Benedict 16 confesses participation in meeting about pedophile priest – News

Pope Emeritus Benedict 16 admitted on Monday (24) that he attended a key meeting in 1980 about a German priest accused of child abuse, contrary to what he told the authors of a report in Germany that accuses him of covering up several priests.

In a letter signed by his private secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein, released this Monday by the German Catholic agency KNA and the Vatican press portal, Vatican News, Benedict “wants to clarify that, contrary to what was said to the authors of the report, , attended the meeting of January 15, 1980”.

Statements given to the authors of the report, published January 20 and prepared by the law firm WSW (Westpfahl Spilker Wastl), were “factually incorrect”, says Gänswein.

Benedict 16 emphasizes that it was not “bad faith” and that it was an “error”, the “result of an omission in the editing of his statements”. The 94-year-old pope emeritus asks “forgiveness for this mistake”.

At least 497 people were abused in the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising over a period of nearly 74 years (from 1945 to 2019), according to a summary of the report. Most victims were male and 60% of them were between 8 and 14 years old.

According to the document, the pope emeritus did nothing to prevent several priests from sexually abusing minors in the German archdiocese he led in the 1980s. Lawyers consider that Benedict, who was archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, did not acted against four suspected clerics.

Two of those cases involve religious who committed various court-proven abuses but were allowed to continue their pastoral duties, according to the report.

The report’s authors said they were “convinced” that Joseph Ratzinger, the given name of the pope emeritus, was aware of Father Peter Hullermann’s pedophile past.

The priest was accused in 1980 of serious sexual abuse of minors, but the ecclesiastical authorities transferred him to Bavaria, where, despite psychiatric therapy, he continued with the abuse. In 2010, he was finally forced to retire.

“No decision has been made on assigning a pastoral mission to the priest in question,” Benedict said. “Only the request for accommodation during his therapy in Munich was accepted,” he said.

The pope emeritus, who has resided in the Vatican since his resignation in 2013 and who is with health problemsdid not react directly to the content of the report.

Through his private secretary, he expressed “shock and shame” over pedophilia in the church after the report and assured that he “had not yet read the thousand-page report” involving him.

The Vatican reiterated its “shame” and “remorse” for the sexual abuse of children in the Church after the report was published.

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