Retired pope responds to allegations he mishandled clergy sex abuse cases

Retired Pope Benedict asked forgiveness Tuesday for any “grievous faults” in his handling of clergy sex abuse cases, however admitted to no private or specific wrongdoing after an unbiased report criticized his actions in 4 cases at the same time as he was once archbishop of Munich, Germany.

“I Have had great tasks within the Catholic Church. The Entire larger is my ache for the abuses and the mistakes that took place in the ones other places through the time of my mandate,” the retired pope mentioned.

Benedict, 94, used to be responding to a Jan. 20 file from a German law company that have been commissioned through the German church to appear into how circumstances of sexual abuse have been handled within the Munich archdiocese among 1945 and 2019. Benedict, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, headed the archdiocese from 1977 to 1982.

The document’s authors faulted Benedict’s dealing with of four cases all the way through his time as archbishop, accusing him of misconduct for having didn’t prohibit the ministry of the monks within the cases even after they have been convicted criminally. The report additionally faulted his predecessors and successors, estimating that there were at least 497 abuse victims over the a long time and no less than 235 suspected perpetrators.

‘Not keen on any coverups’

The Vatican on Tuesday released a letter Benedict wrote to respond to the allegations, along a extra technical answer from his crew of lawyers and advisers who had supplied an preliminary EIGHTY TWO-web page response to the regulation firm about his nearly 5-year tenure in Munich.

the realization of Benedict’s advisers was resolute: “As an archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger was no longer considering any coverup of acts of abuse,” they wrote. Furthermore, they mentioned, the record provided no proof that Benedict was acutely aware of the criminal history of any of the 4 monks in question.

Benedict’s response was once way more nuanced and religious. within the letter, Benedict issued what he called a “confession,” recalling that daily mass begins with believers confessing their sins and asking forgiveness for his or her faults, even their “grievous faults.” Benedict mentioned that during his meetings with abuse sufferers while he used to be pope, “I’ve noticed in the beginning-hand the results of a such a lot grievous fault.

“And I Have come to understand that we ourselves are drawn into this grievous fault each time we forget it or fail to confront it with the mandatory decisiveness and accountability, as too ceaselessly came about and maintains to occur,” he wrote. “As in the ones meetings, again i will handiest specific to all of the sufferers of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness.”

Pope Benedict accused of misconduct, whilst archbishop, in handling sex abuse cases

The legislation company document identified 4 instances in which Ratzinger used to be accused of misconduct in failing to act towards abusers: Two cases involved priests who angry at the same time as Ratzinger was once archbishop and were punished by way of the German criminal device however have been kept in pastoral ministry without any limits on their ministry. a 3rd case concerned a cleric who was convicted via a courtroom outside Germany however used to be placed into carrier in Munich. The fourth concerned a convicted pedophile priest who used to be allowed to transfer to Munich in 1980 and used to be later put into ministry. In 1986, that priest won a suspended sentence for molesting a boy.

Benedict’s staff earlier clarified an initial “errors” in their submission to the legislation firm that had insisted he used to be now not provide at the 1980 assembly during which the priest’s transfer to Munich was once mentioned. He was there, however the go back to ministry was not discussed, they mentioned.

Benedict stated he was deeply harm that the “oversight” approximately his presence at the meeting have been used to “solid doubt on my truthfulness, and even to label me a liar.” However he mentioned he had been heartened through the letters and gestures of fortify he had received, together with from his successor.

“i’m specifically thankful for the confidence, beef up and prayer that Pope Francis for my part expressed to me,” he said.

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