"The allegations of abuse within the Catholic church are a serious subject, as the Vatican has acknowledged on many occasions. Any role the current pope may have played in responding to (or covering up) those allegations over the years is a significant aspect of this story," and a serious black mark on his name and position as head of the church.
Yet as Professor Maguire states:
"....the Vatican is still engaged in cover-ups of these crimes by attacking the press, trying to kill the messenger" and conceal a scandal that's a "public relations disaster." Calling criminal priests "only a few bad apples - and the failure to report the crimes to law enforcement - is the (real) scandal," especially with a culpable pope.
Protecting the church, not its victims, is a criminal offense. Enforced celibacy (a "gift of the Holy Spirit") is also at issue for letting perversions replace natural sex and cause harm to thousands of young children, not priests who prey on them without accountability or public penance for their crimes. Nor Ratzinger, as cardinal or pope, for directing cover-ups from the top and getting bishops to order kids to keep quiet or be excommunicated.
When he headed the influential Congregation of the Doctrine of the Faith, the church's department charged with promoting Catholic teachings on morals and matters of faith, Ratzinger was nicknamed "God's pit bull" for his role as enforcer. He cracked down on liberal challenges to conservative Catholicism, and in 2001, sent an updated version of the notorious 1962 Crime of Solicitation, asserting strict instructions to cover up sex scandals. It was so secret that bishops were ordered to keep it locked in a safe at all times, and say nothing.
Ratzinger also introduced a new Exclusive Competence principle, ordering all child abuse allegations handled by Rome. Former Vatican lawyer Father Tom Doyle explained it saying:
"What you have here is an explicit written policy to cover up cases of child sexual abuse by the clergy and to punish those who would call attention to these crimes by the churchmen. When abusive priests are discovered, the response has been not to investigate and prosecute but to move them from one place to another. So there's total disregard for the victims and for the fact that you are going to have a whole new crop of (them) in the next place. This is happening all over the world."
Archbishop of Canterbury, Rowan Williams, Goes Public