Update: German abuse report faults Pope Benedict, Cardinal Marx


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A long-awaited report on how sexual abuse cases were handled in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising between 1945 and 2019, was released today, and it accuses both Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and Cardinal Reinhard Marx, one of Pope Francis’ top advisers, of mishandling abuse cases.

The report looks back at abuse cases spanning more than 70 years, which includes Pope Emeritus Benedict’s five-year tenure as archbishop of the diocese. The lawyers accuse Benedict of mishandling four abuse cases, saying that he allowed two priests who were criminally prosecuted for abuse to continue working as priests, and that no action was taken against them under church law.

Pope Emeritus Benedict denies all allegations of wrongdoing. His personal secretary responded to questions from journalists today, saying Benedict would “examine the text with the necessary attention.”

Cardinal Marx, the current archbishop of Munich and Freising, is also accused of mishandling two cases of sexual abuse. He was not present at the presentation of the document, but said he watched the livestream. In a statement a few hours later, Cardinal Marx asked for forgiveness and said that while the report is important for coming to terms with the past, the priority should be on care for the victims. He said that the diocese would carefully study the report and discern a way forward.

A Vatican spokesman told journalists today that the Vatican would study the almost 1,900-page report, which detailed the cases of 497 victims and 235 abusers. The spokesman said “The Holy See believes it has an obligation to give serious attention to the document” and reiterated the Vatican’s sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors by clerics and its commitment to ensuring safe environments for young people.

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Vatican to study German abuse report that faults Pope Benedict

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