Vatican in various projects, including an internship at the Pontifical Council for Social Communications, and is a collaborator with NBC Universal, NBC News, Euronews, and EWTN. For 'The Other Francis': or

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