Ex-pope asks forgiveness for sex abuse cases under his watch

Tue. February 8, 2022 2:04 PM by Gerald Farinas

pope benedict xvi with president george w. bush

photo credit // national archives

Archdiocese of Munich and Freising notes Benedict XVI did not act on at least four cases of sex abuse when he was archbishop

In response to an independent investigation ordered by the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, that implicated Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger for playing a role in hiding sex abuse, Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI asked for forgiveness today.

From 1977 to 1982, Benedict was archbishop of the German archdiocese.

The German law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, which issued a report of its investigation last month, zeroed in on Benedict for not taking corrective action when reports of sex abuse were presented to him.

Furthermore, Benedict was implicated for lying to investigators when he said he didn't recall being at a meeting to discuss one particular predatory priest.

Benedict corrected himself when the report was initially published, saying his response to investigators were misunderstood as "the result of an error in editorial processing."

The report says, at the very least, Benedict was responsible for misconduct in four known cases of sex abuse.

Benedict called his failure a "grievous fault." He stopped short of accepting any actual wrongdoing.

Outside of the German report, Benedict has been cited as having turned a blind eye toward sex abuse cases when he served as pope.

For example, a 2020 report noted that the now-defrocked Cardinal Theodore McCarrick, former archbishop of Washington, D.C., was known to be predatory of male seminarians. Benedict did not act, but rather allowed McCarrick, popularly known as "Uncle Ted" by American Catholics, to keep his prominent role in the American Church.

Before revelations of predation, McCarrick was very popular among Catholics and non-Catholics.