NewsAbuse in the Catholic Church: Pope Benedict suddenly remembers

Abuse in the Catholic Church: Pope Benedict suddenly remembers

An abuse report from Bavaria on the crimes of the Catholic Church also burdens Pope Benedict XVI. The dignitary emeritus corrected his statement.

Update from January 24th, 2022, 11.40 a.m .: The retired Pope Benedict XVI. has corrected his own testimony in the Catholic Church abuse scandal. The pontiff emeritus now remembers that in 1980, in his function as Archbishop of Munich and Freising at the time, he took part in a meeting at which another priest was discussed who is said to have sexually assaulted children on multiple occasions.

This was announced by Benedikt’s private secretary Georg Gänswein0 in a press release. First, the ARD Tagesschau reported on Benedict’s corrected statement. According to the report, said priest was later reinstated as a pastor in Bavaria.

Papst Benedik XVI. korrigiert seine Aussage über seinen Kontakt zu katholischen Priestern, die Kinder missbraucht haben. (Archivbild)


Pope Benedict XVI corrects his statement about his contact with Catholic priests who abused children. (archive image)

Abuse report charged Benedict XVI: Not telling the truth?

First report from January 21, 2022: Munich – According to a new abuse report that a Munich law firm prepared on behalf of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising about the Catholic Church, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. an “at least moral responsibility” for numerous cases of abuse that can be proven during his tenure as cardinal and archbishop of Munich and Freising.

According to the report, at least 497 children and young people were victims of sexual abuse in the diocese in Upper Bavaria between 1945 and 2019, and 173 of 235 church employees among the alleged perpetrators were priests. However, these numbers are the so-called bright field: The authors of the report from the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) expect a significantly higher number of unreported cases and speak in the report of a “balance of horror”. The spokesman for the “Eckiger Tisch” initiative for victims, Matthias Katsch, spoke in a statement of a “historic shock” to the Catholic Church.

Abuse in the Catholic Church: Pope Benedict XVI. brought convicted perpetrators to Bavaria

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. the authors accuse the authors of misconduct in a total of four cases between 1977 and 1982. This also includes the particularly serious case of an abuser, which the then cardinal “with a high degree of probability” knowingly used in pastoral care. After the allegations became known, the later Pope is said to have made false statements.

In two of these cases, the report comes to the conclusion that Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger at the time brought priests to Bavaria, whom he “most likely” knew about their history of abuse. One of the two priests was a perpetrator who had been legally convicted of abuse abroad, the second was the well-known case of a priest from Essen who, despite incidents in North Rhine-Westphalia in Bavaria, was again working as a pastor with children and young people .

Report on abuse in the Church accuses Pope Benedict XVI. untrue information

The accusation by the experts that Ratzinger could not have told the truth in relation to the cases is particularly serious. They refer to a meeting protocol that suggests that, contrary to what he himself claims, as archbishop of Munich he was present in 1980 at the sensitive meeting at which it was decided that one of the priests should move to Bavaria.

The priest later abused children there again and was convicted of it. The lawyer Ulrich Wastl, who was involved in the report, said he considered Benedikt’s statement that he was not present at this meeting to be “little credible”. The Pope Emeritus, however, strictly rejected any misconduct. His 82-page statement can be read in the appendix to the report, which has now been published on the law firm’s website.

Catholic Church: Numerous clerics remained in pastoral care after cases of abuse

The report also accuses Ratzinger’s direct successor as Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, of misconduct in 21 cases. Wetter did not deny the cases, but misconduct on his part, said Pusch. The incumbent archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, has been accused of misconduct in two cases. It is about reports to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome.

The nearly 2,000-page report states that 40 clerics continued to work in pastoral care even after cases of abuse, or that this was tolerated. In the case of 18 of them, this even happened after “relevant convictions”, as the lawyer Martin Pusch said. A total of 43 clerics failed to take “required measures of a sanction nature”.
The lawyers believe that the bishops and general vicars of Munich are primarily responsible for this – the report also makes this clear.

“Cold pragmatism”: Reports on abuse in the Catholic Church shake experts

The Central Committee of German Catholics (ZdK) demanded an end to “organized irresponsibility” in the church. At the same time, President Irme Stetter-Karp criticized on Thursday in Bonn that the Pope Emeritus had repeatedly transferred an abuser. The fact that he apparently still does not admit any wrongdoing is frightening. The federal government’s abuse commissioner, Johannes-Wilhelm Rörig, accused the Catholic Church of “cold pragmatism” after the abuse report was presented. Even after ten years in office, the report almost left him speechless, he told the newspapers of the Funke media group.

The Münster canon lawyer Thomas Schüller said the report convicted Benedict XVI. “of untruth”. With his statement, Ratzinger “wasted the last chance to come clean with his responsibility as Archbishop of Munich and Freising for his cover-up of sexual offenses,” Schüller told the “Rheinische Post”.

Response to abuse reports: Pope Benedict XVI. expresses “shock and shame”

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. I expressed “shock and shame” after the publication of the new report on sexual abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, as reported by the AFP news agency. Until Thursday afternoon, the 94-year-old had no knowledge of the exact content of the report, said his spokesman Georg Gänswein in Rome. He will now study the paper.

The current archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Marx, was also “shaken and ashamed” in a first statement. Conversations with those affected led him to see his church in a different light today: “For me, encounters with those affected by sexual abuse brought about a turning point. They have changed and continue to change my perception of the Church,” said Marx. He feels “shared responsibility for the church as an institution in recent decades” and asks “on behalf of the archdiocese to apologize for the suffering that has been inflicted on people in the church in recent decades”. (ska with dpa/AFP/kna)

List of rubrics: © Sven Hoppe/dpa

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