ROME - The brother of Pope Benedict XVI said he is willing to testify in the sex scandal rocking Germany’s Catholic Church, even though he says he knows nothing about the alleged abuse of boys in a choir he later led.
The Rev. Georg Ratzinger, in an interview published yesterday, was also quoted by the Rome daily La Repubblica as saying that there was “discipline and rigor’’ but no terror during his 30 years as head of the Regensburger Domspatzen choir.
The Regensburg Diocese said last week that a former singer came forward with allegations of sexual abuse in the early 1960s. The German newsweekly Der Spiegel has reported that therapists in the region are treating several alleged victims from the choir. Ratzinger led the choir from 1964 till 1994.
The diocese has said it is hiring a lawyer to help it carry out a “systematic’’ clarification of abuse allegations.
A man who lived in the choir-linked boarding school until 1967 has contended that “a sophisticated system of sadistic punishments in connection with sexual lust’’ had been installed there. Der Spiegel quoted the man, Franz Wittenbrink, as saying it would be inexplicable that the pope’s brother didn’t know anything about it.
But Ratzinger said he knew nothing about any alleged abuse.
“I am not able to provide any information on any deed that could be punished, because I don’t have any,’’ the former choir leader told La Repubblica.