Pope Benedict failed to act over child abuse cases as Archbishop of Munich – probe

Munich law firm finds Pope Benedict failed to take action against priests accused of child sex abuse

Former Pope Benedict XVI failed to take action against priests in four child sex abuse while Archbishop of Munich, a probe into the allegations found on Thursday.

An investigation into historical abuse allegations found fault with Pope Benedict, then called Josef Ratzinger, as well as Cardinal Reinhard Marx, current Achbishop of Munich. Neither are suspected of having participated in the abuse themselves.

Munich law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastle was hired by the Catholic Church to investigate the abuse allegations.

The report found that there were almost 500 reported victims of abuse, mostly young men.  In four of these cases, the law firm concludes that the then Archbishop Cardinal Ratzinger can be accused of misconduct in cases of sexual abuse.

In two of these cases, the abuse was committed during the former pope’s tenure and was sanctioned by the state.

The report alleges that Pope Benedict knew that a priest transferred to his diocese was abused of abusing boys. Despite this, the priest continued to work in pastoral care roles, meeting and supporting people within the community.

Pope Benedict was Archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982. He was elected pope by cardinals in 2005 but became the first pontiff in 600 years to resign from the position in 2013.

Meanwhile, Cardinal Reinhard Marx offered to resign in July 2021 over the mishandling of the Church’s sexual abuse crisis. His offer was rejected by Pope Francis.