Pope Francis on Friday promised justice for the victims of sexual abuse by clergy members, a day after a Catholic Church-sponsored investigation found that former Pope Benedict XVI failed to take action when knowing about sexual abuse while he was the archbishop of Munich, The Associated Press reports.
Francis did not specifically mention Joseph Ratzinger, the former Pope Benedict’s name before he was appointed as pontiff, or the investigation’s findings while giving his speech, but he did reiterate that the Catholic Church would continue to commit to justice going forward in the investigation of various abuse scandals that have plagued the Vatican and churches all over the world.
“The Church, with God’s help, is carrying out the commitment with firm determination to do justice to the victims of abuse by its members, applying with particular attention and rigor to the canonical legislation envisaged,” Francis said while giving his speech, reports the AP.
Francis said that he recently had modified the Vatican’s protocol for responding to abuse situations in the hopes of making them more effective for the victims.
“This alone cannot be enough to stem the phenomenon, but it is a necessary step to restore justice, to repair scandal and reform the offender,” Francis added, notes the AP.
The report on Ratzinger released Thursday by the German law firm that collected decades of Church records stated that there is evidence that Ratzinger knew directly of abuse by particular priests before the scandal became public, but he did not act.
German media questioned for years how much Ratzinger knew of the abuse at the time he was a cardinal in Munich, as Peter Hullermann, a priest who was accused of abusing children in the late 1970s and ’80s, had been sent to jail in 1986 for abusing children, but he was still permitted to remain in the church.