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Pope Benedict ‘failed to act’ in four child abuse cases

They include 18 clerics who were allowed to continue pastoral work despite being convicted of abuse by the courts in Germany.

The report found Benedict’s successors as Archbishoip of Munich continued to cover up alleges abuses.

Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, Benedict’s immediate successor, is accused of covering up 21 cases. He denies responsibility.

Cardinal Reinhard Marx, the current Archbship of Munich, is accused of covering up two cases. The report accuses him of inaction over allegations of abuse until 2018, when it says he had a “change of attitude”.

“Sexual abuse in the Catholic Church is not a thing of the past,” said Mr Pusch as he presented the report to a press conference. 

“The perception of the injured party’s concerns was inadequate even after 2010. There was a general interest in secrecy and the desire to protect the church as an institution.”

“The frightening phenomenon of the cover-up needs to be examined,” said Mariomn Westpfahl, another of the report’s authors.

Benedict did not immediately comment. “He welcomes the process in Munich and the publication of the report,” his private secretary said last week, adding that the suffering of the victims “matters deeply to him”.

Cardinal Marx said he was “shocked and ashamed” by the report. “My first thought today is for those affected by sexual abuse, who have experienced harm and suffering at the hands of Church representatives, priests, and other employees in the sphere of the Church, on an appalling scale,” he said.

The Vatican said it would study the report in the coming days. “Reaffirming the sense of shame and remorse for the abuse of minors by clergy, the Holy See assures its closeness to all victims and reaffirms the path taken to protect the youngest by guaranteeing them a safe environment,” said a spokesman.

Christoph Klingan, the vicar-general of Munich, said he was “moved and ashamed” by the report. “In this hour, my thoughts are first with those affected, with the people who have experienced severe suffering in the church through its employees,” he said. “Our first thoughts must be with the victims.”

German prosecutors said they have already initiated action in 42 cases on the basis of evidence provided by the report’s authors in the course of their research.

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