Jan 20, 2022 - World

Report faults ex-pope in mishandling of sex abuse cases in Germany

 Former Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City in June 2018.
Former Pope Benedict XVI in Vatican City in June 2018. Photo: Daniel Karmann/picture alliance via Getty Images

A report released Thursday faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI for the mishandling of four sex abuse cases when he was archbishop of Germany’s Munich diocese, according to AP.

Why it matters: The report, commissioned by the archdiocese, also criticized the diocese's current archbishop Reinhard Marx's handling of at least two cases.

  • The law firm handling the investigation, Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, examined sexual abuse in the archdiocese between 1945 and 2019 and whether church officials handled them correctly.

What they're saying: The report said Pope Benedict, known then as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, could be accused of misconduct in at least four cases, two of which involved two perpetrators who were kept in pastoral work after being punished by the judicial system.

  • The law firm said Pope Benedict denies any wrongdoing.
  • Marx, a member of Pope Francis’ advisory council, offered his resignation last year to take responsibility for the mishandling of sexual abuse cases over the past decades, but the offer was denied by Francis, the New York Times reports.

The Vatican said Thursday it would give the report "due attention," per the Times.

  • “In reiterating the sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors committed by clerics, the Holy See ensures its closeness to all the victims and confirms the path taken to protect the little ones, guaranteeing them safe environments,” Vatican spokesperson Matteo Bruni added.

The big picture: A report commissioned by the church in 2018 found that clergy in Germany abused at least 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014, according to AP.

  • The report said more than half of the victims were 13 or younger, and nearly a third were altar boys.

Go deeper: French Catholic Church says it will compensate sex abuse victims

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