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Retired Pope Benedict asks for forgiveness due to abuse cases

Pope Benedict said that there was no wrongdoing after a report criticized his actions over abuse cases

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Pope Benedict XVI arrives in Freising, Germany.

Emeritus Pope Benedict XVI arrives for his departure at Munich Airport in Freising, Germany, June 22, 2020. The retired pope has asked for forgiveness after a recent report criticized his handling of clergy abuse cases.

Sven Hoppe, dpa via Associated Press

Retired Pope Benedict XVI asked for forgiveness after a recent report criticized his handling of clergy sex abuse cases.

What happened: Back in January, a German investigation accused Pope Benedict XVI of “wrongdoing” in his handling of sexual abuse cases during his time at the archdiocese of Munich from 1977 to 1982, as I reported for the Deseret news.

  • In those cases, “he knowingly accepted a priest into his archdiocese even after the cleric had been convicted of sexual abuse in a criminal court,” according to The Washington Post.
  • Per BBC News, the report alleged the abuse happened when Benedict was at the archdiocese and while the accused priests had active church roles.

The apology: “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 retired pope said, according to NBC News.

  • “And I have come to understand that we ourselves are drawn into this grievous fault whenever we neglect it or fail to confront it with the necessary decisiveness and responsibility, as too often happened and continues to happen,” he wrote. “As in those meetings, once again I can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness.”
  • Benedict said he had “seen at first hand the effects of a most grievous fault.”


One note to go: Benedict’s law experts said the recent allegations “contains no evidence for an allegation of misconduct or conspiracy in any cover-up” by the former pope, according to The New York Times.