Benedict reacts to report on abuse cases

After a long silence Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI has reacted to the incriminating report on cases of sexual abuse against children in the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising. He wrote a letter asking the victims for forgiveness. At the same time he firmly rejects accusations of having covered up the affair. The press is divided: is this a sincere apology or out of touch with reality?

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Avvenire (IT) /

Written with tears of sincerity

The Catholic paper Avvenire is deeply impressed by Benedict's words:

“There are letters that can only be written with tears, the ink of the heart. When pain bursts the breast and the duty to tell the truth becomes stronger than the reticence about showing one's fragile side. At that moment titles and roles are of secondary importance. One stands alone before those who wait for an answer. To them, especially when they are innocent victims of violence and culpable indifference, one must not lie. That is what their eyes - and your conscience - demand. ... Only at one point does the tone change: the pope emeritus says he is 'deeply saddened' that an oversight has been used to cast doubt on his sincerity or 'even' to portray him as a liar.”

Tages-Anzeiger (CH) /

Living in a parallel universe

The statement is more evidence of outdated structures than of a supposed change, the Tages-Anzeiger believes:

“Even if in the view of his supporters Ratzinger has succeeded in weakening certain accusations against him, his statement remains a shocking document. Not because he took sides with the victims of sexualised violence in the church. ... The statement is shocking in only one respect: it comes from another world, a parallel universe based less on faith than on ancient power structures and patterns of interpretation.”