Pope's brother apologises

2010-03-10 18:07

Berlin - An apology by the pope's brother for not doing anything to stop the abuse of students in the 1960s is a "wonderful sign" that the church plans to get to the bottom of the allegations, a top Roman Catholic prelate said on Wednesday.

Prelate Karl Juesten, the liaison between Catholic bishops and the German government, said the Reverend Georg Ratzinger's apology to the victims was an act of courage.

"It is certainly not easy for such a man to publicly apologise," Juesten said.

Ratzinger, the older brother of Pope Benedict XVI, says he knew of allegations of physical abuse at an elementary school in Germany decades ago and apologised for doing nothing about it.

Ratzinger had first said he was unaware of any abuse, and Juesten said that others should now follow the 86-year-old Ratzinger's lead in coming clean.

"The other perpetrators should follow the example set by Mr Ratzinger and apologise to the victims for the abuse they have committed," he said.

The German abuse allegations are particularly sensitive because Germany is the homeland of Pope Benedict XVI and because the scandals involve the prestigious choir that was led by Georg Ratzinger from 1964 until 1994.

Ratzinger's apology came on Tuesday after the allegations of physical abuse at the school surfaced last week.

Was pope aware?

In a separate case, the pope's brother has said he was unaware of allegations of sexual abuse at the Regensburger Domspatzen boys' choir - incidents alleged to have occurred in the early 1960s before Ratzinger led the choir.

It is not known if Pope Benedict, who served as archbishop of Munich from 1977 to 1982 as then - Joseph Ratzinger, was aware of any of the child abuse cases that took place at Catholic schools and other institutions at the time, Juesten said.

"We do not know if the pope knew about the abuse cases at the time," Juesten said. "However, we assume that this is not the case."

Juesten said the current archbishop of Munich, Reinhard Marx, will be "certainly investigating these questions".

Last week, the Regensburg Diocese said a former singer at the choir had come forward with allegations of sexual abuse in the early 1960s.

And across Germany, more than 170 students have claimed they were sexually abused at several Catholic high schools.

Ratzinger has repeatedly said the sexual abuse allegations date from before his tenure as choir director.

Slapped

"These things were never discussed," Ratzinger told Tuesday's Passauer Neue Presse German daily. "The problem of sexual abuse that has now come to light was never spoken of."

He did admit to often slapping students in the face, but said he was happy when corporal punishment was made illegal in 1980.

The abuse cases in Germany are expected to be brought up this week at the Vatican in a regular meeting between the head of the German bishops' conference, Bishop Robert Zollitsch, and the pope.

The German government has also announced plans for "round table" meetings involving school, church and other representatives to work on ways of detecting, preventing and dealing with future abuse. The first meeting is set for April 23.

Marx, the Munich archbishop, welcomed the plans.

"It's good that representatives of all relevant groups in society are invited," he told the Muenchner Merkur daily.

"I feel shame" about the abuse cases in the Catholic Church, he said.

In other developments on Tuesday, the head of a Benedictine monastery in Salzburg, Austria, admitted to sexually abusing a child decades ago and resigned.

Dutch Catholic bishops announced an independent inquiry into more than 200 allegations of sexual abuse of children by priests at church schools and apologised to victims.

- AP

Read more on:    catholic church  |  pope benedict xvi  |  germany  |  child abuse
NEXT ON NEWS24X

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
 

Kasrils an enemy of the people - MKMVA

Former intelligence minister Ronnie Kasrils is an "enemy of the people" with his "No Vote" campaign, the Umkhonto We Sizwe Military Veterans Association says.

 
 

Latest elections multimedia

Why Jack Parow wants you to vote on 7 May
The ad the SABC doesn't want to air
Elections 2014 in one cartoon
This year's election posters
 
Traffic
Lottery
 
  • Thursday Sir Lowry's Pass - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Old Sir Lowrys Pass Road
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Bezweni Road
  • Thursday Cape Town - 05:35 AM
    Road name: Buitengracht Street
    TRAFFIC LIGHTS not working at Waterkant Street
 
More traffic reports...
 

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Escape winter, head to Mauritius

Escape winter by spending 7 nights in Mauritius' tropical bliss from R13 215 per person sharing. Includes return flights, airport transfers and accommodation. Book now!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

Get many eggs in one basket!

Gaming bundles: 2 Super Hits games for R99, 3 Disney games for R99 and more + exclusive accessory bundles only available on kalahari.com. While stocks last. Shop now!

25% off bestselling books!

The Real Meal Revolution by Tim Noakes, Jeffrey Archer’s Be Careful What You Wish for, Man’s Search for Meaning by Victor E. Frank and many more titles. Shop now!

Up to 25% off electronics

Buy top electronics and save up to 25%. Such as kalahari.com’s 1# selling product the gobii eReader, Patriot X Porter flash drive, Asus Nexus 7” 3G tablet, Samsung Galaxy SIII, Lenovo G580 Notebook and many more. Shop now!

DStv HD PVR Decoder now R949

The DStv HD PVR Decoder has further revolutionised the television experience with lifelike viewing, sharper images, more vibrant colours and precision picture quality. Now R949, save R550. Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now!

Up to 30% off appliances & homeware

Save up to 30% on appliances and homeware this Easter! Offer valid while stocks last. Shop now.

OLX Free Classifieds [change area]

Samsung Galaxy s4

Mobile, Cell Phones in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 24

Best bargain in big bay

Real Estate, Houses - Apartments for Sale in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

VW Golf 6, 1.6 Trendline (Excellent condition)

Vehicles, Cars in South Africa, Western Cape, Cape Town. Date October 25

BlackBerry Curve 9380

The first BlackBerry Curve smartphone with a touch screen Stay connected...

From R1799.00

I'm shopping for:

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be required to travel or get information for your job. This may be restricting in some way or something may slow things...read more

There are new stories on the homepage. Click here to see them.
 
English
Afrikaans
isiZulu

Hello 

Create Profile

Creating your profile will enable you to submit photos and stories to get published on News24.


Please provide a username for your profile page:

This username must be unique, cannot be edited and will be used in the URL to your profile page across the entire 24.com network.

Settings

Location Settings

News24 allows you to edit the display of certain components based on a location. If you wish to personalise the page based on your preferences, please select a location for each component and click "Submit" in order for the changes to take affect.








Facebook Sign-In

Hi News addict,

Join the News24 Community to be involved in breaking the news.

Log in with Facebook to comment and personalise news, weather and listings.