Ex-pope Benedict XVI asks victims of abuse for forgiveness

Vatican City, Feb 8 (EFE).- Former pope Benedict XVI on Tuesday apologized to victims of sexual abuse in the Catholic Church but denied allegations he was involved in any cover-ups.

The remarks of the pontiff, who retired in 2013, came in response to a report published in Germany claiming that he failed to act on four cases of child abuse that occurred when he was the archbishop of Munich between 1977 and 1982.

The independent report, released on January 20, said that the clergyman, who led the archdiocese of Munich as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was made aware of mistreatment but took no action against the priests who had abused children.

“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.

“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.

“Each individual case of sexual abuse is appalling and irreparable. The victims of sexual abuse have my deepest sympathy and I feel great sorrow for each individual case.”

Despite his appeal for forgiveness, the 94-year-old rejected any accusations that he was involved in covering up the acts of abuse, as experts from the law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) that prepared the report said he had reassigned the priests in question to other areas during his tenure.

“Quite soon, I shall find myself before the final judge of my life. As I look back on my long life, I can have a great reason for fear and trembling, I am nonetheless of good cheer,” he concluded.EFE


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