Pope's brother unaware of abuse

2010-03-07 21:12

Rome - Pope Benedict XVI's brother said in remarks published on Sunday that he was never aware of sexual abuse in a famous boy's choir in southern Germany that he headed for nearly three decades.

"I never knew anything," Georg Ratzinger told Italian newspaper La Repubblica. "The incidents that are being talked about go back 50 or 60 years to the 1950s. It was another generation than when I was there."

"It's also another generation than (the one) that currently leads the foundation and the choir," he added.

The director and composer Franz Wittenbrink, a former pupil of the boarding school attached to the Domspatzen (Cathedral Sparrows) choir, has spoken of an "ingenious system of sadistic punishments connected to sexual pleasure" at the school.

In comments to be published in Monday's edition of Der Spiegel news weekly, he accused a former head of the school of "taking two or three boys into his room in the evenings", giving them wine and masturbating with them.

Wittenbrink told the magazine it was well known what went on at the school, and he "could not understand how the pope's brother Georg Ratzinger, who was master of the chapel from 1964, could not have been aware".

The Domspatzen allegations are part of a widening sex scandal rocking Germany's Roman Catholic Church, which includes allegations of abuse at a number of institutions, including a monastic school in the southern town of Ettal.

Resentment

Asked about the impact of the scandals, Ratzinger who is a bishop, voiced concern about a "certain animosity towards the Church" as well as feelings of "resentment and hostility".

"It seems to me that behind these affirmations there is clear intention to speak against the Church," he said in reference to the string of recent revelations in the German press.

He told the newspaper that he was "entirely ready" to appear before a court if authorities considered it necessary.

According to La Repubblica and other media, Ratzinger spoke about the scandal with his brother, Pope Benedict, during a recent visit to Rome.

Read more on:    roman catholic church  |  pope benedict xvi  |  germany  |  child abuse
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