Abuse scandal: Benedikt asked for an apology

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Joseph Ratzinger, then Archbishop of Munich and Freising and later Pope Benedict XVI, in Munich in 1977. © picture alliance / dpa

After the false testimony of Benedict XVI. the chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference demands an apology. Politicians emphasize that the processing is also a matter for the judiciary.

Berlin – The chairman of the German Bishops’ Conference, Georg Bätzing, has demanded an apology from the emeritus Pope Benedict for his behavior in the abuse scandal of the Catholic Church.

“He has to speak up, and he has to disregard his advisors and basically say the simple, simple sentence: ‘I’m guilty, I’ve made mistakes, I ask the forgiveness of those affected.’ There’s no other way.” , said Bätzing on Sunday evening on the ARD talk show “Anne Will”.

When asked if he believed Benedict would do the same, the Limburg bishop said: “I trust him – if he manages to distance himself from advisors. It is really a weakness of Benedict XVI, of Joseph Ratzinger, not to always surround himself with the best advisors.” This criticism is likely aimed at Benedict’s private secretary and confidant, Georg Gänswein.

Benedict had been accused of misconduct in a report on dealing with allegations of abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. The 94-year-old, who was archbishop in Munich from 1977 to 1982, denies this. In one essential point, he admitted last Monday that he had made a false statement. It’s about his presence at a session where an abusive priest was discussed. However, Gänswein attributed the false statement to a technical error.

Not just church work

In “Anne Will”, the SPD politician and lawyer Ingrid Matthäus-Maier accused politicians of having spared the church for far too long. “If you say it maliciously, you can say: There was camaraderie between the official churches and politics. This has to stop,” she demanded.

The federal government emphasized on Monday that there will be no special church law in clarifying cases of abuse in the Catholic Archdiocese of Munich and Freiburg. “The processing of these abuse scandals is not left to the church alone,” assured a spokesman for the Ministry of Justice. Public prosecutors are generally obliged to investigate indications of criminal offenses. After the most recent revelations, there are already several dozen investigations by the Munich public prosecutor.

The Bundestag Vice President Katrin Göring-Eckardt from the Greens called for an independent investigation of the abuse scandal by the state. “There really has to be an independent review in the Bundestag, in the Federal Government’s commissioner for questions of sexual child abuse (…).” One cannot say that this happened in the Catholic or Protestant Church and thus externally, so to speak.

Criticism of church labor law

“That took place in Germany, and that’s why it’s our joint responsibility as political actors to ensure that on the one hand, as far as labor law is concerned, people who live differently, who love differently, are allowed to work in this church as a matter of course , and on the other hand, that these terrible acts of violence are finally uncovered, clarified and compensated for,” said Göring-Eckardt. Church labor law prohibits many employees from having homosexual partnerships or remarrying after a divorce.

The SPD domestic politician Lars Castellucci also advocated making churches and other institutions more responsible for dealing with sexual abuse: New commissions are not necessary for this, he told the “Frankfurter Allgemeine Zeitung”. Rather, one could strengthen the already existing independent commission for the investigation of child sexual abuse. If their guidelines for processing were to be declared binding, minimum standards would also have to be observed in the church. dpa


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