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Staff writer Brian Roewe

Munich vicar general reportedly says he was forced to take the fall for Cardinal Ratzinger

 |  NCR Today

Updated April 23: NCR obtains correspondence: retired vicar general denies pressure in Munich pedophile case

The cleric who last month took responsibility for moving a known pedophile priest into ministry in the Munich archdiocese in 1980 after the priest was allowed into the archdiocese by then Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, is now reportedly saying he was pressured into taking the blame for that decision.

Vicar General Gerhard Gruber last month referred to the decision as a “serious mistake” and said he was solely responsible for the decision. After speaking once about his "mistake" to the Associated Press, Gruber disappeared from public view. I was in Munich at the time and tried to reach him several times, but always unsuccessfully.

But today we find Gruber in the news once again.

It is being reported that Gruber has said he took the fall only after coming under huge pressure from unnamed Catholic Church sources to take responsibility in order to “take the pope out of the firing line”.

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In a letter to a friend, reportedly seen by German weekly magazine Der Spiegel , Gruber wrote that he was “begged” in numerous phone calls and after receiving a prepared statement by fax for him to sign. The magazine said Gruber expressed unhappiness in the letter at being given the sole blame in public.

We almost certainly have not heard the last of this story.

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