Vatican high court absolves priest of advances in confession

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VATICAN CITY (AP) — The Vatican’s high court has absolved a top Holy See official of charges that he made sexual advances against a nun during confession.

A Vatican statement Friday said a five-member panel of the Apostolic Signatura had issued a decree May 15 absolving the Rev. Hermann Geissler because the charge “was not proven with the absolute moral certainty” required.

Geissler had resigned as chief of staff of the doctrine section of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in January after the former nun, Doris Wagner, accused him of making advances against her during confession. He insisted on his innocence and threatened legal action to clear his name.

Soliciting sex during confession is a grave crime under church law, given that the penitent is in a vulnerable state.

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