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Report faults Pope Benedict for German priest abuse cases in 1970s, '80s

Pope Benedict
Posted at 7:58 AM, Jan 20, 2022

BERLIN — A long-awaited report on sexual abuse in Germany's Munich diocese has faulted retired Pope Benedict XVI's handling of cases when he was archbishop in the 1970s and 1980s.

The law firm that drew up the report said that Benedict strongly denies any wrongdoing.

The report also faulted the current archbishop, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, in two cases. Marx is a prominent ally of the current pope, Pope Francis.

The archdiocese commissioned the report from law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl nearly two years ago, with a mandate to look into abuse between 1945 and 2019 and whether church officials handled allegations correctly.

The report said there were four cases in which Benedict — then-Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger — could be accused of misconduct.

"We believe that he can be accused of misconduct in four cases," lawyer Martin Pusch said of Benedict, according to CNN. "Two of these cases concern abuses committed during his tenure and sanctioned by the state. In both cases, the perpetrators remained active in pastoral care."

Benedict broke with hundreds of years of precedence in 2013 when he resigned as pope. All other popes dating back to the Middle Ages had held the position until their death.