In the summer of last year, a man who said he was abused by convicted repeat offender Priest H. in Garching an der Alz filed a civil action, the so-called declaratory action, at the Traunstein District Court.
Did diocese officials cover up the actions?
It is directed not only against Ratzinger, who was archbishop of Munich and Freising when the assailant was transferred to his diocese – but also against the condemned man himself, the archdiocese and Ratzinger’s successor as archbishop, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter. The purpose of the process is, among other things, to determine whether diocese officials covered up crimes and thus made other crimes possible.
“The proceedings will continue with the heir or heirs of the deceased,” said the plaintiff’s lawyer, Andreas Schulz, of the German Press Agency.
The Garchinger Initiative Sauerteig, which supports the plaintiff, feared over the weekend that Benedict’s role could no longer be legally prosecuted.
“By clarifying his responsibility before a secular court, he could have taken an important step for the future of the Catholic Church,” the initiative said. “That Pope Benedict can no longer provide this service to his church, it is probably part of the tragedy of his life”.