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Investigators say Pope Benedict XVI knew about abusive priests when he ran the Munich archdiocese


“He was informed of the truth,” lawyer Martin Pusch said as law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl released the results of an investigation into a historic sexual abuse case in the Archdiocese of Munich spanning decades. The report was authorized by the church itself.

“We believe he could be charged with misconduct in four cases,” Pusch said. “Two of these cases involved abuses committed during his tenure and punished by the state. In both cases, the perpetrator remained active in pastoral care.”

Benedict continues to deny the allegations, the company said on Thursday. He has repeatedly denied allegations that he intentionally covered up abuse, including in 2013 when he writes: “As you know, I can only admit it with profound astonishment. But I’ve never tried to cover these things up.” CNN is reaching out to Benedict’s longtime secretary for response to Thursday’s report.

But Benedict’s views were rejected by lawyers during their long-awaited press conference in Munich. Their findings represent a notable rebuke to the former Pope, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, after years of speculation about the extent to which he knew.

“During his time in office, there were abuses that took place,” Pusch said, referring to Benedict. “In those cases, those priests continued their work without punishment. The church did nothing.

“He claims that he is unaware of certain events, although we believe this is not the case, to the best of our knowledge,” Pusch said.

‘The building of lies’

Benedict, now 94, became the first Pope in centuries to resign when he stepped down in 2013. His tenure was overshadowed by a global sex abuse scandal within the Catholic Church, and the investigators’ findings – now directly fail him. to prevent and punish abuse – which threatens to damage the former pope’s reputation.

Attorney Ulrich Wastl presented a copy of the minutes of a meeting of the Munich church leaders on January 15, 1980, when it was decided to deal with an abuser who reportedly referred to as “Priest X. ”

Ulrich Wastl during Thursday's press conference.

Wastl said he was “surprised” when Benedict denied he was at the meeting, even though the minutes showed he was. “This is something that is written down, then refutes Benedict’s denial as ‘hard to be trusted,’” said Wastl.

Wastl said Benedict had submitted a statement for the investigation, but was unreliable, summarizing Benedict’s views as: “You have evidence that a certain document was sent, but you have no evidence. show I read it.”

In 2010, the Archdiocese of Munich said Benedict had no knowledge that a priest working in the archdiocese had engaged in sexual abuse.

Top official of the German Catholic Church offers to resign because & # 39;  sexual abuse disaster & # 39;
And in 2019, the former Pope wrote a controversial essay on the sexual abuse crisis in the Catholic Church, claiming that it had partly caused by the sexual revolution of the 1960s and the liberalization of church moral teaching.

A German survivor of abuse by Catholic clerics praised investigators’ criticism of the Pope on Thursday.

Matthias Katsch, who runs the “Eckiger Tisch”, who runs the “Eckiger Tisch”, said: “The building of lies to protect Pope Benedict has just collapsed. victim of abuse.

Katsch says he was 13 years old when a priest at his Jesuit school in Berlin first sexually abused him. In 2010, Katsch went public with her story, sparking a flurry of testimonies from dozens, then hundreds, of other survivors.

Katsch, who told his story to CNN in 2018, was present at the press conference announcing the results of the investigation on Thursday.

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