BERLIN (AP) — A protracted-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany’s Munich diocese on Thursday faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI’s dealing with of 4 instances when he was archbishop within the Nineteen Seventies and Nineteen Eighties. The regulation agency that drew up the report stated that Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing.

The report additionally faulted the present archbishop, a distinguished ally of Pope Francis, in two instances.

The archdiocese commissioned the report from regulation agency Westpfahl Spilker Wastl practically two years in the past, with a mandate to look into abuse between 1945 and 2019 and whether or not church officers dealt with allegations appropriately.

The archdiocese and the regulation agency stated that high church officers had been knowledgeable of the outcomes forward of its publication. The archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, declined an invite to attend the presentation, which the legal professionals stated they remorse.

His predecessors within the job embody the previous Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, who served in Munich from 1977 to 1982 earlier than turning into the pinnacle of the Vatican’s Congregation for the Doctrine of the Religion and later being elected as pope.

“In a complete of 4 instances, we got here to the conclusion that the then-archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger, could be accused of misconduct,” stated one of many experiences’ authors, Martin Pusch.

Two of these instances, he stated, concerned perpetrators who offended whereas he was in workplace and had been punished by the judicial system however had been stored in pastoral work with out categorical limits on what they had been allowed to do. No motion was ordered below canon regulation.

In a 3rd case, a cleric who had been convicted by a courtroom exterior Germany was put into service within the Munich archdiocese and the circumstances communicate for Ratzinger having recognized of the priest’s earlier historical past, Pusch stated.

When the church abuse scandal first flared in Germany in 2010, consideration swirled round one other case: that of a suspected pedophile priest whose switch to Munich to endure remedy was authorised below Ratzinger in 1980.

The prelate was allowed to renew pastoral work, a choice that the church stated was made by a lower-ranking official with out consulting the archbishop. In 1986, the priest obtained a suspended sentence for molesting a boy.

In a rare gesture final 12 months, Marx provided to resign over the Catholic Church’s “catastrophic” mishandling of clergy sexual abuse instances, declaring that the scandals had introduced the church to “a useless finish.”

Francis swiftly rejected the supply however stated a technique of reform was vital and that each bishop should take duty for the “disaster” of the abuse disaster.

In 2018, a church-commissioned report concluded that no less than 3,677 folks had been abused by clergy in Germany between 1946 and 2014. Greater than half of the victims had been 13 or youthful, and practically a 3rd served as altar boys.

In current months, turbulence within the Cologne archdiocese over officers’ dealing with of abuse allegations has convulsed the German church. A report final 12 months discovered that the archbishop of Hamburg, a former Cologne church official, uncared for his responsibility in a number of instances in dealing with such allegations, however Francis rejected his resignation offer.

That report cleared Cologne’s archbishop, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki, of wrongdoing. However Woelki’s dealing with of the problem infuriated many Catholics. He had stored below wraps a primary report on church officers’ actions, drawn up by the identical agency that produced the Munich report, citing authorized issues.

In September, the pope gave Woelki a several-month “non secular timeout” after what the Vatican referred to as “main errors” of communication.

Marx, a reformist who sits on highly effective monetary and political committees on the Vatican, has been the archbishop of Munich and Freising since 2008.

He scheduled a press release on the report’s findings Thursday afternoon.


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