Probe Finds Ex-pope Benedict Failed To Act In German Abuse Cases
Sumaira FH Published January 20, 2022 | 10:06 PM
Former pope Benedict XVI knowingly failed to take action to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in Munich in the 1980s, according to a damning independent report published Thursday that risks shattering the ex-pontiff's reputation
Munich, Germany, (APP - UrduPoint / Pakistan Point News - 20th Jan, 2022 ) :Former pope Benedict XVI knowingly failed to take action to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in Munich in the 1980s, according to a damning independent report published Thursday that risks shattering the ex-pontiff's reputation.
Benedict -- who was the archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982 -- has "strictly" denied any responsibility, said lawyer Martin Pusch of Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), which was commissioned by the church to carry out the probe.
But the experts do not consider this credible, Pusch said.
Benedict, 94 -- whose civilian name is Josef Ratzinger -- in 2013 became the first pope to step down from the role in 600 years and now lives a secluded life in a former convent inside the grounds of the Vatican.
Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni emphasised that it must still examine the report, "the contents of which are not currently known", but reiterated the Vatican's "sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors committed by clerics".
Two of the cases where Benedict allegedly failed to act involved clergymen who had committed several proven acts of abuse but were allowed to continue with pastoral duties, Pusch said.
An interest in the abuse victims was "not recognisable" in Benedict, he said.
Hullermann was reassigned to pastoral duties despite his history and continued to reoffend for many years.
- 'Defensive attitude' - Pusch said Benedict had initially shown a "defensive attitude" when responding to questions for the investigation. However, he later changed his attitude and gave a detailed written statement.
Marx had last year offered Pope Francis his resignation over the church's "institutional and systemic failure" in its handling of child sex abuse scandals.
However, Pope Francis rejected his offer, urging the cardinal known for his reforms to stay and help shape change in the Catholic Church.
- 'Frightening insights' - The reformist Catholic group "Wir sind Kirche" (We are Church) said the report offered "frightening insights into the lack of sense of responsibility of clerical office holders".
It called on Benedict to "face up to his ecclesiastical and moral responsibility instead of making more and more denials that are not very credible".
In Germany, a string of reports in recent years have exposed widespread abuse of children by clergymen.
However, the real number of victims is thought to be much higher.
It counted 22.2 million members in 2020 and is still the largest religion in the country, but the number is 2.5 million fewer than in 2010 when the first major wave of paedophile abuse cases came to light.
Matthias Katsch, a spokesman for the Eckiger Tisch victims' group, called the report "shocking".
It was "impressive and very moving" to see the lawyers "take apart this edifice of lies that has been erected to protect Benedict XVI", he said.