Holy See Backs German Investigation Into Abuse

Bishop: Cases Regarding Choir Happened Before Pope’s Brother Was Director

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VATICAN CITY, MARCH 7, 2010 (Zenit.org).- The Holy See is supporting a German diocese looking into allegations of sexual abuse linked to the boys’ choir that Benedict XVI’s brother would later direct.

Bishop Gerhard Ludwig Müller of Regensburg released a statement informing about cases of abuse in the Regensburger Domspatzen from 1958, which have already been legally resolved.

The prelate noted that the cases were from years prior to Monsignor Georg Ratzinger’s directing of the choir, which spanned from 1964 to 1994.

«In recent days two cases of sexual abuse have been again recalled,» the bishop stated. «[I]n the first case it is a matter of an episode that occurred in 1958, committed by the assistant director of the preparatory school. As soon as the crime was discovered, he was removed from his position and was also sentenced to serve time;

«[I]n the second case it is a matter of a person who worked for seven months in 1958 with the ‘Domspatzen.’ Twelve years later he was sentenced for a case of sexual abuse. Presently, it is trying to be determined if that [abuse] also happened during the seven months with the «Domspatzen.»

«Both cases were publicly known at the time and should be considered closed from a juridic perspective. They did not take place during the tenure of Maestro Professor Georg Ratzinger (1964-1994).»

Decisive and transparent

In the midst of new allegations, an article in L’Osservatore Romano affirms the Holy See’s support of the diocese «in its openness to investigate the painful question decisively and transparently, following the directives of the German bishops’ conference.»

«The principal objective in the Church’s clarification is bringing justice to the possible victims,» the Vatican daily confirmed. «Furthermore, the Church is grateful for this commitment to clarity within the Church and desires that similar clarity occurs within other institutions, public and private, if the good of children is truly wished by all.»

German prelates have already been discussing the issue of sexual abuse in their country, after a series of allegations have been raised against Catholic schools. The issue was prominent at the bishops’ spring general assembly last week, and the president of the episcopal conference said he will be discussing the situation with the Holy Father when he visits the Vatican this month.

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