Pope Benedict XVI’s cousins stand to inherit his money. None of them want it.

by | Jun 9, 2023 | Religion

(RNS) — The surviving relatives of the late Pope Benedict XVI stand to inherit money from his legacy, according to the executor of his last will and testament. None of these relatives seem willing to touch it.One cousin has already refused to accept the inheritance; four others have not yet responded. If they are smart, they will turn it down as well.
The problem is that, by accepting the money, an heir also takes over any legal claims against the deceased, according to estate laws in Germany, where the cousins all live. Joseph Ratzinger, as he was known before adopting his papal name, is a defendant in one of the most-watched cases of clerical sexual abuse in the country.
“We didn’t expect this inheritance, and our lives are just fine without it,” said Martina Holzinger, the daughter and legal guardian of a now 88-year-old Ratzinger cousin who has refused the unexpected gift.

When the retired pope died at age 95 on December 31, 2022, his longtime assistant, Archbishop Georg Gänswein, got to work as executor of the will. “Gorgeous George,” as the Clooney-double was known among Vatican journalists, duly went about contacting the few first cousins still alive.
Without even knowing how much the inheritance would be, the prospect of taking on …

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