Former pope Benedict XVI of the Roman Catholic Church has admitted providing false information to the German inquiry into clerical sexual abuse.
The report found Benedict whilst in his role of the Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977-1982 failed to take action against four priests accused of sexual abuse.
Benedict stated initially he was not at a meeting in the 1980’s which discussed allegations of abuse and that it was deemed by him as an oversight. An investigation found he was in fact involved in such meeting and was aware of the allegations. This allowed the perpetrators in question to remain in their positions within the church without sanction or supervision.
As Pope between 2005 and 2013, Benedict has previously come under fire for failing to act against widespread child sexual abuse within the Roman Catholic church and has repeatedly denied his role in knowingly covering up abuse, although in 2010 he admitted that the church “did not act quickly or firmly enough to take the necessary action”.
A previous report into historical abuse in Germany concluded that more than 3,600 people nationwide had been abused by clergy members between 1946 and 2014. Many of the survivors were very young and served as altar boys. Again as with any reported figures, these numbers are likely to be the tip of the iceberg with many survivors not disclosing their abuse.
The report, like many before them, is disappointing and once again demonstrates the failures of the church to protect those in the congregation. It will be very upsetting for many who could have been protected by the church.