Elder brother of Pope Emeritus Benedict XVI, Georg Ratzinger, has said that he was not aware of any incidents of child abuse that occurred at a church choir of which he was the director for 30 years. Georg, who is also a priest, was the director of the internationally renowned choir in Regensburg from 1964 to 1994.
It is alleged that over 200 children suffered sexual abuse at the church choir and at two connected schools for nearly four decades. "From sexual abuses I've ever heard anything in my time. I have not known that at that time any sexual abuse had occurred," Georg told PNP, a Bavarian German news paper on 10 January.
Controversy first cropped up when Ulrich Weber, a lawyer hired by the Diocese of Regensburg in 2015, reported that several children were subjected to sexual abuse at the church choir and at two feeder schools between 1953 and 1992.
After investigating the accusations of beatings, torture and sexual abuse, the lawyer presented his initial findings based on more than 140 interviews. He claimed in the report that between 1953 and 1992, every third student at a school suffered some kind of physical abuse.
Weber further said that sexual abuse ranged "from fondling to rapes". When asked whether Gerog, 92, had known of the abuse, Weber said: "After my research, I must assume so."
Meanwhile, The New York Times reported that if the findings are proved to be true, it would pose a major question whether Pope Benedict XIV, who taught theology in Regensburg from 1969 to 1976, was aware of the abuse. When the controversy came to light, the pope had met the victims and called sexual abuses by clergymen as a "sin inside the church".
Rudolf Voderholzer, Bishop of Regensburg, declined to comment on Weber's findings. In a statement issued, he said that the church wanted to speak with the victims and assess the final report, expected to be completed by next year.