Former pope Benedict named in report over Church’s handling of child sex abuse in Germany

Former pope Benedict named in report over Church’s handling of child sex abuse in Germany

Former Pope Benedict XVI is among those named in a scathing investigation into the treatment of child sex abuse in the Catholic Church, which is scheduled to be released in Germany.

Between 1945 and 2019, the legal firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) will examine how abuse cases were handled in the archdioceses of Munich and Freising.

The Munich archdiocese, which ordered the investigation, said it will look into “whether those responsible followed with legal obligations… and acted responsibly in dealing with suspected cases and potential perpetrators.”

From 1977 to 1982, ex-Pope Benedict, whose civilian name is Josef Ratzinger, was the archbishop of Munich.

During this period, Peter Hullermann, a now-famous paedophile priest, was sent to Munich from Essen, where he had been accused of assaulting an 11-year-old boy.

Despite his record, Hullermann was reassigned to pastoral responsibilities. Ratzinger was convicted of assaulting more youngsters and given a suspended prison sentence in 1986, by which time he had been relocated to the Vatican.

He continued to work with children for many years after his sentence, and his story is seen as a relevant example of the Church’s mismanagement of abuse. Benedict has stated that he is unaware of the priest’s background.

According to German media sources, the ex-pope has issued an 82-page statement in response to WSW’s concerns.

According to his spokesman Georg Gaenswein, the pope emeritus “takes the destiny of the abuse victims extremely seriously” and is “totally in favor of the disclosure of the Munich report.”

Benedict, 94, became the first pope in 600 years to resign from the position in 2013, and currently lives in seclusion in a disused convent on the Vatican premises.

The reformist Catholic group “Wir sind Kirche” (We Are Church) has called on the ex-pontiff to accept responsibility for what occurred while he was in charge of the diocese of Munich.

Ratzinger’s acknowledgment that he was personally and professionally complicit in the suffering of many young people by his actions or inactions, knowledge or ignorance, would be “an example for many other bishops and responsible persons,” it added in a statement.

In recent years, the Catholic Church in Germany has been rocked by a series of investigations alleging widespread clergy abuse of children.

Between 1946 and 2014, 1,670 clergymen in Germany perpetrated some sort of sexual assault on 3,677 adolescents, according to a research commissioned by the German Bishops’ Conference in 2018.

However, it is believed that the true number of victims is substantially greater.

Another investigation released last year revealed the extent of priestly abuse in Germany’s top diocese of Cologne.

Last year, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the current archbishop of Munich and Freising, offered Pope Francis his resignation in response to the church’s “institutional and systemic failure” in managing child sex abuse crises.

Pope Francis, on the other hand, turned down the cardinal’s offer, pushing him to stay and assist shape change in the Catholic Church.

Marx, who has served as Archbishop of Munich since 2007, could face examination in the WSW study.

Friedrich Wetter, who served in the position from 1982 to 2007, is still alive and well.

Victims of abuse will receive up to 50,000 euros ($56,700) in compensation in 2020, up from approximately 5,000 euros previously, according to activists.

The Eckiger Tisch victims’ group appealed for “compensation rather than hollow words” ahead of the Munich report’s release.

According to Matthias Katsch, a spokesman for the organisation, “far too many children and young people have fallen prey” to a system “formed by abuse of authority, intransparency, and authoritarianism.”

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Source: Gospelly.Com.Ng

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