Benedict clarifies his response to the accusations of abuse, but confirms his innocence


Vatican City

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Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI is preparing a detailed response to the accusations launched last Thursday. According to a law firm, during his period as Archbishop of Munich, between 1977 and 1982, he did not take the correct action in the face of 4 allegations of sexual abuse.

Commissioned by the German archdiocese, for two years the lawyers analyzed the documentation kept in the diocese. To prepare the report, they sent some questions in writing to Benedict XVI, who provided 82 pages of answers. Today he has corrected one of them.

It refers to the case of a priest who had committed abuse in the city of Essen, and who was sent to Munich for psychiatric care.

During the presentation of the report, the lawyers showed that, despite the fact that Benedict denied it in his letter, according to the minutes, the then Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger would have participated in a meeting on January 15, 1980 about the arrival of the abusive priest.

This Monday, the secretary of Benedict XVI, George Ganswein, has corrected Benedict’s version, has confirmed that he did participate in that meeting and has explained that the opposite was implied “due to a transcription error, made without bad faith.” He assures that Benedicto is very sorry for this mistake and that he apologizes.

Benedict is analyzing the 1,000 page report and he has located that contradiction between what he thought he had written to the lawyers and what they received.

In any case, the Pope Emeritus stresses that this meeting in 1980 was made to decide whether or not to receive the priest who needed psychiatric help in a medical study in the capital of Bavaria. “Only the request to provide him with accommodation in Munich during the period of his therapeutic treatment was addressed,” the note explains.

Therefore, there was no discussion about the possibility of entrust the abuser with an assignment in a parish, as the vicar of the archdiocese allegedly later did without Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger’s knowledge. The drama is that in this new parish in Munich, the priest continued to abuse minors, until in 1986 he was convicted of molesting a minor.

Georg Gänswein assures that Benedict se is straining to quickly read the long piece of writing of the lawyers, but asks for “understanding” as it will take time to read it in its entirety.

He adds that “what he has read so far fills him with shame and sorrow for the suffering of the victims”, and that he appreciates the commitment of the Archdiocese of Munich for the initiative to “clarify” all this drama.

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