GERMANY- According to a Munich Church report, former Pope Benedict XVI failed to act against clerics accused of abuse despite allegations that the Church in Germany and around the world protected abusive priests.
An abuse report released in Germany on Thursday uncovered four instances in which Benedict XVI failed to act.
The Pope denied the report, and his spokesperson expressed “shock and shame” at the findings.
WHAT ARE THE FINDINGS OF THE REPORT?
From 1977 to 1982, Benedict held the post of archbishop of Munich and Freising and failed to prevent abuse of minors, according to law firm WSW, which handled the investigation.
Attorney Martin Pusch, who presented the WSW report, noted that in four cases, there was a failure to act.
In two cases, priests accused of child abuse were allowed to continue working in the church as pastors despite facing legal charges.
The clergymen were not disciplined by the church, and it appears that no care was given to their victims.
A second case involved infamous notorious child abuser Peter H., who was transferred from the Archdiocese of Essen to the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising in 1980, while Benedict, Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger at the time, led the archdiocese.
Archbishop Reinhard Marx, who currently leads Munich, has also been accused of failing to intervene in two abuse cases.
Between 1945 and 2019, the Archdiocese of Munich has been the site of at least 497 cases of abuse. Most victims were male children and adolescents.
Responding to the abuse allegations in the report, the Vatican expressed “shame and remorse.”
CATHOLIC CHURCH FACES ‘SHAKING MOMENT’
Eckiger Tisch, which represents people victimized by sexual abuse in the Catholic Church, explained that the findings of the report were a “shaking moment for the whole church.”
I think it was a shaking moment for the whole church, not only the church in Bavaria and Germany, because the worldwide abuse scandal, which has evolved in the last 30 years or so, has finally reached the head of the pyramid with the pope, the former Pope Benedict.”
Katsch said Benedict “was caught with a lie.”
“He knew about the perpetrator, about Peter H., and he, personally, is responsible,” Katsch said of Benedict.
Additionally, Katsch said the Catholic Church had not improved its handling of allegations of sexual abuse.
“There is no reason to believe that anything fundamental has changed since 2010,” he said.
“But as far as training lay people and protecting children is concerned, things have been improved. However, when it comes to dealing with the victims and not protecting the perpetrators, it’s still the same old thing. Therefore, we need major changes in the future.”
In a summary of the findings, the Vatican’s news agency says:
▪ At least 497 people were abused in the archdiocese from 1945 to 2019;
▪ 60% of the victims were between the ages of 8-14;
▪ Most victims were young, with 247 male victims and 182 female;
▪ There were 235 perpetrators of abuse, including 173 priests