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
SHARE:

Read News24’s Comments Policy

 

Inside News24

 
/News
 

This is what South Africans Googled in 2014!

Find out who and what South Africans were most curious about in 2014!

 
 

I love summer.24

This hilarious song is your new holiday anthem
The world's least visited destination is breathtaking!
LOL treadmill fail!
Google’s top searches of 2014

Jobs in Cape Town [change area]

Property [change area]

Travel - Look, Book, Go!

Kalahari.com - shop online today

2DAYS ONLY – 30% off Appliances

Coffee makers, blenders, fans, juicers and more. T&Cs apply. Shop now!

2 DAYS ONLY – 40% off books

Get 40% off when you buy 2 books. For two days only! T&Cs apply. Buy now!

Up to 50% off on outdoor gear

Save on chairs, blankets, cooler bags, umbrellas and more. Shop now!

Save on Samsung

Cameras, mobile phones, TVs, Tablets and more. While stocks last. Shop now!

Grand Theft Auto 5

Now available on PS4, Xbox One and PC from R649. Buy 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

Horoscopes
Aquarius
Aquarius

You may be emotionally defensive or reserved today. You need to step up today as there may be extra responsibilities to deal with....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.