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Ex-Pope Benedict acknowledges faulty testimony in German abuse case -Breaking


© Reuters. FILE PHOTO – Pope Benedict XVI ends his final general audience at St Peter’s Square, Vatican on February 27, 2013. REUTERS/Alessandro Bianchi/File Photo

By Philip Pullella

VATICAN CITY (Reuters] – The former Pope Benedict XVI said Monday that he had attended a 1980 conference regarding a case involving sexual abuse. It was when he was archbishop at Munich. However, he incorrectly claimed to have been there.

A report released last week on abuse in the archdiocese from 1945 to 2019 said then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger failed to take action against clerics in four cases of alleged abuse when he was its archbishop between 1977-1982.

The Munich lawyers investigating the abuse refuted Benedict’s claim in an 82 page statement that he had not attended a 1980 meeting to talk about the case.

The statement contradicted the documents that they were holding.

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On Monday Archbishop Georg Ganswein (the former pope’s personal secretary) stated that Benedict was present at the meeting, but it was “out of bad faith” because of an error in editing the statement.

Ganswein stated that no decision was taken at 1980’s meeting regarding a priest’s new assignment, but that he only requested accommodation for him during his therapeutic treatment.

Ganswein explained that the former pope was deeply sorry and asked to be forgiven.


After examining his nearly 2000-page electronic report last Thursday, he said Benedict would explain why the error occurred.

Benedict, aged 94 and infirm living in Vatican City, left the papacy.

Ganswein explained that Ganswein is “glancing over the statement, which make him feel shameful and hurt about all the suffering suffered by the victims.” He said that a thorough review would be difficult due to his health and age.

Martin Pusch presented the report to Ratzinger last Thursday. In four of the cases, Ratzinger was not accused and it appeared that there had been no interest in the victims.

Pusch stated that “in a total four cases we have reached the conclusion the Archbishop Cardinal Ratzinger could be charged with misconduct in cases sexual abuse.”

He still asserts ignorance even though it’s difficult for us to understand.

Conservatives have defended the former pope but victims groups and experts said the findings of the German report had tarnished the legacy of one of Catholicism’s most renowned theologians.

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