A law firm’s report on how abuse cases were handled in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising incriminates retired Pope Benedict XVI, with lawyers accusing him of misconduct in four cases when he was Archbishop of Munich. Source: CNS.
Lawyer Martin Pusch, of the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, said the retired pope had denied wrongdoing in all cases, reported the German Catholic news agency KNA.
Mr Pusch expressed doubt about Pope Benedict’s claim of ignorance in some cases, saying this was, at times, “hardly reconcilable” with the files.
At the Vatican, Matteo Bruni, director of the Vatican press office, said, “The Holy See believes it has an obligation to give serious attention to the document” on cases of abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, but it has not yet had a chance to study it.
Retired Pope Benedict headed the Munich Archdiocese from 1977 to 1982, before being called to the Vatican to head the doctrinal congregation.
The Munich investigation followed two years of research and covers the period from 1945 to 2019, centring on who knew what about sexual abuse and when, and what action they took, if any.
The report identified 497 victims and 235 abusers, but the lawyers who conducted the study say they’re convinced the real numbers are much higher.
Pope Benedict’s statements on the case of the repeat offender Peter H, who came to Munich from Essen in 1980, were described by lawyer Ulrich Wastl as “not very credible.”
In a written statement, the 94-year-old former pope had said he did not take part in a decisive meeting on the case when he was the archbishop of Munich.
The lawyers also identified misconduct by the former pope in three other cases involving the transfer of clerics who had committed criminal offences, which he denies.