Benedict XVI’s Public Apology: Did The Retired Pope Set the Standard For Catholic Bishops’ Response on Abuse?

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Currents News Staff

Just weeks ago, a report commissioned by the Catholic church concluded that Pope Benedict XVI mishandled abuse cases when he was an archbishop in Germany. The retired pope is responding to it asking for forgiveness, but again denying any personal wrongdoing. 

In his two-page letter released by the Vatican, Pope Benedict began by thanking his legal team for fighting to maintain his innocence. He dedicated the rest of his letter to the importance of “confession,” acknowledging that he will pass away soon and be judged by God.

He prayed he would be forgiven for shortcomings and asked this of victim-survivors. Meanwhile, the Vatican has already strongly defended Pope Benedict’s record in the aftermath of that Munich abuse report, pointing out that he was the first pope in history to meet with victims. Pope Benedict also issued strong norms to punish priests. 

During the final two years of his pontificate, he laicized nearly 400 priests for abuse. If you want to read Pope Benedict’s full letter, just head over to 

For a deeper analysis of Pope Emeritus Benedict’s letter, John Allen, Rome editor at Crux, joined Currents News to discuss the retired pope’s response.