Home Christian News Pope Vows Justice for Abuse Victims After Ratzinger Faulted

Pope Vows Justice for Abuse Victims After Ratzinger Faulted

Chancellor Olaf Scholz’s spokeswoman, Christiane Hoffmann, said Friday it was “urgent that these matters be fully investigated and a comprehensive reappraisal be carried out.”

The report makes “the extent of the abuse and breach of duty by church dignitaries shockingly clear.” she said.

“It is crucial that confidence in the process of coming to terms with the past is strengthened in the Catholic Church and by individual dignitaries,” she said.

The Vatican didn’t immediately comment on the report, saying it would read it carefully in the coming days. Benedict’s longtime secretary, Monsignor Georg Gaenswein, also said the retired pope hadn’t yet read the report, but would.

Benedict, who provided information to the report’s authors, expressed his upset and shame about the scandal, Gaenswein said.

Benedict’s legacy as pope had already been colored by the 2010 global eruption of the clergy abuse scandal, even though as a cardinal he was responsible for turning around the Vatican’s approach to the issue.

Ratzinger took the then-revolutionary decision in 2001 to assume responsibility for processing abuse cases after he realized bishops around the world weren’t punishing abusers but were just moving them from parish to parish and enabling them to rape again.

That decision, however, came after Ratzinger was still sitting on cases at the Vatican. Years ago documentation emerged showing that Ratzinger in 1985 dithered on a case of a convicted child molester in California who asked to be defrocked, delaying any action for two years.

The case of the Rev. Stephen Kiesle was evidence that the Vatican under St. John Paul II strongly resisted letting priests leave active ministry, even if they were convicted rapists.

A fellow German and one of Ratzinger’s successors at the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith, Cardinal Gerhard Mueller, dismissed the report’s findings, suggesting they were ideologically motivated to attack Ratzinger and saying if there were errors in the handling of cases, Ratzinger didn’t know about them.

He noted that in the 1970s and 1980s, neither the church nor society at large handled child sex abusers properly.

“It was thought that therapy could resolve the problem. Today we know that this is useless for these criminals,” he said.

This article originally appeared on APNews.com.