Prosecutors temporarily listed Ratzinger as the accused – Munich

The public prosecutor’s office Munich I has the now deceased Pope Benedict XVI. at times as a suspect in their investigations after the report on sexual abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. However, the investigations against him on suspicion of aiding and abetting abuse were dropped, as the authority announced on Tuesday. “Three (then) still living church personnel managers” were “entered as suspects” during the investigation.

In addition to Pope Benedict, who as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, there were also his successor Cardinal Friedrich Wetter and the former Vicar General Gerhard Gruber. However, all procedures were gradually discontinued. The investigations “in each case did not result in sufficient suspicion of criminal acts by the personnel managers,” said the investigating authority.

In connection with the abuse report presented in January 2022, the authority had examined more than 40 cases of alleged misconduct by church leaders. In February, rooms in the archdiocese were also searched. The law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), which prepared the report on behalf of the diocese, had already made the documents available to the public prosecutor in August 2021.

The abuse report made headlines mainly because of Cardinal Ratzinger’s role. Critics accuse him of not taking decisive action against abusers in the church as archbishop and later as prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome and of having placed the protection of the church as an institution above the protection of victims.

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