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Former Pope Benedict XVI (Vatican Media)

Former Pope Benedict XVI plans to defend himself in a civil lawsuit lodged at a German court by a man who accuses him of helping to cover up historical abuse. Source: Sydney Morning Herald.

A so-called declaratory action was brought in June on behalf of the 38-years old man who said he was abused by a priest as a child.

The complaint targets a priest, identified as Peter H, and Benedict, who was Archbishop of Munich and Freising from 1977 to 1982, as well as his successor, Cardinal Friedrich Wetter, and another Church official.

The Archdiocese of Munich and Freising declined to comment on Tuesday.

A spokesperson for the Traustein court confirmed a report by the DPA press agency that the former pope would defend himself through a law firm. The move avoids a so-called default ruling from the court.

That does not mean that Benedict, now 95, will himself appear in court in his defence. But a court spokesperson said that the court could demand that defendants appear.

The defendants have until January 24 to respond to the complaint. No date has been set for a hearing.

Benedict, who resigned as pontiff in 2013, acknowledged errors had occurred in the handling of cases while he held that position and asked for forgiveness. His lawyers argued that he was not directly to blame.


Former Pope Benedict to mount legal defence over sex abuse cover-up accusation (Reuters via Sydney Morning Herald)