Former Pope Benedict XVI is now admitting that he had attended a 1980 meeting regarding a sexual abuse case in Germany after he previously told authorities that he was not there, Axios reports.
The admission comes after a report released by Germany’s Munich diocese last week that faulted him for the mishandling of four sexual abuse cases when he was archbishop of Germany’s Munich diocese. Benedict initially denied that he attended the meeting when the report was released.
The report by law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl (WSW) was commissioned by the archdiocese of Munich and Freising to examine how abuse cases were dealt with between 1945 and 2019.
Ex-pope Benedict -- whose civilian name is Joseph Ratzinger -- was the archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982.
In one case, a now notorious paedophile priest named Peter Hullermann was transferred to Munich from Essen in western Germany where he had been accused of abusing an 11-year-old boy.
Hullermann was reassigned to pastoral duties despite his history and continued to reoffend for many years.
Lawyers said that "to our surprise," Benedict had denied attending the meeting in 1980 at which the decision was made to admit Hullermann to the diocese, despite being quoted directly in the minutes of the meeting.
Benedict's personal secretary said Monday that he did attend the meeting, adding that "an oversight in the editing of the statement" made it out to seem he was denying the account.
The secretary, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, said that the former pope "is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused," and added that he will address the entire report after he's done "carefully" reading it.
According to Reuters, Ganswein said no decision was made during the meeting about a new assignment for an abuser priest -- only a request to provide him with accommodation during therapeutic treatment.
Watch a video about the report, courtesy of PBS Newshour, below:
New report exposes former pope's inaction on child sexual abuse www.youtube.com
With additional reporting via AFP