Former Pope Benedict XVI admitted Monday to attending a 1980 meeting during which church officials discussed allegations of sexual abuse against a "predator" priest, contradicting a previous statement in which he claimed he was not there, The Washington Post reports.
Benedict claims the error was simply a mistake in the editing process, and not one that arose out of "bad faith."
"He would like to emphasize that this did not occur out of bad intentions," said the Monday statement released by Archbishop Georg Gänswein, Benedict's personal secretary. The ex-pope "is very sorry for this mistake and asks to be excused," Gänswein added.
Benedict's previous testimony was provided as part of law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl's investigation into "how allegations of clerical sexual abuse had been handled in the archdiocese of Munich and Freiburg between 1945 and 2019," The New York Times writes. Last week, the firm alleged — in addition to other findings in its some 1,900-page report — that Benedict had "mishandled four cases in which priests were accused of sexual abuse."
On Monday, Benedict said no decision was made during the 1980 meeting as to whether to return the abusive priest to his duties, the Post notes. "Rather, only the request to provide him with accommodations during his therapeutic treatment in Munich was granted," the statement read.
Archbishop Gänswein said the former pope had been reading through the report since receiving it last week, and that its contents filled him with "shame and pain." He noted Benedict would comment on the report once he has finished reading it, per the Times.