VATICAN CITY (CNS) — At the age of 94, Retired Pope Benedict XVI said he knows he will soon stand before God’s judgment and he prayed that he would be forgiven for his shortcomings, including in handling allegations of clerical sexual abuse.
“Even though, as I look back on my long life, I can have great reason for fear and trembling, I am nonetheless of good cheer, for I trust firmly that the Lord is not only the just judge, but also the friend and brother who himself has already suffered for my shortcomings, and is thus also my advocate,” he said.
In response Feb. 8 to a recent report on sexual abuse cases in the German Archdiocese of Munich and Freising, Pope Benedict also confirmed that an error in the testimony written on his behalf had been an oversight and “was not intentionally willed and I hope may be excused.”
“To me it proved deeply hurtful that this oversight was used to cast doubt on my truthfulness, and even to label me a liar,” he said in a letter released by the Vatican.
However, the pope, who had headed the Munich Archdiocese from 1977 to 1982, emphasized his feelings of great shame and sorrow for the abuse of minors and made a request for forgiveness to all victims of sexual abuse.
“I have had great responsibilities in the Catholic Church. All the greater is my pain for the abuses and the errors that occurred in those different places during the time of my mandate,” Pope Benedict wrote.