(ZENIT News / Berlin, 25.09.2023).- Peter Seewald, Benedict XVI’s biographer, responded to Monsignor Georg Bätzing, President of the German Episcopal Conference, given the statements in which the German Prelate accuses Benedict XVI for not apologizing to the victims of sexual abuse.
Monsignor Bätzing criticized Pope Benedict XVI, in the weekly newspaper Die Zeit, for his handling of the cases of sexual abuse committed by priests. “I wish Joseph Ratzinger had said at the time he was Archbishop of Munich: ‘I was responsible at that time, it doesn’t matter if I was present in a specific meeting. I apologize for what was done to the victims by moving an abuser.’”
The truth is that the German Pope’s action was impeccable in that case, as the Professors and Doctors Stefan Mückl, Helmuth Pree, Stefan Korta and Carsten Brennecke pointed out in a press release, where they demonstrated the falsity of every accusation against Benedict XVI for his conduct in handling those cases.
The experts’ Report also exonerates Benedict XVI of mishandling three other cases. “This doesn’t correspond to the truth, according to our verification and the expert Report doesn’t give any proof to the contrary.”
Peter Seewald requested rectification in a recent article: “Mr Bätzing, I urge you to cease making knowingly false statements about Benedict XVI and that you apologize for spreading falsehoods about the German Pope.”
The German journalist’s request recalls that Monsignor Bätzing expressed repeatedly opinions against Benedict XVI, distorting the truth. He criticized the Pope and should keep in mind that it was he, Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger who, as Prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith and later as Pope, who took significant measures to combat pederasty in the Church.
Bätzing’s accusation that Benedict XVI did not apologize “for what was done to the victims by moving an abuser” is grotesque and despicable, in addition to lacking foundation.
On February 6, 2022, the Pope Emeritus said he could only express “once again my profound shame, my great sorrow and my sincere apology to all the victims of sexual abuse. I have had great responsibility in the Catholic Church. Hence my sorrow for the crimes and errors that occurred during my mandate and in the corresponding places is even greater [. . . ] The victims of sexual abused have my profound sympathy and I lament every case.”
In the case of the priest Peter H. of Essen, during the time that Joseph Ratzinger was Bishop of Munich, the Report requested by Cardinal Reinhard Marx was not able to demonstrate Ratzinger’s participation, as many of the media continue to affirm, disparaging the exhaustive investigation presented by the lawyers’ firm and the Pope’s legal advisers, which concluded:
“In regard to the affirmation that Ratzinger had assigned the priest Peter H. to pastoral service at the beginning of 1980, knowing that his acts of abuse and covering up his sexual abuses, it was established that Joseph Ratzinger had no knowledge that the priest was an abuser or that he was destined to pastoral service. The registers show that, in the ordinary meeting of January 15, 1980, no decision was taken on the pastoral service of priest Peter H.”
In regard to three additional cases, it was established that “in none of the cases [. . .] did Joseph Ratzinger have knowledge of the acts or suspicions of sexual abuse by priests. The Report does not give proofs that indicate the contrary [. . . ]. The Report does not contain evidence of bad conduct or complicity in covering up. As Archbishop, Cardinal Ratzinger did not participate in covering up cases of abuse. The evidence backs fully Benedict XVI’s statements.”
Peter Seewald adds: “In his Memoirs, Benedict XVI did not minimize the exhibitionist behaviour, but condemned it expressly. The phrase used, as alleged proof of minimizing exhibitionism, is taken out of context.”