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German bishops commission probe of abuse at choir school; Pope’s brother apologizes

Catholic World News - March 10, 2010

Msgr. Georg Ratzinger, who directed the cathedral choir in Regensburg from 1964 to 1994, has apologized to victims of sexual abuse at the choir’s boarding school. Msgr. Ratzinger has said that he was not aware of any sexual abuse, but he did remember-- and regret-- physical punishment of students that could be considered abusive.

“I'm deeply sorry for anyone whose spiritual or physical integrity was injured by abuse,” he said. “Today, such things are condemned even more because of greater sensitivities. I also condemn them, and simultaneously ask pardon from the victims.”

The Pontiff’s brother added that at the time he was choir director he did not know that sexual abuse was taking place. “There was never any talk of sexual abuse problems, and I had no idea that molestation was taking place."

Meanwhile the Regensburg diocese has announced that an independent inquiry had been commissioned to look into the allegations of abuse in the choir school.

Msgr. Ratzinger apologized for taking part in the corporal punishment of students. “At the beginning I administered clips round the ear, but I always had a bad conscience about it,” he said. “I was happy when in 1980 corporal punishment was banned by law.”

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