Assisted session where subject was accused priest

ROME — Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI said on Monday he attended a meeting where the case of a priest accused of paedophilia was discussed, contradicting an earlier statement he made to a law firm German investigating allegations of clerical sexual abuse.

On Monday, Benedict XVI’s personal secretary, Archbishop Georg Ganswein, released a statement saying the former pontiff’s previous claim that he had not attended the meeting of the law firm conducting the investigation , Westpfahl Spilker Wastl, was “objectively false”.

The firm was investigating how allegations of sexual abuse by clerics were handled in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freiburg between 1945 and 2019. Benedict XVI, then known as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was archbishop of the diocese and responsible for its clerics between 1977. -82.

Reading the report’s findings, the retired pope said he had been present at the meeting in question “contrary to what was said,” Ganswein said in his statement. He added that Benedict XVI’s previous claim was not made in “bad faith” but was the result of an error in the editing process of an 82-page statement provided to lawyers.

In Monday’s statement, Benedict, 94, apologized for the error but maintained that, although he was present at this meeting, “the pastoral mission of the priest in question was not decided during of this meeting”.

[Video not showing up above? Click here to watch » 

Jessica C. Bell