Zoom Image

Benedict XVI in 2020

Photo: Sven Hoppe / dpa

Benedict's cousin, formerly Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger, has rejected his inheritance. This was announced by the daughter of the elderly woman, as Correctiv and Bayerischer Rundfunk reported. It is still not clear who is the heir to the Pope Emeritus, who died on New Year's Eve. According to Ratzinger's former private secretary Georg Gänswein from the spring, there are several relatives of the Pope who could be eligible.

The question of Ratzinger's legal succession is also important for a proceeding for the claim for damages brought by an alleged abuse victim before the Traunstein Regional Court. This is directed against four accused: the alleged repeat offender Priest H., the archdiocese and the former archbishops Cardinal Friedrich Wetter – and Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger.

Since Ratzinger's death, the proceedings have been suspended until it is clear who will succeed him. For this reason, the planned trial date had been postponed from the end of March to June 20.

The lawyer of the alleged abuse victim has now requested the separation of the lawsuit against Benedict XVI. This was confirmed by a court spokeswoman. In March, the plaintiff's lawyer had clearly spoken out against removing the former pope from the proceedings – on the grounds that he was "the icon" of the trial. The court wants to decide on the application by June 20, but not before June 6, a court spokeswoman said.