Josef Ratzinger’s brother allegedly ran a house of horrors where choir children were sexually abused

Priests at the Bavaria boarding school for boys in Regensbury, Germany, allegedly sexually assaulted up to 700 students by making them take off their clothes and bend over for whippings or forcible sex.

Priests at the Bavaria boarding school for boys in Regensbury, Germany, allegedly sexually assaulted up to 700 students by making them take off their clothes and bend over for whippings or forcible sex.

At least 231 and as many as 700 boys were subjected to “ritual abuse” by clergy men who ran the school from 1953 to 1992, according to Ulrich Weber, a German lawyer commissioned by the choir who represents the alleged victims.

“I have here 231 reports of physical abuse,” Weber said at a press conference on Friday, “The abuse ranges from sexual assault and rape to food deprivation to the boys who were less cooperative.”

The eight-month investigation points to the bulk of the abuses happening in the mid-1970s to boys who were being groomed for the famous Domspatzen boys choir of Regensberg’s St. Peter’s Cathedral. It was during this time that Father Georg Ratzinger was the choir leader from 1964 to 1994.

Ratzinger, who turns 92 next month and is the elder brother of Josef Ratzinger, better known as Pope Benedict XVI. When Weber was asked if Ratzinger knew what was going on, he said “After my research, I must assume so.”

According to The Daily Best, the first hints of the abuses surfaced in 2010, when the elder Ratzinger publicly apologized for “slapping students” but denied being aware of the violent abuse that was apparently rampant at the school — though he apparently hinted that he had heard rumors of abuse taking place on choir trips.

“I always had a bad conscience and I was happy when in 1980 corporal punishment was banned by lawmakers,” the elder brother said, describing the physical abuse as “the normal reaction to failings or disobedience” for offenses like a bad choral performance or adolescent misbehavior.

Georg Ratzinger

George (left) and Josef Ratzinger

Two years before Benedict retired in 2010, the Holy See insisted that “the abuse was limited.” Investigators said they put the number of credible complaints at roughly 70 cases and offered a settlement of around $2,700.

Weber was then commissioned by the Domspatzen choir administrators to start collecting complaints and told the media about one-third (700) of the 2,100 students who attended the school over four decades were subject to varying forms of abuse.

According to The Guardian, most of the priests concerned are not expected to face criminal charges because the alleged crimes took place too long ago.

The choir dates back to 975 AD and has grown to become one of the most famous and prestigious choirs in the world, producing a number of successful composers and directors, including Franz Wittenbrink who eventually came forward when the allegations of abuse first surfaced, according to the Daily Beast.

The Vatican under Pope Francis has been far more transparent and apologetic about the crimes and systematic cover-up of abuse than Benedict ever was, but so far even Francis has remained silent on the recent reports from Regensburg.

“It hurts me and my soul—behind every single case is a human being, a child’s soul severely tortured and often marked for life by these acts,” the current bishop of the Regensburg diocese Rudolf Voderholzer said. “I cannot undo it and can only ask the victims for forgiveness.”

Featured image via Catholic Review of Books



  1. Avatar

    Tom Moe

    January 10, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    If there is sexual misconduct at a religious center this page will ignore the thousand of religious groups positively impacting the world and get on the negative.

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    January 10, 2016 at 5:33 pm

    I wonder if this is why Ratzinger (liked him on Cheers) resigned as Pope.

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    Darling Damianton

    January 10, 2016 at 5:51 pm

    ‘Get on the negative’?…Um…This is about priests raping children..

    You are trying to spin ‘Child Rape’ as a positive…This is a typical part of your twisted ‘ask for forgiveness’ based ‘rape-a-child’ religion….Nobody is forgiving priests for baby raping just because they did some charity on the days they weren’t jamming their cocks in children.

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    Robin Smith

    January 10, 2016 at 5:54 pm

    Hundreds of kids, over decades, being raped & beaten is a LOT more than “negative.” Must be a christian, huh?

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    January 10, 2016 at 6:20 pm

    Not to mention the cover up and victim blaming associated with the wholesale campaign of priests raping children

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    Barbara Abu-Odeh

    January 10, 2016 at 7:06 pm

    this pope always had an evilness about him that i couldn’t put my finger on

  7. Avatar

    James Smith

    January 10, 2016 at 7:11 pm

    That is very easy for you to say, unless you were an INDIVIDUAL abused, discarded, lied to, minimized. Your religious upbringing is showing. Shame on you!

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    James Smith

    January 10, 2016 at 7:18 pm

    Igor, get the little Jesus on the stick, make some smoke and swing it around, and lets do a lap around the church so everyone thinks things are better, got to love Catholicism, I was an alter boy! Have not been to church since I made confirmation. Its an act!

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    January 10, 2016 at 7:35 pm

    Both the exPope and his brother shoud be tried for their crimes and sentenced appropriately.

  10. Avatar


    January 10, 2016 at 8:48 pm

    This is the best commentary on this situation I’ve heard yet:

  11. Avatar

    Jack Meeker

    January 10, 2016 at 11:38 pm

    Reminds me of hearing that old comedian Robert Klein once discussing the `percentage of rodent hairs allowable by the govt. in food.’ If I remember right, he concluded by saying `I don’t know about you, but for me, the only allowable number of rodent hairs I want in MY food is ZERO!’ How much child abuse is religion allowing as acceptable?

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    David Leather

    January 10, 2016 at 11:58 pm

    No religious group positively impacts the world. They peddle their lies to the weak and feeble minded. So let’s be clear, religion is part of the problem and will always be one step forward and two steps back.

  13. Avatar

    charlene haupt

    January 11, 2016 at 6:56 am

    SO, this is a “small” thing to you? Hmmm?

  14. Avatar

    Gerry Laarakker

    January 12, 2016 at 12:58 pm

    I don’t care about any positive impact on the world. I only care about the fact that I was abused in an RC boarding school in the Netherlands. The RC church settled with me for 20,000 euros. Finally, that acknowledgement and retribution set me free almost 50 years later.

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