“Balance Sheet of Horrors”: Expert opinion incriminates clerics

Status: 01/20/2022 1:51 p.m

497 victims, 235 perpetrators and a “horror balance sheet”: The report on abuse in the Archdiocese of Munich puts a heavy burden on high-ranking church officials – including Pope Emeritus Benedict and Cardinal Marx.

An expert opinion is on the emeritus Pope Benedict XVI. misconduct in dealing with four cases of sexual abuse during his time as Archbishop of the Diocese of Munich and Freising. That’s what the lawyer Martin Pusch said at the presentation of the report commissioned by the Archdiocese in Munich.

In all cases, Benedict – then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger – strictly rejected any misconduct. The Pope Emeritus was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. Pusch emphasized that he had commented extensively on the allegations. This is included in the wording of the report.

“The Archbishop Ratzinger at the time was accused of misconduct,” Martin Pusch, Westpfahl Spilker Wastl law firm

tagesschau24 11:00 a.m., 20.1.2022

Critics have been accusing Ratzinger of misconduct for some time – specifically when dealing with a priest from North Rhine-Westphalia. He is said to have abused boys on many occasions and was transferred from North Rhine-Westphalia to Bavaria during Ratzinger’s term of office, where he was finally convicted of child abuse and is said to have repeatedly relapsed. This case alone accounts for 370 pages of the more than 1,700-page report. It was commissioned by today’s Archbishop Cardinal Reinhard Marx.

Misconduct by Marx and Wetter

Marx himself accuses the lawyers of misconduct in dealing with two suspected cases of sexual abuse. It is about reports to the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith in Rome. Marx was not present at the performance. But he wanted to make a statement in Munich in the afternoon. Attorney Marion Westpfahl initially complained about his absence. Marx’s decision is particularly regrettable in view of the interest of those affected by abuse “to be noticed”.

The report also accuses Ratzinger’s direct successor as Archbishop of Munich, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, of misconduct in 21 cases. Wetter did not deny the cases, but misconduct on his part, said Pusch. His colleague, the lawyer Ulrich Wastl, spoke of a “horrible record”.

Report lists 497 abuse victims

The report lists indications of at least 497 victims of sexualised violence. The report presented by the Munich law firm Westphal Spilker Wastl examines cases of abuse from the years 1945 to 2019.

According to the experts, 247 victims were male and 182 female, and in 68 cases it was not possible to identify them. 60 percent of the affected boys were between eight and 14 years old.

“Report lists almost 500 victims of sexual abuse”, Tilmann Kleinjung, BR

Tagesschau 12:00 p.m., 20.1.2022

Probably greater number of unreported cases

According to the study, there were at least 235 alleged perpetrators – including 173 priests and nine deacons. However, this is only the so-called bright field. A significantly larger number of unreported cases can be assumed. The report also comes to the conclusion that many priests and deacons continued to be employed even after corresponding allegations became known. Despite this, 40 clerics were again active in pastoral care or this was tolerated. In 18 of them, this even happened after “relevant convictions,” as attorney Pusch said. A total of 43 clerics failed to take “required measures of a sanction nature”.

The 1,600-page report was actually supposed to be published last year, but the publication was postponed to January due to new findings.


Leave a Comment