Jan 24, 2022 - World

Ex-Pope Benedict admits to false testimony in German sex abuse case

Picture of retired Pope Benedict XVI
Former Pope Benedict XVI. Photo: Grzegorz Galazka/Archivio Grzegorz Galazka/Mondadori Portfolio via Getty Images

Former Pope Benedict XVI on Monday admitted that he had attended a 1980 meeting over a sexual abuse case in Germany. He had previously told authorities he was not there.

Catch up fast: A report released last week faulted Pope Benedict for the mishandling of four sex abuse cases when he was archbishop of Germany’s Munich diocese from 1977 to 1982. Upon its release, he denied any wrongdoing.

  • Pope Benedict had said he did not recall being in a 1980 meeting to discuss an abuser priest, Reuters reports.

What he's saying: Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Pope Benedict's personal secretary, said Monday that the retired pope did attend the meeting, adding that the omission "was the result of an oversight in the editing of the statement" and "not done out of bad faith," per Reuters.

  • Gänswein said that during the 1980 meeting, there was no actual decision about a new assignment for the priest.
  • Pope Benedict "is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused," Gänswein said.

What we're watching: Pope Benedict will address the entire 2,000-page report after he's done "carefully" reading it, Gänswein said. Due to the former pope's age, 94, the review "will take some time."

Don't forget: The report commissioned by the Catholic Church found that clergy in Germany abused at least 3,677 people between 1946 and 2014. Most of the victims were 13 or younger, and nearly a third were altar boys, according to AP.

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