Ex-Pope Benedict apologizes for not taking action against priests

• Pope Benedict XVI

Former Pope Benedict XVI admitted giving ‘incorrect’ information to German inquiry after report found he failed to take action against priests in four sex abuse cases

“He is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused,” Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Georg Ganswein, said in a statement quoted by the KNA news agency and republished by Vatican News.

But the statement insists that no decision was taken at the meeting regarding the reassignment of the priest to pastoral duties.

An independent report last week revealed that Benedict XVI, who resigned in 2013, knowingly failed to arrest four priests accused of child sex abuse in the 1980s.

The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was commissioned by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising to examine how abuse cases were handled between 1945 and 2019.

Former Pope Benedict, whose real name is Joseph Ratzinger, was Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

In one case, a now notorious pedophile priest named Peter Hullermann was transferred to Munich from Essen in western Germany where he had been accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy.

Hullermann was reassigned to pastoral duties despite his past and continued to reoffend for many years.

Lawyers said that “to our surprise” Benedict denied attending the 1980 meeting at which the decision was made to admit Hullermann to the diocese, despite being directly cited in the lawsuit minutes of the meeting.

The pope emeritus’ statement read: “He wishes to clarify now that, contrary to what was stated during the audience, he attended the meeting of the Ordinariate on January 15, 1980.

“The statement to the contrary was therefore objectively incorrect,” he added while insisting that it “was not made in bad faith, but was the result of an error in the drafting of his statement”.

“Objectively correct, however, remains the statement, documented by the records, that at its meeting no decision was made regarding a pastoral assignment of the priest in question,” he said.

“On the contrary, only the request to provide him with accommodation during his therapeutic treatment in Munich was granted.”

The statement said further explanations would follow, but the 94-year-old pope, who is believed to be in poor health, is still reading the investigation report.

“At present, he carefully reads the statements recorded there, which fill him with shame and pain at the suffering inflicted on the victims,” ​​he said.

Former pope admits misrepresentation in abuse case.

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