Feb 8, 2022 - World

Ex-Pope Benedict asks for forgiveness over handling of sex abuse cases

Pope Benedict XVI greeting cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica in 2014 in Vatican City, Vatican.

Pope Benedict XVI greeting cardinals at St. Peter's Basilica in 2014 in Vatican City. Photo: Franco Origlia/Getty Images

Retired Pope Benedict XVI asked for forgiveness Tuesday for any "grievous faults" he committed in his handling of clergy sex abuse cases, AP reports.

Why it matters: Benedict was accused of mishandling sexual abuse cases when he was archbishop of Germany’s Munich diocese in a report released in January.

  • 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 perpetrators who were kept in pastoral work after being punished by the judicial system.
  • He later admitted to giving false testimony in a one abuse case but denied any wrongdoing when the report was released.

What they're saying: Pope Benedict on Tuesday stopped short of admitting to any personal or specific wrongdoing.

  • "I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for the abuses and the errors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate," he said in a letter, according to AP.
  • "And I have come to understand that we ourselves are drawn into this grievous fault whenever we neglect it or fail to confront it with the necessary decisiveness and responsibility, as too often happened and continues to happen."
  • “As in those meetings, once again I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness."

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

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