A long-awaited report on sexual abuse of minors in the Catholic Church in Bavaria is set to clarify this Thursday, Jan. 20, whether Pope Benedict XVI and other high-ranking clergymen once covered up a pedophile priest.
The objective of this expertise led by a Munich law firm, which must be presented around 10 a.m., aims above all to identify cases of sexual abuse against children between 1945 and 2019 in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising.
The authors also intend to point the responsibility of ecclesiastics who turned a blind eye to the attacks, thus allowing them to reproduce for decades.
Among the high dignitaries of this archdiocese is the current Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the report’s representative, his predecessor Friedrich Wetter, and Joseph Ratzinger, future Pope Benedict XVI, who directed it between 1977 and 1982.
However, it was during this period that a case was judged to be symptomatic of the Church’s serious failings in dealing with cases of pedophilia.
Benedict XVI prepares his defense
In 1980, a vicar from North Rhine-Westphalia, Peter Hullermann, was accused of serious sexual abuse of minors. The Church “solves” the problem by transferring it. He arrives in Bavaria, where, despite psychiatric therapy, he continues the abuse.
In 1986, a court sentenced him to a suspended prison sentence. But he is again transferred to another Bavarian town where he officiates as a priest for about twenty years, and would then have reoffended.
In 2010, under the pontificate of Benedict XVI, he was finally forced to retire. That same year, the first major revelations of pedophilia broke out in the Catholic Church in Germany.
The 94-year-old pontiff, who has lived in retirement in the Vatican since his resignation in 2013, sent the lawyers a detailed 82-page position paper on the subject, the content of which is eagerly awaited.