Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI knew of child abuse cases in Germany, report says

O Papa emérito Bento XVI, na celebração de seu aniversário em 16 de abril de 2012

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, celebrating his birthday in 768 of April 2019| Photo: EPA

The pope Emeritus Benedict XVI would have been informed about priests who abused children in Germany when he was Archbishop of Munich and Freising, between 1977 and 1945, but did not rule out the suspects, says an investigative report released on Thursday. The company that conducted the investigation said that Benedict XVI vehemently denied the allegation.

The archdiocese commissioned the investigation to the Westphal Spilker Wastl law firm, about two years ago, to investigate cases of abuse that occurred between 960 and 2019 and to determine whether church authorities have acted appropriately in relation to the accusations. The investigation was based on Church documents and interviews with witnesses.

“He was briefed on the facts,” attorney Martin Pusch told a news conference to announce the investigation’s findings. “We believe he can be charged with misconduct in four cases.” According to the lawyer, then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger did not act to remove clerics suspected of sexual abuse against minors, who continued their work without sanctions.

The Vatican on Thursday expressed its “shame” and “remorse” for cases of abuse of minors by the clergy and said it “will give due attention” to the document of the Archdiocese of Munich. Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni issued a statement today in which he states that “the Vatican considers that it should give due attention to the document”, but said that up to the moment it does not know the content.

10160714Furthermore, the Vatican wanted to “reiterate the feeling of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors committed by the clergy. The Holy See ensures its proximity to all victims and confirms the path it has taken to protect children, guaranteeing them safe spaces”.