Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI provided 82 pages of information for upcoming clerical abuse report
Munich/Berlin (KNA) – Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has provided detailed answers – totaling 82 pages in total – to lawyers’ questions regarding sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Munich, the popular newspaper reported on Friday. Picture. The lawyers’ requests were part of their investigation for a much-anticipated expert report due to be unveiled next Thursday.
“He welcomes the reassessment in Munich as well as the publication of the report,” the newspaper said, quoting Benedict XVI’s private secretary, Archbishop Georg Gaenswein. Archbishop Gaenswein added that the former pope had taken “the plight of victims of abuse very much to heart.”
Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI provided detailed answers to lawyers’ questions regarding sexual abuse cases in the Archdiocese of Munich.
According to the newspaper, the experts’ report, which is also eagerly awaited internationally, will be comprehensive. The research conducted by the Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) at the request of the archdiocese will alone occupy 350 pages on one of the most important cases, that of a repeat priest identified only as “Peter H.” In 1980, the priest was transferred from Essen to the Archdiocese of Munich, then headed by Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger, the future Pope Benedict.
The Archdiocese of Munich said it would give itself a week before commenting on the experts’ report. “After a first study,” the answer will come at a press conference on Jan. 27, the Archdiocesan Ordinariate said.
A explosive element in the report is that from the period under review – 1945 to 2019 – several prominent churchmen who led the archdiocese are still alive. This applies both to Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI and to Cardinals Friedrich Wetter and Reinhard Marx, the current head of the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising.
For the period under review – 1945 to 2019 – several prominent churchmen who ruled the archdiocese are still alive, including Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI.
The results of the investigation were originally due to be released in 2021. But in November lawyers postponed it, saying new facts had emerged. The law firm WSW has also always stressed that it will present the results on its own authority. Representatives of the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising will also only learn of the results during the presentation.
Along with the publication of the experts’ report, a new contact office for victims of abuse in the archdiocese will begin work. The office will be staffed with up to six experienced psychologists and psychotherapists from the Archdiocese’s Counseling Services, following a recommendation made by the Victims Advisory Council, according to reports.
The Munich lawyers’ report is expected to cite systemic shortcomings as well as mistakes made by people in positions of authority. The WSW office has already been active as an investigator in two other dioceses in Germany. His report from Aachen has been published, but not that from Cologne.
In Cologne, Cardinal Rainer Maria Woelki cited what have been called methodological shortcomings and potential libel issues for withholding the report. He then assigned the investigation to another law firm. WSW previously provided a sex abuse report for the Archdiocese of Munich in 2010, but it was never released in full, with the diocese citing data privacy concerns as the reason.