ROME — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI stated Monday he had been at a 1980 assembly at which the case of a priest accused of pedophilia had been mentioned, contradicting a earlier assertion made to a regulation agency investigating how allegations of clerical sexual abuse had been dealt with within the archdiocese of Munich and Freiburg between 1945 and 2019.
Benedict — then often known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — was Archbishop of Munich and Freiburg and in cost of its clerics between 1977 and 1982.
Last week, the regulation agency conducting the investigation, Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, issued a report that discovered, amongst different issues, that Benedict had mishandled 4 instances through which monks had been accused of sexual abuse.
At a information convention presenting the findings of the report Thursday, a consultant of the regulation agency stated Benedict had denied being at one assembly at which the case of a priest who had been despatched to Munich from the diocese of Essen to obtain remedy for pedophilia had been mentioned, although minutes of the assembly confirmed he had been current.
On Monday, Benedict’s private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, issued a press release saying that, upon studying the findings of the report, the retired pope had been current at the assembly in query “contrary to what was stated.” Archbishop Gänswein stated Benedict had referred to as his earlier assertion concerning the assembly “objectively false,” and that it was not made in “bad faith” however was the end result of a mistake within the enhancing course of of an 82-page assertion offered to the attorneys.
In Monday’s assertion, Benedict, 94, apologized for the error however maintained that, whereas he had been current at that assembly, “the pastoral assignment of the priest in question was not decided at this meeting.”
In the unique assertion responding to questions by the attorneys conducting the investigation, Benedict had stated he didn’t know that the priest in query had been accused of intercourse abuse towards minors, and that the paperwork searching for his switch to Munich solely talked about health-related points that required psychotherapy. The priest was described as “very gifted,” and will have been assigned to completely different duties, Benedict stated.
The switch request from Essen talked about that the priest had been “immediately taken out of pastoral care” as a result of of a report coming from the parish neighborhood, however didn’t present additional particulars or point out suspicions of sexual abuse. Benedict added that he had no reminiscence of being knowledgeable about what position the brand new priest was going to take.
The priest was in actual fact allowed to return to pastoral work a couple of weeks after his arrival in Munich, and in 1986 he was convicted of sexually abusing minors within the diocese of Essen and given an 18-month suspended sentence with 5 years of probation. When information of the case made headlines, in 2010, the archdiocese stated the choice to let the priest reassume his duties had been made by Cardinal Ratzinger’s deputy in Munich.
Archbishop Gänswein stated Benedict had been studying the report, which runs to some 1,900 pages, since receiving it on Thursday, however that it could “take time to read it completely” as a result of of Benedict’s “age and health.” He stated Benedict would touch upon the report as soon as he had completed studying it.
Archbishop Gänswein stated the contents of the report had crammed Benedict with “shame and pain” for the struggling prompted to victims, and expressed closeness to his residence dioceses, “in particular to the victims who had to experience abuse and indifference.”