The Munich Abuse Report

Christian Weisner and Renate Holmes of We Are Church Germany discuss the newly-released Munich Report on clergy sex abuse and the role Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI played in the coverup when he was archbishop of Munich. The report also found that other prelates including the close ally of Pope Francis, Cardinal Reinhard Marx, were at fault.

The Munich Report is the result of the German church commission of law firm Westpfahl Spilker Wastl to investigate wrongdoing. The firm examined church files and questioned witnesses and on Wednesday, January 20th, they released their report documenting then Cardinal Joseph Ratizinger’s “wrongdoing” in his handling of sexual abuse cases during his time as prelate in the archdiocese of Munich between 1977 and 1982. During the investigation, the pope emeritus provided more than 80 pages of documentation to the law firm. The retired pope has denied any personal wrongdoing.

Christian Weisner is on the leadership team of We Are Church Germany. Since his youth he has been shaped by the Second Vatican Council. He has been involved in community youth work, the Catholic student community and the Catholic base community. From 1991 to 1996 he was a member of the coordination committee of the Church from Below Initiative, co-initiator of the church people’s initiative in 1995, and co-founder of the international movement We are Church in Rome in 1996. Since then he has been in the leadership of the Church People’s Movement We are Church; co-organizer of several parallel synods in Rome; and worked as a journalist/reporter for We are Church Internationalthe 2005 and 2013 conclaves in Rome. Born in 1951, he lives with his family in Dachau near Munich.

Renate Holmes is also an active member of We Are Church Germany from its beginning and has held many leadership roles over the years. She is 58 years old and was trained and worked as a teacher for English and Religious Education at a grammar school in Munich for 25 years. For the last six years she has taught young refugees and migrants in a Munich school especially set up for this group of young people to enable them to get a school degree. Renate is a member of Amnesty International and works as a volunteer in a fair trade shop once a month. She is married to Christian Weisner and they have a daughter who is 24 years old and works for a German NGO for civil sea rescue in Berlin.

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