the pope emeritus Benedict XVI was heavily criticized for covering up cases of sexual abuse against children in the German Catholic Church, in a long-awaited independent report published on Thursday.
Benedict XVI, who was Archbishop of Munich and Freising between 1977 and 1982, did not act at that time against four ecclesiastics suspected of child abuselawyers said in a report ordered by the church.
In a document transmitted to the lawyers, the pope emeritus –whose civil name is Joseph Ratzinger— “strictly” denied any responsibility, a position that for the authors of the report is “not credible”, declared the lawyer Martin Pusch.
Two of the cases involve clerics who committed various proven abuses, including by the courts, but were allowed to continue their pastoral duties, according to Pusch.
Experts say they are convinced that Ratzinger was aware of the pedophile past of priest Peter Hullermann.
This vicar of North Rhine-Westphalia was accused in 1980 of serious sexual abuse of minors. Church authorities transferred him to Bavaria, where, despite psychiatric therapy, he continued the abuse.
In 1986, a court sentenced him to a conditional prison term and he was again transferred to another Bavarian city where he officiated as a priest for about twenty years until he allegedly reoffended. In 2010 he was finally forced to retire.
Ratzinger denied knowing the past of this priest, whose case caused a stir in 2010, during the pontificate of Benedict XVI.