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Former Pope Benedict to mount legal defense over abuse cover-up accusation



Former Pope Benedict XVI will defend against a civil lawsuit brought by a German citizen accusing him in court of covering up historical abuse. A spokesperson for the court said Tuesday (8 November) that a spokesperson for the court stated that he would defend himself.

In June, a so-called declaratory action was filed for a 38 year-old man who claimed that he was abused by a priest as a child.

The complaint is directed to a priest identified by Peter H. and Benedict who were Archbishops in Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982. He was also Cardinal Friedrich Wetter’s successor, and a church official.

The Archdiocese of Munich & Freising declined to comment on an ongoing case.

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Traustein court spokesperson confirmed that a DPA press agency report stated that the former Pope would be representing himself through a law firm. This prevents the court from issuing a default ruling.

Benedict, now 95, could still be present in court to defend his rights. According to a court spokesperson, the court may demand that defendants appear.

The defendants must respond to the complaint by January 24, 2019. An hearing has not been set.


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Andreas Schulz, the lawyer that filed the case, stated that it sought culpability. He also argued that the Catholic Church was bound to recognize wrongs committed.

Schulz confirmed to DPA comments that Schulz stated, “If they don’t, the reputational damage will grow and will accelerate the erosionof faith by the Catholic church.”

A report on sexual abuse in the archdiocese from 1945 to 2019 was published in January. It claimed that Benedict did not take action in four cases against clergymen when he was Archbishop of Munich.

Benedict, elected pontiff in 2013, acknowledged that he made mistakes during his tenure handling cases and asked for forgiveness. His lawyers claimed that he was not directly responsible.

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