Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI apologized this Thursday and expressed his pain for the abuses and errors that occurred during his mandate in the various positions he has held.
(In context: Abuse report attributes Benedict XVI’s failure to act in four cases)
The pope emeritus made this statement in a letter published after the release of a report on the sexual abuse of minors in Germany, in which it was stated that he was aware of four cases of pedophile priests when he was Archbishop of Munich.
(Read here: Benedict XVI admits false testimony in abuse reports)
“Once again I can only express to all victims of sexual abuse my deep shame, my great pain and my sincere request for forgiveness. I have had a great responsibility in the Catholic Church“, emphasizes Benedict XVI.
Joseph Ratzinger, 94 years old, adds in the letter that “my sorrow is all the greater for the abuses and errors that have occurred during the time of my mandate in the respective places” and assures that it is necessary, on the part of the clergy, “the moment of confession”.
He also adds: “Let us publicly pray to the living God to forgive our faults, our great and very great faults”.
“In all my meetings, especially during my numerous apostolic trips with victims of sexual abuse by priests, I have looked into the eyes of the consequences of a very great and I have learned to understand that we ourselves are dragged into this great guilt when we neglect it or when we do not face it with the necessary decision and responsibility, as has happened and happens too often”, he admits.
Despite his request for forgiveness, Benedict XVI denies in a document also published this Tuesday by his collaborators any accusation and knowledge of the events narrated in the report disclosed in Germany.
In his letter, Ratzinger begins by defending the “giant” work in drafting the response document to the investigation that he delivered at the time to the investigators and explains that “there was an oversight” about his participation in the Ordinariate (meeting of the bishoprics of Munich and Freising) on ??January 15, 1980.
In that meeting, according to the investigation, the transfer of a priest accused of child abuse, Peter H., who later committed abuse again in the Munich archdiocese, which led to his being transferred again.
At first, Benedict XVI assured that he had not participated in that meeting, but later he retracted this statement and explained that it had been a mistake.
(In other news: The Pope invites the nuns to ‘fight’ against their own exploitation)
“This error, which unfortunately has occurred, has not been intentional and I hope it is forgivable”, writes the pope emeritus, who adds that He has been “deeply surprised” that the carelessness has made his veracity doubtful and that he has even been presented “as a liar”, while he highlighted having received numerous letters of support and prayers from Pope Francis.
Benedict XVI concludes the letter by saying: “Soon I will face the final judge of my life. Although looking back on my long life I may have many reasons for fear and fear, however, I am in a joyful frame of mind because I firmly trust that the Lord is not only the just judge, but also the friend and brother who has already suffered my shortcomings himself and is, therefore, as a judge, at the same time my lawyer.”