As Abuse Scandal Spread, Benedict's Office Stalled

Future pope did little, even as bishops complained
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 2, 2010 7:08 AM CDT
Pope Benedict XVI celebrates Mass.   (AP Photo/Pier Paolo Cito)
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(Newser) – The New York Times today delivers another damning assessment of Pope Benedict's handling of the sex abuse scandal as a cardinal. Benedict did little to tackle the problem, even though the office he led for 20 years had been given authority to do so—in the 1920s. The Vatican moved in 2001 only after bishops from English-speaking nations convened an unprecedented (and never before disclosed) secret meeting to air complaints. Even then, Benedict's actions weren't as decisive as the Vatican suggests, says the Times.

He may not have been pope, but Benedict was "part of a culture of nonresponsibility, denial, legalistic foot-dragging and outright obstruction," write Laurie Goodstein and David M. Halbfinger. "More than any top Vatican official other than John Paul, it was Cardinal Ratzinger who might have taken decisive action in the 1990s to prevent the scandal from metastasizing in country after country, growing to such proportions that it now threatens to consume his own papacy."

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