Benedict XVI apologizes, says it's wrong not to be decisive when dealing with abuse

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Benedict XVI responded with this letter to accusations that he mismanaged four cases of sex abuse during his time as archbishop of Munich.

It was made known by his main advisor, Abp. Georg Gänswein.

It is a firm and profound text in which the Pope emeritus asks for forgiveness for abuses and errors committed.

Benedict XVI's Secretary

“Once again I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness. I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for the abuses and the errors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate.”

The 94-year-old Pope emeritus recalls his meetings with victims of abuse and acknowledges that fault is to be found whenever we fail to confront cases of abuse with decisiveness and responsibility, something, he laments, happens too often.

The Vatican also published a report written by three experts of canon law and a lawyer specialized in freedom of expression.

They analyze in detail the four cases which Ratzinger allegedly mishandled, and they prove his innocence.

They argue, for instance, that Ratzinger did not assign any parish activity to a pedophile priest, and that he was not “aware of sexual abuse committed or suspicion of sexual abuse committed by priests.” This report also states that the report from Munich “provides no evidence to the contrary.”

It's a fact the authors of the report had acknowledged.

“My question also still refers to the case of Priest X. Can the law firm prove that Cardinal Ratzinger was then aware that Priest X was an abuser? What does 'most likely' mean in this context?”

“'More likely' means that we assume it with a higher probability.”

In his letter, Benedict XVI says he was hurt that his truthfulness was doubted, as he himself had signaled an error in an earlier statement regarding a pedophile priest. The Pope emeritus also thanks Pope Francis for his support in these days.


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