In response to the abuse report, the former Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Wetter, apologized. However, he also strictly rejects some allegations.
- Pope Benedict XVI made a false statement in his statement for the abuse report of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising (see first report).
- The Catholic reform movement “We are Church” has the opinion described as “embarrassing”. (see update from January 24, 3:40 p.m.).
- A longtime companion of Pope Benedict XVI. demands an apology (see update from January 24, 4:02 p.m.).
Update from January 25, 1:47 p.m.: Former Archbishop of Munich and Freising, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, has apologized for his “wrong decision” in a high-profile abuse case. The pastor in question should no longer have been employed in pastoral care, it said in a statement that the archdiocese published on Tuesday on behalf of Wetter. “I am sincerely sorry.”
In other cases, however, he vehemently denies any misconduct he is accused of. “In 6 cases there was no abuse,” Wetter writes, for example – or: “One name was completely unknown to me.” He comes to the conclusion: The facts of the 21 cases “by no means substantiate a ‘misconduct in 21 cases'”.
Wetter is the predecessor of Cardinal Reinhard Marx in the Munich bishopric and was archbishop of the diocese from 1982 to 2008. During his tenure, a priest convicted of sexual abuse was transferred to another parish in Garching an der Alz – where he is said to have abused boys again. In this case, the apology that he now formulated applies.
A report commissioned by the Archdiocese under his successor Marx, which was presented last week, accuses Wetter of misconduct in 21 cases. He did not deny the cases, but misconduct on his part, said the lawyer Martin Pusch at the presentation of the report.
Pope Benedict admits false testimony in abuse reports – theologian “shocked”
Update from January 24, 4:02 p.m.: The theologian and longtime companion of Pope Benedict XVI, Wolfgang Beinert, calls for a public apology from the emeritus pontiff to victims of sexual abuse. “This is absolutely necessary,” said the emeritus professor of theology Augsburg General. “So all that’s left for him to say is yes, I made a mistake and I bitterly regret it,” he said. “Then he would have to set an example – if he can still do it.”
“Even popes are not immune to lies,” said Beinert, a student of Ratzinger. “All men are sinners, including popes. And even popes are people who grasp at straws when they are in need,” he said. “It shook me,” he said of Ratzinger’s statements that one of the accused priests had acted as a private individual. “I don’t think Ratzinger has understood the dimensions of what happened at all,” the 88-year-old theologian told the newspaper.
Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI: Bishop of Mainz shocked by reports on abuse
The Bishop of Mainz, Peter Kohlgraf, was also shocked by the abuse report. “Names of failing leaders who are now being mentioned were for me many years, despite all the distance, always personalities who have shaped my image of the church,” he said in a statement on Monday. The apparent failure of church officials shook his faith. “My pride in being on the road for Jesus Christ has always turned to shame and the wish that the earth might open up beneath me.”
Catholic reform movement called statement of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. as “embarrassing”
Update from January 24, 3:40 p.m.: The Catholic reform movement “We are Church” has the opinion of the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. with the correction of a statement on the Munich abuse report (see first report) described as “embarrassing”. “What is still missing is his personal admission of guilt,” said “We are Church” spokesman Christian Weisner of the German Press Agency on Monday.
Wrong decisions in the case of the priest had “inflicted great suffering on many of those affected. He could have prevented that. He has to face up to this overall responsibility,” said Weisner. “It is extremely embarrassing and incredible that Joseph Ratzinger has to correct his first statement on the Munich report in such a crucial and easily verifiable point.”
“Mistake”? Pope Benedict admits false testimony in abuse reports
First report from January 24th: Munich – Pope Benedict XVI. made a wrong statement at an important point in his statement for the abuse report of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The emeritus pontiff admitted this on Monday in a statement by his private secretary Georg Gänswein, which, among other things, the portal Vatican News and the Tagespost Foundation documented.
Contrary to what was claimed in the report published last week, Benedict took part in an ordinariate meeting in 1980 as archbishop of Munich and Freising, at which a priest was discussed who had repeatedly attracted attention for the sexual abuse of children.
Church quake around Pope Benedict XVI: Wrong statement in statement
That priest was later reinstated as a pastor in Bavaria and is one of the key cases in the report presented by the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) law firm on behalf of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. In it, Benedict is accused of misconduct in a total of four cases.
When correcting the statement, the 94-year-old wanted to “emphasize that this was not done out of bad faith, but was the result of an error in the editing of his statement,” the statement said. “He is very sorry for this mistake and he apologizes for this mistake.”
Pope Benedict XVI with clarification – “Very connected in the effort to clarify”
Gänswein also wanted to make it clear that in that meeting in January 1980 “no decision was made about the pastoral assignment of the priest in question. Rather, the request was only granted to enable him to stay in Munich during his therapeutic treatment”.
Benedict is currently studying the report intensively and is “close” to his former diocese and “very connected in the effort to clarify things”. According to the report, at least 497 children and young people were sexually abused by priests, deacons or other church workers in the Catholic diocese between 1945 and 2019. There were at least 235 alleged perpetrators, including 173 priests and 9 deacons. However, this is only the “bright field” – it can be assumed that the number of unreported cases is much larger. (dpa/cibo)
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