Former pope, Benedict XVI has asked for forgiveness for clerical child sex abuse committed on his watch.
â€œI can only express to all the victims of sexual abuse my profound shame, my deep sorrow and my heartfelt request for forgiveness,â€ the 94-year-old said in a letter published by the Vatican.
The former popeâ€™s apology came at the backdrop of a German inquiry in January that criticised the way he handled cases involving paedophile priests in the 1980s.
â€œI 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,â€ he wrote.
The organisations standing for the abuse victims have since criticised the former Catholic church pontiff after his apology, saying he lacks specifics in his comments.
German group Eckiger Tisch said Benedict continued in a Churchâ€™s tradition of declaring that â€œthere were acts and faults, but no one takes concrete responsibilityâ€.
The former pope was last month accused of knowingly failing to take action after four top priests were accused of child sex abuse.
Benedict XVI, who was known then as Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, was the archbishop of Munich between 1977 and 1982.
According to a German newspaper, Dpa, no less than 497 victims of child sex abuse have been counted in the study.
These victims, majorly male children and adolescents were targeted between 1945 and 2019.
Over 235 people had allegedly perpetrated the act, including 173 priests, nine deacons and 40 clergymen who continued working as pastors despite allegations against them.