Pope Benedict XVI knew of abusive priests when he ran Munich archdiocese, investigators say

Pope Benedict XVI knew about priests who abused children but failed to act when he was archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982, an inquest found Thursday, which rejected Benedict’s long-standing denials.

“He was informed about the facts,” lawyer Martin Pusch said, as the Westpfahl Spilker Wastl law firm announced the findings of an investigation into historic sexual abuse at the Munich Archdiocese over several decades. The report was commissioned by the church itself.

“We believe that he can be accused of misconduct in four cases,” Pusch said. “Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state. In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care.”

Benedict responded to the report later on Thursday, expressing his “pain and shame” for abuse in the church. Archbishop Georg Ganswein, Benedict’s private secretary, told Vatican News: “Until this afternoon, Benedict XVI did not have the report from the legal firm … which is more than 1,000 pages. In the next few days, he will examine the text with due attention.”

“During his time in office there were abuse cases happening,” Pusch said during a press conference in Munich, referring to Benedict. “In those cases, those priests continued their work without sanctions. The church did not do anything.

“He claims that he didn’t know about certain facts, although we believe that this is not so, according to what we know,” Pusch said. Benedict, now 94, became the first Pope in centuries to resign when he stepped down in 2013. 




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