Pope Benedict XVI Writing

On the Hunt for Benedict XVI’s Inheritance: Appeal for a New Trial of Joseph Ratzinger’s Assets

The victim of a pedophile priest maintains the civil lawsuit against Benedict XVI seeking that his heirs pay compensation, although a German court ruled out the obligation: the lawyer has announced the appeal.

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(ZENIT News / Traunstein, 02.07.2024).- A victim of former priest Peter Hullermann, sentenced in 1986 for pederasty and reported for similar episodes in 1979 while working in the Diocese of Essen, accused Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger as Hullermann followed psychic therapy in the region and asked to be housed in the Archdiocese of Munich-Freising. Archbishop Joseph Ratzinger of Munich accepted the granting of housing, but indicated that the priest must not intervene in pastoral activities.

Ratzinger’s prohibition wasn’t respected and Hullermann sexually abused minors again. The then Vicar General of Munich, Gerhard Gruber, assumed responsibility for this negligence, but a victim took Benedict XVI to Court in the summer of 2022, claiming damages and harms.

A month before his death, Joseph Ratzinger agreed to testify in the trial to be held in the provincial Court of Traunstein. Being Pope Emeritus, he expressed “his regret for the abuses and errors that occurred during the time of my mandate in their respective places.”

The elderly Pontiff died on the last day of 2022, before giving testimony before the Court. The plaintiff continued the legal proceedings. After Ratzinger’s death, the victim’s lawyer claimed damages and harms from his heirs. A few days ago, Munich’s Regional High Court rejected the claim, stating that it had no knowledge of the “existence of an inheritance” of Ratzinger and that German justice isn’t obliged to look for possible heirs to intervene in the civil process. The Bavarian Court declared itself exempt and invited the plaintiff to go to Vatican justice to find Benedict XVI’s heirs.

The plaintiff’s lawyer declared “insufficient the sentence of Munich’s Higher Regional Court” that “ignores the fact that a German citizen cannot access a hereditary Court of the Vatican to appoint a representative in keeping with Vatican law.” His next step was to announce the intention to appeal and take the complaint to the German Federal Constitutional Court.

Ratzinger’s five living cousins have difficulties to accept the inheritance, which consists of a small sum in a bank account. The two houses Benedict XVI had went to the Institute that bears his name.

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Rafael Llanes

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