Hong Kong News

Nonpartisan, Noncommercial, unconstrained.
Thursday, Feb 02, 2023

Ex-Pope Benedict Seeks Forgiveness Over Abuse Scandal

Ex-Pope Benedict Seeks Forgiveness Over Abuse Scandal

"I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness," the 94-year-old said in a letter

Ex-pope Benedict XVI asked for forgiveness Tuesday for clerical child sex abuse committed on his watch, but aides rejected allegations of a cover-up while he was archbishop of Munich.

"I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness," the 94-year-old said in a letter released in response to a German inquiry last month that examined his handling of paedophile priests in the 1980s.

"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 former pontiff, who stepped down in 2013, was accused in January of knowingly failing to stop four priests accused of child sex abuse in the 1980s when he was archbishop of Munich.

Benedict, who is in very frail health, asked a team of aides to help him respond to the findings by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW), which had been commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich and Freising to examine abuse cases between 1945 and 2019.

The aides insisted in a statement published by the Vatican alongside his letter Tuesday that "as an archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger was not involved in any cover-up of acts of abuse".

The former pope -- whose birth name is Joseph Ratzinger -- was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.

In one case, a now notorious paedophile priest named Peter Hullermann was transferred to Munich from Essen in western Germany where he had been accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy.

Benedict's team has already admitted to unintentionally giving incorrect information to the report authors denying his attendance at a meeting about Hullermann in 1980.

But they denied any decision was taken at that meeting about reassigning the priest to pastoral duties, and on Tuesday said the abuse was not discussed.

"In none of the cases analysed by the expert report was Joseph Ratzinger aware of sexual abuse committed or suspicion of sexual abuse committed by priests. The expert report provides no evidence to the contrary," the statement said.

 Fear and trembling


In his letter, Benedict said it had been "deeply hurtful" that the "oversight" over his attendance at the 1980 meeting "was used to cast doubt on my truthfulness, and even to label me a liar".

Benedict, who lives in a former monastery within the Vatican walls, said he was "particularly grateful for the confidence, support and prayer that Pope Francis personally expressed to me".

The Vatican moved last month to defend the former pope, saying he had "fought" sexual abuse -- though Pope Francis has publicly stayed silent.

Before his election as pope, Benedict led the Vatican's doctrinal congregation -- once known as the Holy Office of the Inquisition -- giving him ultimate responsibility to investigate abuse cases.

In the letter, dated February 6, he made a clear reference to his failing health, saying that "quite soon, I shall find myself before the final judge of my life".

"As I look back on my long life, I can have great reason for fear and trembling," he said, but was nonetheless "of good cheer" as the end nears.

Newsletter

Related Articles

Hong Kong News
Close
0:00
0:00
WARNING GRAPHIC CONTENT - US Memphis Police murdering innocent Tyre Nichols
Almost 30% of professionals say they've tried ChatGPT at work
Interpol seeks woman who ran elaborate exam cheating scam in Singapore
Chinese search giant Baidu to launch ChatGPT like AI chatbot.
What is ChatGPT?
Bill Gates is ‘very optimistic’ about the future: ‘Better to be born 20 years from now...than any time in the past’
China is opening up for foreign investors.
Tesla reported record profits and record revenues for 2022
Prince Andrew and Virginia Giuffre Photo Is Fake: Ghislaine Maxwell
Moonwalker Buzz Aldrin Gets Married On His 93rd Birthday
Federal Reserve Probes Goldman’s Consumer Business
China's first population drop in six decades
Microsoft is finalising plans to become the latest technology giant to reduce its workforce during a global economic slowdown
China's foreign ministry branch in Hong Kong urges British gov't to stop the biased and double standards Hong Kong report
China relaxes 'red lines' on property sector borrowing in policy pivot
Tesla slashes prices globally by as much as 20 percent
Japan prosecutors indict man for ex-PM Shinzo Abe murder
Vietnam removes two deputy PMs amid anti-corruption campaign
1.4 Million Copies Of Prince Harry's Memoir 'Spare' Sold On 1st Day In UK
After Failing To Pay Office Rent, Twitter May Sell User Names
FIFA president questioned by prosecutors
Britain's Sunak breaks silence and admits using private healthcare
Hype and backlash as Harry's memoir goes on sale. Unnamed royal source says prince 'kidnapped by cult of psychotherapy and Meghan'
China’s recovery could add 1% to Australia’s GDP: JPMorgan 
Saudi Arabia set to overtake India as fastest-growing major economy this year 
China vows to strengthen financial support for enterprises: official
International medical experts speak out against COVID-19 restrictions on China
2 Billion People To Travel In China's "Great Migration" Over Next 40 Days
Google and Facebook’s dominance in digital ads challenged by rapid ascent of Amazon and TikTok
Flight constraints expected to weigh on China travel rebound
Billionaire Jack Ma relinquishes control of Ant Group
FTX fraud investigators are digging deeper into Sam Bankman-Fried's inner circle – and reportedly have ex-engineer Nishad Singh in their sights
Teslas now over 40% cheaper in China than US
TikTok CEO Plans to Meet European Union Regulators
UK chaos: Hong Kong emigrants duped by false prospectus
China seeks course correction in US ties but will fight ‘all forms of hegemony’, top diplomat Wang Yi says
China will boost spending in 2023
African traders welcome end of China’s Covid travel curbs
France has banned the online sale of paracetamol until February, citing ongoing supply issues
Japan reportedly to give families 1 million yen per child to move out of Tokyo
Will Canada ever become a real democracy?
Hong Kong property brokerages slash payrolls in choppy market
U.S. Moves to Seize Robinhood Shares, Silvergate Accounts Tied to FTX
Effect of EU sanctions on Moscow is ‘less than zero’ – Belgian MEP
Coinbase to Pay $100 Million in Settlement With New York Regulator
Preparations begin for Spring Festival travel rush
Domestic COVID-19 drug effective in trial
HK to see a full recovery, John Lee says in New Year message
Bargain hunters flock to last day of Hong Kong brands and products expo
Hong Kong aims for January 8 reopening of border with mainland China
×