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Rome Reports

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Benedict XVI accused of failing to respond to abuse as a bishop

An independent report commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich accuses Josef Ratzinger of failing to act properly in four cases of sexual abuse.

The report is the result of 2 years of investigations, looking into how allegations of abuse were handled in the archdiocese from 1945 to 2019.

Pope emeritus Benedict XVI was questioned by the report's authors, and denies any wrongdoing. 

The report does not include detailed information on the four cases for which he is accused. 

Two of them concern priests who abused children while Ratzinger was in office. They were punished by the judicial system, but their pastoral work was not restricted, nor were they sanctioned by the Church.

In another case, Ratzinger had allowed a formerly convicted priest to work in the diocese. 

The fourth case involves a pedophile priest who was transfered to Munich for psychological therapy, where he was given duties in a local parish. 

In his written response to the report, the Pope emeritus cites a “lack of knowledge of the facts and a lack of relevance under canon and criminal law.”

The report is another example of the time's limited understanding of the harm of sexual abuse, during which thought transferring a priest to another parish was though to solve the problem.

It also reveals that between 1945-2019 there were at least 497 victims of 261 abusers, of them 173 were priests. 

Vatican spokesman Matteo Bruni says the details of the report will be closely examined and reiterated the Church's “shame” over abuse committed by priests.