Europa Press, Afp and Reutres

Newspaper La Jornada
Friday, January 21, 2022, p. 24

Rome. Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI expressed shock and shame at the cases of sexual abuse against minors in the German Catholic Church and assured that in the coming days he will examine with the necessary attention the report published by the Archdiocese of Munich, prepared by the Westpfahl law firm Spilker Wastl (WSW), who accuses him of inaction on four occasions when he was archbishop.

Benedict XVI, 94, expresses his closeness and his prayers for all the victims, his secretary, Monsignor Georg Gänswein, told the press, specifying that the pope emeritus has not yet read the thousand-page report that involves him.

Reaffirming his feeling of shame and remorse, Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni asserted that the Holy See does not know the content of the report released in Germany and confirmed that the Church will follow the path it has taken to protect minors.

Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, before becoming pope, did not take any action against four ecclesiastics suspected of child abuse, said lawyers for the WSW, which since 2020 has been investigating at the request of the German clergy the allegations of sexual abuse in the archdiocese of Munich and Freising between 1945 and 2019.

In a document transmitted to the lawyers, the pope emeritus, who has lived in retirement in the Vatican since his resignation in 2013, categorically denied any responsibility, a position that is not credible for the experts, declared the lawyer Martin Pusch.

Two of the cases involve clerics who committed various abuses proven by the courts but were allowed to continue their pastoral duties, according to Pusch. Experts say they are convinced that Ratzinger, archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, was aware of the pedophile past of the priest Peter Hullermann.

The report says there were at least 497 victims of abuse, mostly young men, and many cases were likely unreported.