Benedict XVI apologises and denies cover-up


Central Europe

Eeuwout Kieckens, RD

Pope Benedict XVI. Photo AFP, Vincenzo Pinto

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI vehemently denies being a liar in a letter to the public.

His writing is in response to charges that he, as the former Archbishop of Munich and Freising, was complicit in sexual abuse. The text of the German-language letter was read on Tuesday by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, the secretary to Benedict XVI, who was Pope until 2013.

The letter responds to the report on abuse that was published last month on behalf of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In it, Benedict is accused of not having acted in four cases of the alleged abuse when he was archbishop between 1977 and 1982. According to the report, the primary blame was that Joseph Ratzinger, as the former Pope was called at birth, denied having been present at a certain meeting in 1980. It is said that at that meeting, a priest would be included in the Archdiocese of Munich, even though he was already being accused of abuse. He would later repeatedly commit abuse.

Benedict says that denial was a mistake by his advisers in processing nearly 8,000 digital pages in the letter dated last Sunday. “That the mistake was used to cast doubt on my truthfulness, even to portray me as a liar, has deeply moved me,” the former Pope wrote.

A document from Ratzinger’s advisers, which the Vatican press office distributed with the letter on Tuesday, denies that the said priest was given a pastoral appointment at the meeting in question in 1980 and that his alleged sexual abuse was discussed.

Supreme Judge

In the letter, Benedict thanks Pope Francis for his support and asks forgiveness from abuse victims: “I regret every single case.” Benedict XVI, who will turn 95 in two months, also looks ahead to the future. “Soon, I shall stand before the supreme Judge of my life. Though I have much reason to be anxious and apprehensive as I look back on my long life, I am glad because I firmly trust that the Lord is the righteous Judge and the Friend and Brother who will overcome my shortcomings Himself.

This article was translated by CNE.news and previously published in Dutch daily Reformatorisch Dagblad on February 8th, 2022.



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