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Benedict XVI apologized for cases of sexual abuse, but did not admit infractions

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI he apologized for his “lack” in the sexual abuse cases for which he was charged with “inaction” but admitted no wrongdoing.

A report released weeks ago noted that Joseph Ratzinger, who was archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, did not act at the time to prevent a priest from abusing four childrensaid the authors of this report at a press conference.

Benedict XVI expressed himself through a letter and assured that he can only express to the victims his “profound shame” and “great pain” for what happened.

“Once again I can only express to all victims of sexual abuse my deep shame, my great pain and my sincere request for forgiveness. I have had a great responsibility in the Catholic Church,” says Benedict XVI in the text.

Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI. Photo: AFP

And he added: “The greater the my pain for the abuses and errors that have occurred during the time of my mandate in the respective places” and assures that it is necessary, on the part of the clergy, “the moment of confession”. He also insists: “Let us publicly pray to the living God to forgive our faults, our great and very great faults”.

“In all my encounters, especially during my many apostolic journeys with victims of sexual abuse by priests, I have looked into the eyes of the consequences of a very great guilt and I have learned to understand that we ourselves are dragged into this great guilt when we neglect it or when we do not face it with the necessary decision and responsibility, as has happened and happens too often,” he admitted.

However, and despite the request for forgiveness, Benedict XVI denies any accusation and knowledge of the facts which are narrated in the report released in Germany.

In his letter, Ratzinger begins by defending the “giant” work in drafting the response document to the investigation that he delivered to the investigators at the time and explains that “there was an oversight” about his participation in the Ordinariate (meeting of the bishopric of Munich and Freising) dated January 15, 1980.

At that meeting, according to the investigation, the transfer of a priest accused of child abuse, Peter H., who later returned to commit abuse in the Munich archdiocese, was discussed, which led to his being transferred again.

At first, Benedict XVI assured that he had not participated in that meeting, but later he retracted this statement and explained that it had been a mistake.

This error, which unfortunately has occurred, has not been intentional and I hope it is forgivable“, writes the pope emeritus, who adds that he has been “deeply surprised” that carelessness has cast doubt on his veracity and that he has even been presented “as a liar”, while noting that he has received numerous letters of support and prayers of Pope Francis.

Benedict XVI concludes the letter by saying: “Soon I will face the final judge of my life. Although looking back on my long life I may have many reasons for fear and fear, however, I am in a joyful frame of mind because I firmly trust that the Lord is not only the just judge, but also the friend and brother who has already suffered my shortcomings himself and is, therefore, as a judge, at the same time my lawyer”.



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