Abuse report accuses Pope Benedict XVI. Misconduct before – politics

The Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) accuses the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. in an expert opinion on dealing with sexualized abuse of minors in the Catholic Church misconduct. According to the report, the pope emeritus played down or denied cases of abuse during his time as cardinal of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In the report, Ratzinger’s misconduct is established in four cases of abuse.

The extensive report commissioned by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising is currently being presented in Munich. Since the beginning of 2020, the five experts have been examining cases of sexualized abuse by clerics and full-time employees in the period 1945 to 2019 and how it is dealt with in the archdiocese. The report states that the church and its leadership did not want to see the suffering of the victims for a long time, but “saw them as a danger to the institution”. The experts speak of a “complete non-perception of the victims” in the face of allegations.

“The frightening phenomenon of the cover-up needs to be examined,” said expert Marion Westpfahl at the beginning of the presentation of the report. In view of the facts, it is no longer a matter of gaining basic knowledge, but of essential consequences. “It’s also and especially about individual guilt,” said Westpfahl. The report is apparently about 67 actual or suspected abusers. The experts assume at least 497 victims. The victims were mostly male children and young people.

The report also relates to the conduct of office of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. as Archbishop: Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. During this time there was one of the most serious cases of abuse in the archbishopric. Ratzinger has expressed himself extensively in a statement that will be published as part of the report and, in the opinion of the experts, has given an authentic insight.

The behavior of Joseph Ratzinger during his time as cardinal had been reviewed and had to be reassessed, said expert Marion Westpfahl at the start of the press conference.

So far, it has been disputed how much Ratzinger knew about a particularly serious case and whether he was involved in dealing with it. The priest Peter H. was transferred from Essen to Munich after he had already abused children in his home diocese. He was sent to the Archdiocese of Munich for therapy purposes, where he again committed assaults and was also convicted. In spite of his previous history, the then Vicar General Gerhard Gruber was solely responsible for the use of the priest.

According to reports, the more than 1,000-page report also contains an 82-page statement by the Pope Emeritus. In it he answered questions from the lawyers, his private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, said last week image– newspaper said. “He welcomes the processing in Munich and the publication of the report,” said Gänswein. The fate of the victims of abuse was “very heartfelt” to him.

The Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, decided against taking part in the presentation of the report. According to the law firm, he had been expressly invited. “We very much regret his absence,” said Marion Westpfahl, “not so much because of ourselves, but because of “the legitimate interest of those affected to be noticed.” Marx wants to comment on the report in the afternoon.

According to the experts, the archbishop was not aware of the report until his presentation this morning. The report was originally expected to be published in the summer of 2021. The law firm justified the postponement last November with “new findings” that had to be checked.

The Munich I public prosecutor’s office has already taken action on the basis of the research by the WSW law firm. In August of last year, the WSW law firm provided her with material on 41 cases in which the experts believed there had been misconduct on the part of church officials. This was explained by the public prosecutor’s office at the request of the SZ. Another case was added in November. Among the 42 cases was the case of priest Peter H. “The 42 cases relate exclusively to those responsible for the church who are still alive and were transmitted in a highly anonymous form,” the public prosecutor said. If, on this basis, there were any suspicions that church officials had committed a criminal offence, separate preliminary investigations would be initiated.

The live stream of the performance will be Bavarian radio made available.

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