Tue. May 24th, 2022

Ratzinger is accused of failing to act against clergy in four cases of alleged abuse when Archbishop of Munich.

Former Pope Benedict XVI has admitted that he made a false statement to a child sex abuse investigation when he said he had wrongly told investigators in Germany he had not attended a meeting in 1980 when he was archbishop of Munich.

The recognition came on Monday after a report released last week on abuse in the archdiocese from 1945 to 2019 said then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to take action against clergy in four cases of alleged abuse when he was its archbishop between 1977 and 1982.

One case concerns the transfer to Munich of a priest to undergo therapy, which was approved under Ratzinger in 1980.

The priest was allowed to resume pastoral work, a decision that, according to the church, was made by a lower official without consulting the archbishop. In 1986, the priest received a suspended sentence for molesting a boy.

At a news conference in Munich on Thursday, lawyers investigating the abuse disputed a claim by Benedict in an 82-page statement that he did not recall attending a 1980 meeting to discuss the case of an abused priest. not. They said it contradicted documents in their possession.

In a statement Monday, the former pope’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, said Benedict did attend the meeting, but the omission “was the result of a review in editing the statement” and “not done out of bad faith. not”.

Ganswein said no decision was made at the 1980 meeting on a new assignment for the priest, but only a request to provide him with accommodation during therapeutic treatment.

“He (the former pope) is very sorry for this mistake and apologizes,” Ganswein said.

He said Benedict planned to explain how the mistake happened after he finished investigating the nearly 2,000-page report, which was sent electronically last Thursday.

Benedict, 94, sick and living in the Vatican, resigned from the papacy in 2013.

“He carefully reads the statements made there, which fills him with shame and pain over the suffering inflicted on the victims,” ​​Ganswein said. A full review “will take some time due to his age and health,” he added.

Presenting the report last Thursday, attorney Martin Pusch said Ratzinger had done nothing against the abuse in four cases and it appears that no interest has been shown to injured people.

“In a total of four cases, we came to the conclusion that the then Archbishop Cardinal Ratzinger could be accused of misconduct in cases of sexual abuse,” Pusch said.

“He still claims ignorance, even though in our opinion it is difficult to reconcile with the documentation.”

Conservatives defended the former pope, but victim groups and experts said the findings of the German report affected the legacy of one of Catholicism’s most famous theologians.

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